To support Pfizer's Get Old effort, PfizerWorld continues to profile colleagues who Break the Mold by challenging the preconceptions of age and strive to have a better quality of life at every age.
Pfizer launched Get Old in June 2012 to further its work on Imperative 3: Earn Greater Respect From Society. The goal is to inspire and activate people of all ages to reconsider what it means to get old and to change perceptions about aging at every stage of life.
Today, Penny Pavlica, a Victoria, Texas-based sales representative for the Primary Care Business Unit's Neuroscience portfolio, talks about defying the stereotypes of being 55, successfully navigating a career change after age 40, and beating cancer.
How do you feel you Break The Mold?
I am motivated to maintain and improve my health and defy the stereotype of what it means to be 55.
I prefer to emphasize what can be accomplished at any age if one has the right attitude.
What advice would you share about embracing your age?
As I've aged I've learned quite a few lessons. One in particular is how to navigate my life so I don't fall into patterns and instead view each day as a new beginning and an opportunity to have fun with life. I reinvent myself, spend time in the community and learn as much as I can about my surroundings, laugh as often as possible, and keep a positive attitude.
Whom do you admire and what have you learned from them?
I admire two people in my life. One is my mother, who is one of the strongest women I know; the other is my younger brother. Both have accomplished tremendous careers and at the same time have overcome tremendous health obstacles. I've learned so much from their bravery and perseverance and to move forward with whatever obstacles that may come. There isn't any idol, celebrity, or mentor who can outdo what these two have accomplished in their lives.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement would be my fight against my breast cancer and being cancer free for 13 years now. A year before my diagnosis, I started a new career in the pharmaceutical industry at age 40. Following the diagnosis, I continued working and won three national awards three years in a row. Although both having breast cancer and starting a new career at 40 were challenges, both had such a happy ending.
What is your leadership philosophy and what advice would share with other people managers?
My leadership philosophy is to have the most positive attitude one can have and to treat obstacles as learning achievements. Learn from the teachers of our past, and from those that live among us. Their attitudes and steadfastness in the face of tremendous obstacles have proven how we, too, can face the inevitability of getting older with determination and grit. Take constructive criticism from our colleagues and elders with an open mind and open heart and use compassion in our leadership roles. This will be the road to achieving our own success as we age
What challenges do you plan to take on next that defy preconceptions about age?
As I inch my way toward my 60s, I feel I still have a lot to offer and can never stop learning. I still plan to ride my bike 30-plus miles on the weekend, run local 5 ks and continue to support my community in whatever projects I have time for. I'm hoping to work in the pharmaceutical industry as long as it will have me and to continue to be a mentor for those younger than I. I do not really look at these as "challenges," only as continued achievements along my path of getting older.