Yolanda Lyle (Photo courtesy of Pfizer, Inc.)
Alumna Yolanda Lyle, vice president of executive operations and chief of staff to the chairman and chief executive officer at Pfizer Inc., will keynote the next Boston College Endeavor, the popular career exploration program for sophomores and juniors pursuing liberal arts degrees. Lyle will provide perspective on her career journey as well as Pfizer's pioneering work during the COVID- 19 pandemic during the event, to be held virtually during winter break, January 13-15, 2021.
The three-day Endeavor program was launched in 2016 by the Career Center to empower students to take control of their career journeys. Through reflective exercises and conversations with alumni, students gain clarity about career options and learn how to connect the value of their liberal arts education to their potential careers.
Endeavor’s mission reflects a key facet of the University’s Strategic Plan: to foster an educational culture that promotes opportunities for students to integrate traditional liberal arts disciplines with professional preparation and vocational discernment.
“It is inspiring to see so many members of the Boston College community dedicate a lot of extra time and effort this year to ensure Endeavor remains a signature program for our University despite the challenges posed by the pandemic,” said Associate Vice President for Career Services Joseph Du Pont. “I am incredibly grateful for that and the collaboration with Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Leah DeCosta Spencer.”
A double Eagle, Lyle graduated from the University with a bachelor’s degree in 1994 and went on to earn a degree from BC Law School in 2001. She has more than 15 years of experience providing counsel to pharmaceutical companies. Prior to her current role, she was chief compliance counsel for Pfizer’s research and development, medical, and manufacturing operations, responsible for a team of attorneys providing global compliance support to each of these areas.
A member of the Executive Leadership Council, a network of the nation’s most influential African American executives, Lyle also serves on the scholar advisory committee for the Northeast region of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. In 2017, she was honored by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association with a Luminary Award in recognition of her contributions to the healthcare industry and her dedication to advancing the careers of other women.
Other prominent University alumni also will share their expertise and offer insights on the advantages provided by a liberal arts education.
“We are excited to have more than 280 students registered,” said Career Center Director of Career Education and Strategy Rachel Greenberg. “While the official registration deadline has passed, we want every BC student who would benefit for Endeavor to be able to participate. Therefore, we will accept eligible students through Sunday, January 3.”
Originally offered only to sophomores, Endeavor has accepted select junior class members for the past few years. Since the virtual format of this year’s event eliminates space constraints, organizers expanded the opportunity to juniors in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and to applied psychology majors in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development.
“While we continue to think sophomore year is the ideal time to experience Endeavor, we recognize that many juniors continue to engage in career exploration and discovery of their interests and skills. We want to support them in these processes,” said Greenberg. “We also know that, throughout their college years, students' interests are constantly shifting and evolving. This is a normal process that we encourage, so we want Endeavor to be an option for students at either of these key moments in their time at Boston College.”
The program offers participants the opportunity to reflect on their skills and interests during workshops, practice networking, and will conclude with industry immersion experiences: panels and learning activities will help them experience what it is like to work in an industry of interest.
These experiences replace the program’s previous years’ “career trek” to Boston companies and organizations, which is not possible due to the pandemic.
“As these treks are a favorite part of the Endeavor experience for many students, our planning committee wanted to come up with a virtual alternative that would be equally engaging and beneficial,” Greenberg explained. “During these immersions, students will have the chance to hear from alumni and professionals across a range of functions within the organization they ‘visit,’ just as they typically do on a trek. They will also have the chance to engage in an interactive exercise that will give them a sense of the type of work the organization does. These activities may include a case study, interactive training, or a small group discussion to solve a real-life business problem.”
For information about Endeavor 2021, and to register, visit bc.edu/endeavor.
Rosanne Pellegrini | University Communications | December 2020