May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, an annual celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ accomplishments and critical contributions to U.S. history. To mark the occasion, we are featuring several employees at Sema4 discussing their stories of achievements and challenges throughout their journey. In our second Q&A, Sherard Cheung, Regional Sales Leader, Women’s Health, addresses the importance of being resilient in the face of adversity, being okay with choosing an unconventional career in the Asian American culture, and acquiring a unique skill set to forge your own career path in the field of medical sales.
What is your role at Sema4?
I am the Women’s Health Regional Sales Leader (commonly known in the medical sales world as an outside sales representative, territory manager, or account executive) for the downtown Chicago area. What that means is that each day, I am responsible for selling and promoting Sema4’s portfolio of reproductive and generational health solutions, Sema4 Elements®, to women’s health and primary care providers in the downtown Chicago market.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Having the opportunity to be the face and voice representing a company like Sema4, a true pioneer in the field of genetics and biotechnology, is truly rewarding to me. Talking to, meeting, and partnering with healthcare professionals every day provides me with an opportunity to help providers treat their patients holistically during their reproductive and generational journey.
Being part of the biotechnology world is also rewarding to me as both my parents were healthcare professionals in Hong Kong. This gave me a chance to pave my path and start my own journey in healthcare in a nontraditional way.
What does Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?
This month reminds me of the sacrifices of those who have come before me and the ongoing challenges that Asian Americans face in this country. Growing up, AAPI heritage month was never a thing. It’s great to see more of a spotlight on this. While I am grateful to have this platform to share my experiences, I see the need to be more culturally sensitive and open-minded to learn about the perspectives of other cultures.
What challenges have you had to overcome in your career?
Being born in the U.S. but growing up in Hong Kong and then moving to back the states as a teenager without my parents by my side, I had to grow up quickly. I found myself convincing not only my family, employers, and others but also myself in the early stages of my career that I too can be successful in the field of sales. I was taught to conform growing up, being intentional to be more outspoken, and continuously advocate for myself. I am extremely grateful that throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to meet leaders and colleagues that believed in me and gave me the chance to prove myself. I will never forget these people.
What advice would you give to other people who want to pursue a career like yours?
Developing communication and problem-solving skills, learning to simplify complex clinical concepts in a succinct manner, and learning to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations are skills I’d advocate for anyone who wants to pursue a career in medical sales.
Some of the most important takeaways in my career so far are to always try to do the right thing, do not be afraid to be yourself, stay humble and composed no matter how high or low you are in the moment, and to always continue to self-reflect.
Finding your own path in this field specifically can be challenging yet rewarding in many ways, and the key to unlocking your full potential is usually found once you step outside of your comfort zone.
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Are you interested in joining the Sema4 team? To find out more about open positions, please visit our Careers page here.