Under the Microscope: R&D Group Leader, Jessica Edward
Jessica Edward leads a variety of different initiatives within our research and development lab. She has been a key player in implementing new technologies as well as in product and platform development for our customers.
1. What drew you to Microbial Discovery Group?
From the very beginning, I was drawn to the small company culture and the strong visions for growth. We are a team that collaborates well together – something I really admire in an organization. I am also encouraged to take on responsibilities that promote both my professional development and personal growth. I could tell from the very start that MDG was investing in me, which makes it easy to put forth the hard work for them.
2. What does your typical day look like?
Typical days do not exist, haha. On any given day, I could be running a handful of laboratory tests, catching up on paperwork, researching new methodologies, pulled into an important meeting, emailing with customers as I answer their questions, or really anything that pops up.
3. What are you working on right now?
As one of the team leads in our R&D department, I work on a variety of different projects. Lately, a lot of my time has been spent on developing new innovative technologies, prepping for an upcoming product launch, and assisting in the writing and compiling of data for a couple of patents our team is filing.
4. What is the most inspiring part of your job?
The most inspiring part is the opportunity to take on a wide variety of responsibilities that I do not have experience in. I truly learn something new every single day. Being constantly challenged and pushing myself to learn more and become a better version of myself makes coming to work truly rewarding.
5. What do you like to do when you’re not at the office?
When I’m not working, I spend a good portion of my time giving back to the community by coaching youth hockey. I enjoy contributing to both the athletic and personal development for young women. I also love playing a round of golf and spending time with my family.
6. Professional goal for the next 5 years?
I want to continue learning and implementing new methodologies to contribute to the innovative progression of MDG’s R&D team. Additionally, I want to take on more responsibilities from the business side in managing my team. By leading through example and honing my leadership skills, I hope to become a strong mentor for future MDG team members.
7. Let’s talk about mentorship and the role it has had in your career…
One of my first “big breaks” came from a female professor during my senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This professor recognized my talent and gave me the chance and mentorship I needed that eventually played a larger role in my acceptance to graduate school. In later conversations, she revealed the importance of reaching back to pull the next generation of talent up along with us as we climb the latter of success. This is something that has stuck with me over the years.
Fast forward to my (almost) 5 years at MDG, a lot of hard work and long hours have resulted in setbacks that resulted in success and failures that eventually gave rise to triumph. Every day is a challenge and I have learned more than I could have thought possible. As I continue to work and build my leadership skills, I hope to one day lend a hand to the future development of another in a way that my one professor did for me.