Developing Your Professional Roadmap – Yonette Thomas, PhD

In 805conversations by Mark Sylvester

How to move from .EDU to .ORG

Lets’ widen the horizon and think more broadly.”Dr. Yonette Thomas, PhD.

Yonette Thomas, PhD. is an entrepreneur who is moving from a lifetime as an academic research professor to a coach for academics. Her new venture, Strategic Transitions, helps academic professionals navigate the various transitions they’ll face during their career.

She has an impressive background, just read this brief bio from the IAPHS website:

Yonette Thomas, Ph.D., is science advisor for urban health to the New York Academy of Medicine, a member of the International Society for Urban Health Board, and a senior research advisor to the Association of American Geographers. She is a faculty affiliate of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland College Park and a voluntary associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine where she teaches social epidemiology. Yonette was formerly the associate vice president for research compliance at Howard University. Previously she served as the chief of the Epidemiology Research Branch and program director for the sociology epidemiology program at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health. She has held faculty appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the School of Pharmacy at Howard University. She is a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations Advisory Committee and the Steering Committee of the National Hispanic Science Network. Her primary research and publications have focused on the social epidemiology of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS and the link with geography, including edited volumes: Geography and Drug Addiction, Crime, HIV, and Health: Intersections of Criminal Justice and Public Health Concerns. She has a Ph.D. in medical sociology and demography, with postgraduate training in epidemiology.

Wow. A real slacker, huh?

She and Mark met at Bo Eason’s’ Mastermind Group: The Best (based in Thousand Oaks). They’ve worked closely together to help her get her new business, Strategic Transitions off the ground.

Our conversation was fascinating and included:

• How people have always been attracted to her, especially around her personal story, and they ask her, “What do I do?” This constant questioning was what caused her to make the transition herself from academia into the world of consulting.
• She loves guiding, coaching and mentoring
• We talked about the Millennial Leadership Institute (MLI)
• What she means when she talks about Finding Your Avatar
• What it takes to become a professor, moving on to a tenured position, an endowed chair and how to access a professional network
• What it means to be a thought-leader
• Owning your achievement
• “It’s lonely in the world of higher education.”
• Why she loves the metaphor of gardening to describe what she does and how seasonality, planting, pruning, weeding, fertilizing and related tasks are deeply relevant to her new endeavor
• What’s been the biggest surprise so far? How much you have to pay attention to the ‘business’ side of the firm. As an academic her entire career, this requires focus and attention.
• Why you need a 20-year plan. She made a good case by studying the truly successful, who all had such a plan