Takeda US Neuroscience and Commercial Operations communications lead Monique Kelly worked at MSLGROUP, BCW and Weber Shandwick before jumping over to the world of in-house communications. That transition, she tells Doug Simon, didn't come with a few surprises.

"I’d spent 16 years on the agency side," she says. "My perception was that going in-house might be a slower pace than the agency side."

But "from day one," Kelly says, "it was actually quite the opposite." She tells Simon that "my agency background and the ability to just be nimble and roll up my sleeves and get things done with agency partners enabled me to lay the foundation for a lot that hadn't been done there before."

She says that "on the agency side, I found that we were very siloed into our specialties. And so, I kind of became a jack of all trades." In her new position she discovered that the principles learned in one specialty can be expanded to cover a much broader field. "Being able to be flexible and adaptable" are key, she tells Simon, as is understanding good storytelling.

The importance of setting goals for yourself is also dicussed. But more than just asking “where do you see yourself in 10 years?,” Kelly stresses the importance of learning and seizing the opportunities with which you are presented.

"It took me a while to realize that it's okay to get out of your comfort zone," she says. "In fact, now I thrive off of not being comfortable and throwing myself in positions where I can really learn and grow."

Being a Division 1 track athlete in college also taught her some of the skills required for later success. "It's one of those things where you need to be consistent," she says. In addition, athletics are an arena in which "we all have to do our part, we all have to add value to the team."

In the professional world, she says there is a similar need for both "individual accountability" and "working together, learning from each other, sharing information with each other."

She compares the challenges faced by communicators with those she encountered when training as a runner on Boston's notorious Summit Hill. "When things get crazy at work or there's an opportunity that I really am not sure how to approach it, and I start to get stressed, I always think to myself, it could be Summit Hill. So, if it's not that, I could do it."

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