From an early age, Renee (Gligora) Lista ’02 knew she wanted to go into pharmaceutical sales. Her laser-like career focus, exceptional discipline, and strong problem-solving skills led her to seek out great work opportunities that, while they may not have always been in pharmaceuticals, always added up to impressive sales outcomes. Today, she is director of Doctor Partnership Sales Channel in New York City for Capsule.
What is your typical day like?
Prior to the start of COVID-19, my day started with my commute into Manhattan on the Long Island Rail Road into our office in Tribeca. Now, with working remotely, my day always starts off waking my kids up to get ready for school, getting myself ready, and then settling in front of my computer for the day.
The first thing I do to start off my workday is check my team’s sales results from the previous day. I look to see if there is anything great to celebrate with the team, or if there any negative trends that we need to reverse.
It can be difficult, not being in the field with my team or in the office. We have to hold all of our discussions and meetings on Google Meets or Zoom, which takes up a large part of my day. I generally spend meetings on calls with our customers, doing one-on-one strategy meetings with my team, or leadership calls.
Every day ends with me having dinner with my family.
Please describe your career path.
From the time I started college, I knew that I wanted to get into pharmaceutical sales, so I majored in business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in biology.
I worked as a technician in the pharmacy during summer breaks at Wegmans, our local grocery store. I figured that experience would help me get a good base of knowledge for a future role in Pharma.
I graduated with my bachelor of science degree in 2002, and it was hard to get a pharmaceutical sales job without prior sales experience. So, I took a job working for E.J. Del Monte Corporation as an outside sales representative for their Marriott hotels.
After about six months, I was able to get a job with a small pharmaceutical company, which then led to three years working for Johnson & Johnson.
When I got engaged to my husband, I had to relocate to Long Island, so I moved and started working for Sanofi, where I spent 13 years. I started as a specialty representative, moved into an interim manager role, spent a year and a half on the device team selling a blood glucose meter, and then moved to a full-time sales manager role.
After taking a break from Sanofi, I ran across an opportunity to work for Capsule Pharmacy, a tech-based startup in New York City. I started as a sales manager and was promoted at the end of June to the director of the Doctor Partnership Sales Channel in New York City.
How did your Saint Rose experience help you with your career?
My experience at Saint Rose gave me the fundamentals that I needed in business, taught me the importance of building strong relationships, and equipped me with the science background that I needed to learn about the different medications and disease states of each medication that I have sold.
In every role that I have had in the last 18 years, I have had to build out business plans for my territory or district, and to this day I will never forget the first business plan that I had to create at Saint Rose.
Are there any fond memories of your time at Saint Rose that you would like to share?
I will never forget the people and the culture at Saint Rose. For that I will always look back on my time with great memories.
When you go to Saint Rose, you become part of an amazing community of caring professors and students. You feel it from the minute you step foot on campus, and it’s the reason that I chose Saint Rose.
I will also never forget my freshman year living in Lima Hall and the amazing people and friends that I made. My roommate from that year is still one of my best friends to this day.
Why should alums continue to engage with their alma mater?
If you truly loved your experience at the school and the education that it provided, then I think it’s great to give back to the school in any way that you can to ensure the College flourishes for years to come.
It doesn’t have to be monetary: You could serve as a mentor for current students, participate in career fairs on behalf of your company – anything, really.
I also think the alumni networking events are a great way to meet people even after your time at Saint Rose has ended.