Lab Matters Winter 2022 | Page 9

For laboratories that are lacking expertise in existing areas , adding a fellow onto your team can allow you to expand the reach of your services , as well as the opportunity to shape the next generation of scientists ”
Gretchen W . Cote , MS that if I don ’ t possess them , that I at least try to change the way that I think . The type of leader that you are is important because you shape others and others are looking to you for direction . So , I want to make sure that I ’ m investing in myself so that I can be the best leader for everyone who is in my organization , and ELP helped me define that a little bit more .”
Each ELP participant is paired with a coach , which has also been valuable for Smith . Having a coach “ teaches you how to approach certain situations and solve it yourself with the direction of your coach , or with someone just asking you the right question ,” she said .
When Andrew Cannons , PhD , HCLD ( ABB ), current laboratory director of the Florida Department of Health ’ s Bureau of Public Health Laboratories , was accepted into the 2010 ELP cohort , he had a lot of career experience but not any specific leadership training .
After earning his PhD at the University of Bradford in the UK , he moved to the US in 1987 for a postdoctoral position at the University of South Florida ( USF ) to study how plants use nitrates as a nitrogen source . Nothing to do with public health .
In the late 1990s , the state ’ s public health director at Tampa , Philip Amuso , PhD , was completing his PhD at USF and asked Cannons if he could sit in on his undergraduate molecular biology class . Amuso also did some research projects in Cannons ’ lab , and the two became friends . When Cannons began to look for new job opportunities , Amuso told him about a new role as scientific director of the Center for Biological Defense , a new US Department of Defense project based at USF looking at biological defense techniques . His laboratory and office would be housed in the state public health laboratory ’ s building , making it easy for the two organizations to assist each other when needed .
As Amuso planned for retirement , Cannons began to consider becoming the new laboratory director and earned his high-complexity laboratory director certification . In 2012 , he became director , with ELP providing him leadership training the year before .
Eleven years later , now as a director , Cannons has encouraged several employees to apply for ELP . So far , five of them have gone through the program and remained at Florida public health laboratories .
ELP is clearly developing future public health laboratory leaders . As laboratory scientists consider future career opportunities — moving into managerial and supervisory roles — they will need the leadership skills that come with managing a budget , motivating staff , advocating for funding , building relationships with external partners and understanding legislative processes .
After going through the program , Smith , who now has two direct reports , is contemplating her career goals , which may include earning her doctorate so she can become a laboratory director .
Andrew Cannons , PhD
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