January 24, 2019 / Michael Sullivan

Oh, the Places We've Been!

Carrie Decatur, Senior Regulatory Analyst at Sphera, admits that she was probably overly excited about presenting at her daughter’s career fair. The opportunity to expose young people to the joys of product stewardship got her thinking about how she came to the field and caused her to wonder how her peers found their way to the profession. The result was a survey of Sphera customers that Decatur presented at Product Stewardship 2018.

One of the most interesting things Decatur discovered is that few product stewards started their career looking to be one. This is reflected in the wide range of backgrounds that product stewards have—a diversity that is part of the strength of the field. Even so, product stewards are usually united by a background in science.

The actual duties vary throughout the industry in another sign of the breadth of knowledge and experience product stewards have. As one respondent observed, “It doesn’t get boring around here.” While that stimulates many product stewards, it can also be a challenge to respond to rapidly shifting regulations and priorities. One of the benefits is of the profession that is provides a lot of opportunity for career growth by exploring new areas. In fact, Decatur found that there is a wide variety of job titles for product stewards.

One piece of advice many product stewards would give to their younger selves is to be more open to new opportunities. That meant it was no surprise to hear that a lot of product stewards know they need to do a better job of building up the workforce behind them. Decatur recommends networking at events like Product Stewardship as it makes it more likely you’ll know candidates who can fill vacancies when they arise.

Michael Sullivan


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