A self-described "career switcher," Rebecca Guogas is a good example of why people with uncommon backgrounds—and uncommon drive—so often find a home at Johnson & Johnson.
When Rebecca initially applied to internships as an undergraduate, she faced a not-so-uncommon conundrum for students: How do you break through into a new space when you don't necessarily have relevant previous experience to support your candidacy?
Recruiting with different companies, I was very honest about not having any true finance experience in a business environment, but I felt I was able to tell a compelling story about how my skills were transferable. That said, there were several companies that dismissed me right away—and Johnson & Johnson was completely the opposite. They viewed my leadership qualities as more important than any specific skill set or background.
An internship with Johnson & Johnson soon followed, and from there, a spot in our Finance MBA Leadership Development Program. In both cases, Rebecca said, "I felt like I had a seat at the table. I've always been asked to share my opinion and people really value what I have to say. The organization clearly wants to help me learn and grow."
As an example of that, she said she's been exposed to a wide range of training and development opportunities, which have helped bolster her expertise in financial reporting. After all, working in a finance role, as Rebecca explained, comes with unique opportunities to innovate. "The what of what you need to do isn't really going to change," she said. "The piece that changes is the how. And at Johnson & Johnson, you're empowered to morph and improve the how."
For example, she and her team are currently focused on enhancing key financial reports through personalization.
She framed the challenge this way: "People have different ways of looking at information, so it can be hard to give everyone everything they want in one report. That's why we're using new software to create personalized reports. This project has been in the works for about a year, and my team has been spearheading the effort."
Of course, there have been challenges along the way: change management, teaching end users how to use a new tool, getting everyone on board—familiar obstacles whenever boundaries are being pushed. But Rebecca says she's embraced these challenges. As she put it, "There are no shortage of places to go or things to learn here."
Zooming In On a Breakthrough Moment
When you have room and support to fail—and when that failure is treated not as a cause for drama or shame, but instead as a learning experience—what does that really look like on the ground?
Rebecca recounted one such experience. "When we first started to roll the project out, it just wasn’t catching on. We had data, but no one knew how to use the new tool, and we found we were almost doing twice as much work as we had been as a result. So we decided to go back to the drawing board. We conducted interviews with end users to better understand what their pain points were. While we knew we were doing something wrong, was it what we were delivering? Or was it how we were marketing it?"
After carrying out in-depth interviews and surveys, Rebecca and her team finally saw what had gone wrong—and what they could do to course-correct.
Once we fully understood what end users were looking for, we were able to give them exactly what they wanted. In fact, we were even able to give them more than we'd initially promised after we upgraded to a new version of the tool. We took a step back, did some additional discovery, learned from this and pivoted to a better solution.
Throughout the process, she added, "Support from leadership never wavered. They continued to support us pushing forward."
Today, the results from the project speak for themselves: What used to take three days—a manual, intensive process involving Excel spreadsheets—now can be completed in one. Better yet, because data delivery is automated, leadership can get the valuable insights they need through a self-service portal, without the need to go through Rebecca or someone from her team.
Unlimited Opportunities to Make Real-World Impact
Everyone at Johnson & Johnson is united by the values in Our Credo, and we all share the goal of profoundly improving the trajectory of health for humanity. So we understand that breakthroughs are more than isolated incidents—the discovery of, say, a new vaccine, or a groundbreaking idea for a medical device. Rather, it's about the day-to-day collaboration, teamwork and circumstances that make those moments possible.
That's something Rebecca, working within our finance function, understands well: "All the work that I do connects to our larger goals. By helping the team understand how we make our forecasts, for example, we can identify how to better invest in new innovations and products. In that way, my work helps ensure that we're making the biggest real-world impact possible."
So if you're ready to innovate, accelerate your development and write your own story of breaking through, be sure to explore our leadership development programs (LDPs), many of which were created specifically for MBAs, as well as all of the opportunities to join the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies today.
A breakthrough isn't really a moment at all—and they happen all the time at Johnson & Johnson. They take many forms but they all share one purpose: to change the trajectory of health for humanity.