Novartis’ Women in Science: Virginia Lazala

"Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed in science because you’re a woman or a girl," said Lazala.

"Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed in science because you’re a woman or a girl," said Lazala.

Virginia Lazala

In recognition of National Mentoring Month this January, Novartis’ (No. 2 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) installment of “Women in Science” series features Vice President and Legal Head of the Latin America and Canada region for Novartis Oncology Virginia Lazala, who was recently recognized by Hispanic Executive for her exceptional commitment to mentoring students and colleagues.

What does it mean to you to be recognized by Hispanic Executive and honored for your achievements?

Virginia Lazala: It’s quite humbling to be honored by Hispanic Executive and to be included in the same category as other leaders who are recognized figures both nationally and internationally. The magazine has been reaching out to me for several years but I never felt worthy as I’m just me and doing what I believe is normal and common. I am not one to seek the limelight so the attention I have received since the article was published has been a little daunting. I am very proud to be recognized as a role model and mentor because serving and mentoring others is a large part of my life.

Given all of your personal experience and involvement with mentoring, what is your advice for young women and girls interested in science?

Virginia Lazala: Go for it! Follow your passion. Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed in science because you’re a woman or a girl. You are as qualified and deserving of success as anyone else and probably even more so! Find others (men or women) who are pursuing the career in which you are interested and ask them for advice. Seek out mentors and sponsors to help you progress in your career. Never be afraid to ask for help. The worst that can happen is that someone will say no and if that’s the case, then ask someone else. Never be deterred by the word no.

To learn more about how Lazala balances both work and familial responsibilities, while making time to fully support her team and give back to her community, as well as her experience as a mentor, read the full profile in Hispanic Executive

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