BioBuzz by Workforce Genetics

These Career Coaches Can Help Take Your Life Science Career to the Next Level

What was once a strong job seekers market is increasingly becoming more competitive as company downsizing and layoffs continue across the industry. Whether you’re an active candidate seeking new employment or an employed professional looking to advance your career, you might find that you could be doing everything by the books and still not get the results you desire.

Sometimes a new set of eyes on your job search strategy or promotion approach can make all the difference in the world. Engaging a career coach or consultant is a great way to enhance what you’re already doing right and learn new techniques to get more from your networking and professional development activities. For employers looking to retain their key talent, providing coaching opportunities is also beneficial, as it shows your organization believes in them, is willing to invest in their future, and cares about their success.

We’ve pulled together a short list of life sciences-focused career coaches that industry professionals and biotech organizations can use as a resource for career advice and professional development engagements.

Melissa Lawrence Coaching

Contact: Melissa Lawrence

Specialty Areas: Biotech Careers, Women in Biotech

Melissa Lawrence is an experienced talent expert that began her company after a successful career in the biotech industry. She is now leveraging her experience in training and talent development at AstraZeneca, Emergent Biosolutions, and Covance to help women in biotech advance their careers to the next level. 

Lawrence offers 1:1 coaching to women in biotech and partners with biotech companies to support their talent strategies. She also has a Podcast called “Navigating Your Career.” BioBuzz’s President and Workforce Genetics CEO Chris Frew was a guest on her podcast back in 2021. Lawrence holds multiple certifications as a career and life coach, is an ICF professional coach, holds a Master’s Degree in organizational psychology, and is an active member of the Women In Bio leadership team. 

As her website states, “Like you, I had a great job on paper but I knew I wanted more. I wanted to make a big impact and be the best. Now I help people like you find your unique path and get to your next level. Whether you want to know your next best career move, be more effective as a leader, or position yourself to excel in a new role, I am the coach that will help you make your goals inevitable.”

Lawrence is located in Frederick, Maryland but provides coaching across the BioHealth Capital Region and beyond. To learn more about what she can do for your career, email her at or reach out to her via LinkedIn

Karen Lertora Coaching

Contact: Karen Lertora

Specialty Areas: Internal Coaching, Change Management, Career Advancement

Another AstraZeneca human resources function alumni, Karen Lertora spent 14 years at AZ as an HR Global Business Partner and global Lead, Director Leadership/Organization Development, Commercial and R&D. Prior to that, Lertora spent three years at Pfizer in a sales leader development role. She holds multiple coaching, talent, and facilitation certifications as well. 

Lertora leverages her experience working with/for Fortune 500 companies to address strategic, leadership, and team challenges. She works with biotech and life sciences organizations to identify the root causes of challenges, create practical solutions, and drive sustainable change. She specializes in coaching/supporting senior executive leaders in new roles or facing challenges, helping leaders build stronger relationships with key people to drive performance, and assisting leaders that need to manage change or are looking to advance their careers to the next level.

You can connect with Lertora via her LinkedIn page.  

Deepa Kumar Transformation Coach

Contact: Deepa Kumar

Speciality Areas: Lean Six Sigma, Operational Excellence, Women in Tech/Biotech

Deepa Kumar is a transformation coach who is a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma/Operational Excellence and has deep experience in engineering, biotech, and quality. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and has worked for some of the biggest names in pharma/biotech, including Human Genome Sciences, and GSK. Currently she is a Senior Solutions Consultant, Americas Life Sciences at OpenText.

Kumar’s transformational coaching business, as stated on her LinkedIn page, helps “…busy professional women go beyond ‘working smarter, not harder’ to create a space where they have more time and energy to maximize their impact in the world and pursue their passions.”

Kumar has penned several guest blogs for BioBuzz over the past year, offering her expert coaching advice on a number of topics. Kumar has a wide range of skills that she offers to individuals and companies, including coaching, matrix management, stakeholder management, mentoring, Lean Six Sigma, consensus building, root cause analysis, training, workshop/Kaizen facilitation, process statistical analysis, technical authoring, biopharmaceuticals, value stream mapping, strategy deployment, hoshin kanri, vision factory, performance management, and A3 planning.

You can connect with Kumar by checking out her website and reaching out to her via LinkedIn


Contact: Crystal Richards

Specialty Areas: Career Coaching, PMP/Agile Training, Industry Agnostic

MindsparQ™ is a talent development consulting firm led by Crystal Richards, a project management expert that has helped thousands of business professionals across a wide range of industries achieve their PMP® and PMI-ACP® credentials. 

Richards had a highly successful career in project and healthcare management prior to launching her first business venture, the Mosaic Research Group and, more recently, MindSparQ, both of which are located out of Bowie, Maryland. She holds certifications in MHA, PMP®, PMI-ACP®, and CSM® and is a graduate of Georgetown University. She earned her Masters in Health Administration from North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been an Instructor for the Project Management Academy for the past seven years. 

MindsparQ offers project management and PMP and PMI-ACP test prep, which has achieved a 99% pass rate among her clientele. Across the last 15 years, Richards has helped start-ups, healthcare organizations, non-profits, and government agencies improve their project results. The company offers a wide variety of service packages at different commitment levels to suit the needs of most. 

To contact MindsparQ and learn more, email, call (240) 203-9176 or reach out to Richards via LinkedIn