ruce Sawyer ’75 offered plenty
of sound advice to students
attending Lycoming College’s eighth
annual Black History Month Dinner on
Jan. 26. The senior director of global
business excellence for Johnson &
Johnson’s Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
organization concluded his keynote
address with an enticing summer
internship proposition.
Sawyer spoke of finding the right
opportunities for success in a career. As
he addressed finding the right kind of
job for one’s lifestyle, he informed the
students that they must decide what type
of sacrifices they were willing to make
for their career. He also emphasized
the need for students to establish social
skills and the ability to communicate
effectively, no matter what type of career
path they are looking into.
“Those who want to move around
have to have social skills,” said Sawyer,
who earned a bachelor’s degree in
biology. “You have to be able to come
across well in a face-to-face conversation,
because you’re not going to text your
way to success. You have to have boots
on the ground, people in your face, being
able to communicate. And that may mean
being in a culture where English is not
the primary language.”
Sawyer also stressed that after
college, people are originally hired for
technical skills according to the degree
they receive. However, students must
still remember they need to be open to
learning and show their ability to adapt
to on-the-job training and various work
situations after they get hired. He adds
that in most organizational cultures,
advancement or an opportunity is based
on one’s ability to socialize and network.
“It’s important you go into the
workforce with the ability and the
eagerness to demonstrate your ability to
learn,” Sawyer said. “What’s different
about the learning is, here your learning
is structured. The professor will tell you
‘read this, study this, this will be on your
exams.’ That’s structured; you can focus.
In the work environment it’s all on-the-job
training, unstructured. So if you’re a very
structured learner, you may have to adapt
to the style there. Your ability to learn is
going to be critical.”
At Johnson & Johnson, Sawyer’s
responsibilities include global manufactur-
ing, procurement and external manufac-
turers, which encompass more than 9,000
associates and 30 manufacturing locations
worldwide. Prior to joining Johnson &
Johnson, where he has held a series of
managerial positions, he worked at the
Sloan-Kettering Research Institute.
Sawyer and his wife, Marcia, live in
Whitehouse Station, N.J., and have two
to the
Bruce Sawyer ’75
delivers keynote
By Savannah Hanford ’15
Bruce Sawyer ’75, keynote speaker for
Lycoming’s eighth annual Black History Month
Dinner, is shown (from left) with his daughter,
Catherine; wife, Marcia; and Karen Sheaffer ’74.
Faculty and students from Lycoming’s Black
Student Union helped plan this year’s Black
History Month Dinner.
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