CSL CEO Paul Perreault shares his professional journey and learnings with CSL interns and co-op students.
CSL CEO and Managing Director Paul Perreault recently gave students participating in the company’s USA Internship Program insight into his own journey and tips for launching their own rewarding careers.
“Your career path – and your life – is a journey. Different paths will open up before you, and you will have to decide which one to take. Be brave,” Perreault told the group during the virtual gathering.
This year, the company is sponsoring 41 interns and co-ops enrolled in a four-year university. The 12-26 week program builds on classroom theory by providing students with hands-on, hands-on experience. Interns benefit from a wide range of development opportunities, including an Insights® Discovery assessment, skills-building workshops and company-specific training. Roles span multiple CSL business entities and functions across the United States
“Having Paul connect with the interns is invaluable as it encourages meaningful, two-way dialogue with senior management,” said Aneesa Bey, Manager of Early Career Development Programs, who organized the event with Perréault.
Here are four tips Perreault shared with the group:
- To be open. Perreault started his professional career selling pharmaceuticals and loved it. He was doing so well that one day his manager encouraged him to apply for a training program to help new hires learn how to sell. Although Perreault initially pushed back, he eventually applied and got the job. After a few years of covering his sales territory and traveling the country training others, the same manager came to Perreault to encourage him to apply for a district manager position. “A lot of people saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself,” Perreault said. “They pushed me to do things, where I said, why would I do that?”
- Be humble. During Perreault’s first year as district director, he “failed miserably.” He had no experience in personnel management. He thought people worked the same way he did and did what they said they were going to do. So he started asking for help, including calling his former manager for advice. In two years, he had transformed the district, going from the last to the first. It wasn’t the last time he suffered a setback. In these situations, Perreault advised students to “constantly look in the mirror” to analyze the situation and think about what you could and should do differently.
- Be wide. Perreault eventually ran business units for Wyeth and for a successor company to CSL, where he was asked to move into operations and lead plasma drives. The career change made him uncomfortable as he had no operational experience. However, it also helped him learn the trade through and through. Perreault says the broad exposure has helped him in his role as CEO because the company needs people who “understand how the business works.”
- To be curious. Perreault acknowledged that as interns, students would not have the opportunity to work in different areas of the business in order to understand the business. However, he encouraged them to talk with people in their area, ask questions and understand how we operate. He also told them to work with their manager to familiarize themselves with different areas of the business – to meet and chat with those in other areas. Finally, he advised them to network with each other and share their experiences, in order to “reach out and make those connections.”
For more information on working at CSL, see our careers page.