April 13, 2023
5 min read
Our CEO, Dr. Tina Persson, an ICF Certified Career, Leadership & Team Coach, recently spoke with Humans of Fuzia to share her journey from academia to the corporate world to founding her own company, Passage2Pro AB.
Her professional background is a blend of the academy (Ass. Prof) and 8 years in the corporate world as a headhunter, consultant, and brand manager.
She has published over 20 articles in international journals and is the founder of the biotech company Aptahem AB (www.aptahem.com) and host of the podcast PhD Career Stories (www.phdcareerstories.com).
I grew up in a middle-class family with my brother and, of course, my parents. I learned from my early years that working hard and studying in the field of STEM would give me a good start in life. My mom never had the opportunity to study, so for her, her daughter needed to get the opportunity to choose her destiny. As a young girl, I had good grades in school, so it was a natural choice to start studying natural science at the university. At the university, the professor hand-picked me into starting a PhD in organic chemistry.
After my PhD I was awarded a stipend to start my Postdoc career at the Max-Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen. Germany. I stayed as Postdoc and Senior scientist in Germany for over 5 years. Looking back, this stay has been crucial and the most important step in my career, even though I am not active as a PI in academia today.
After my Postdoc career, I was appointed as Lecturer at a smaller university in Sweden, Whereupon I started my Tenure Track career at Lund University.
It was as Ass.Prof at Lund University, I slowly realized that I became increasingly demotivated. I loved to be a scientist but got increasingly involved in administrative matters. I got increasingly frustrated over the fact that I had to apply for grants to cover my salary. At that time, I had a group of 2 PhDs, Postdocs, and several collaborators working in my group. However, Said and done, I decided to leave academia and start looking for a career beyond the industry. This turned out to be easier said than done.
Being an Ass. Prof at the university, I tried to find raw models, but I couldn’t find any. What I found were female professors, but I didn’t want to become like them. I wanted something else out of my life and career.
The next step was to find a new career in the industry. This was extremely difficult as I learned they didn’t understand my background and why I wanted to leave. During this period, I got sick as I got more and more anxious about my financial situation, but also I started to feel worthless. Most likely, I suffered from imposter syndrome. Long story short. I took a decision.
If anyone in the future ends up in the same situation as me. Then I want to help them as no one deserves to feel the way I do, and no one deserves to be treated like I had been after I left academia. I kept that promise, but it would take another 10 years before I founded my company Passage2Pro AB.
Long story short, I finally got a job in the recruitment business where I stayed for 8 years. I learned an incredible lot eg. Doing business, sales marketing, and networking, and I also learned it’s OK to have fun on the job. Looking back I would say without the experience from the recruitment business it would have been difficult for me to run my company as I do today.
I learned sales & business
After 8 years in the corporate world, I made a short trip to Karolinska Institute, Sweden, as Program Office Manager at the Career Service.
Then I stepped out of my comfort zone and started my company Passage2Pro
Finally, I was ready!
Starting my company was my hidden dream, a dream that now saw its light.
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