For many of us in the chemistry profession, we ask many questions about our world, about our chemical reactions, and about the molecule we are studying. But we often forget to ask questions about our inner selves. Do you know yourself? You might say, “Well of course I know myself: I am a scientist, I am a problem solver.”
I challenge you to think broader: What are you really good at besides science? What motivates you? What are your natural strengths? How do you show up? These are very important questions that you need to know answers to if you want to have a fulfilled career.
Early in my career, I found myself in a training called “Strengths Finder.” There is a book, Strengths Finder 2.0, with an assessment tool that helps identify your top five natural strengths. Once you understand your natural strengths, you will understand what motivates you, how you do your best work, how you work best with others, and what you might need to watch out for in life. I highly recommend this training and/or book. It really helped me figure out my personal strengths, intentionally focus on how I could leverage my strengths to meet my career goals, and better understand my colleagues and their strengths as well.
Jackie Thomas is currently a Group Scientist at the Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). She joined in 2008 and is currently part of the Corporate Functions Analytical group where she focuses on materials characterizations and complex mixture analysis, primarily using NMR spectroscopy.
She earned a PhD in physical organic chemistry from Texas A&M University under Dr. D. Singleton and a BS in chemistry from Texas A&M University, Kingsville.
Jackie has multiple publications and patents, and she was recently recognized by P&G with the Corporate Function Analytical Senior VP Game Changer Award for 2021. From 2011 to 2013, she helped coordinate the FIRST PhD Recruiting Conference at P&G and served as chair in 2013. At P&G, she is currently a co-leader for the Analytical Women of Excellence group and serves on the steering team for the BTP affinity group.
Jackie is a long-serving member of ACS. She is active in the Cincinnati Local Section and served as Chair in 2016. As a former ACS Scholar, she advocates for the program and served as a board member in 2014-19. She is currently an ACS Career Consultant and has mentored many young professionals over the years. Jackie is originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, is married, has two sons, and enjoys spending time with her family.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.