“It felt like returning home”: Why I’ve come back to work at Elsevier
27 July 2022
By Ian Evans
As a “mission-driven” person who loves connecting people, Jess Prichard shares why she is thriving at Elsevier — for the second time
Jess Pritchard is a Senior Commercial Manager for Drug Information on Elsevier’s Clinical Solutions Commercial team. Through our parent company’s global community program, RELX Cares, she has been volunteering for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer for most of her Elsevier career. “For several years, I’ve dressed as a lemon,” she said, “and during the 2020 fundraising season, I posed for photos in my home office to reflect our new normal. Recently, I joked in a town hall presentation that my work as a lemon is my longest running role at Elsevier.”
Three years ago, Jess Pritchard(opens in new tab/window) left Elsevier for a role at large telecommunications company. It was a great opportunity for her to develop her skillset, but she missed the sense of purpose that came with working at Elsevier. As she explained:
I quickly discovered that I am mission-driven, and helping large corporations acquire telecommunications resources wasn’t inspiring for me.
While most of our people stay at Elsevier for many years, some leave after a few years. A change of circumstances or other reasons cause them to depart. Some leave for other, seemingly more attractive benefits from employers elsewhere. But often these employees return. According to LinkedIn, former employees who left their jobs for one thing or the other are bouncing back to their old stomping grounds in search of better pay, purpose, and more flexible schedules.
“Of all new hires among companies on LinkedIn, 4.5% were boomerang workers in 2021, compared to 3.9% in 2019,” writes an editor at LinkedIn News(opens in new tab/window) citing LinkedIn data.
Finding a mission at work
Jess Pritchard collaborates with Isa Harrison, a Sales Contracts Manager based in Atlanta.
Jess’s current role at Elsevier reflects her desire to be mission-driven in her work. As part of the Clinical Solutions Commercial team, she has a particular focus on Clinical Pharmacology powered by ClinicalKey, which helps clinicians and students find the right answers when they need them. She explained the appeal:
My role means I get to work with colleagues across the Clinical Solutions business every day to help improve or sell our product, help retain our customer base, and project manage various strategic initiatives. Fundamentally, my job allows me to help pharmacists, nurses and physicians safely treat their patients.
As a natural connector, my favorite thing about my role is getting to bring together colleagues to problem solve for a customer or prospective customer.
That desire to help medical professionals informed Jess’s decision to start working at Elsevier in the first instance, she said:
I initially joined Elsevier by pure luck in 2009, when a temp agency recommended me for an Editorial Assistant role focused on medical reference books. As someone who longed to be a doctor growing up, I immediately loved Elsevier and the healthcare focus. My experience has been that no matter what role or department I have joined, I can always see how my work helps improve patient care.
Tips for career development
At Elsevier, Jess has seized on a number of opportunities to develop her skillset, including joining one of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These are voluntary groups of employees who share common interests related to I&D and allyship, with a vital role in ensuring an inclusive environment where all are valued, included and empowered to succeed.
I’d recommend that as a great way to develop your career. I led an ERG, and it helped me meet more people, including leadership I wouldn’t normally work with day-to-day.
Also, be open to lateral moves that help you expand your skill set, and always be willing to advocate for yourself. And if you think something could be done better, speak up and offer solutions.
Jess has specific advice for those looking to develop their careers at Elsevier:
Elsevier often states that it is up to the employee to create their own development plan, and this is true. In the end, growing my career has resulted from a combination of actions: forming relationships with my colleagues, asking for help or advice from managers and leadership, finding sponsorship, applying for internal roles (sometimes successfully, sometimes not), and my own willingness to try new job functions.
Sometimes you find yourself outgrowing your current role, so it’s great to work for a company like Elsevier which can help you find new opportunities without having to leave the business.
Coming full circle
Jess noted that one of her key motivations for changing employers was for what she saw as a different kind of opportunity to build her skillset, although she notes that her development as a manager began at Elsevier:
Before I left Elsevier and ‘boomeranged’ back, I was managing a team of individuals in Clinical Solutions Sales Operations. The job function had a long learning curve, and the team went through a lot of major structural changes in the five years I was there. Being able to advance my career and become a people manager was certainly something I felt good about.
Returning to Elsevier also led to some unexpected moments of pride, when she saw how the people in her old team had developed in their own careers:
To me there is nothing better than being able to help someone else with their career and watch them successfully grow in their role and progress into a new position. This included watching one of my former team members flourish in my former place as the team manager during my time away from Elsevier.
While Jess doesn’t have any direct reports in her current role, she finds other opportunities to help people develop their careers: “I have a mentee through the NetWorx(opens in new tab/window) program, and I volunteer through RELX Cares(opens in new tab/window) and Hope Works(opens in new tab/window) to do mock interviews,” she said. “These are hugely rewarding programs, and well worth getting involved with.”
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