Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members were joined by Marco Forestiere, Country Manager at Amgen Norway, for a session recounting his experience in transitioning from a small business to a multinational company, and back to his passion for entrepreneurship.
Originally from Italy, Forestiere has extensive healthcare and technology industry experience as a former telecom engineer. He explained candidly that he had no clear purpose when he was starting his career and walked participants through critical moments in his path, from working at Accenture to starting and tanking his own company, to going back to school for his MBA and serving 11 years at Indiana-based multinational Eli Lilly.
Forestiere highlighted that a “career is not a linear path” as he shared the ups and downs he experienced, but admitted that timing was an important factor. His career took a turn to pharma by chance. He originally applied for his first role at Eli Lilly thinking it was the coffee company Illy. Starting with an unpaid internship, he rotated domestically for five years before taking on international roles in the US and Czech Republic. Although extremely grateful for the investment that Eli Lilly made in him, his roles left him longing for increased autonomy.
Joining Amgen, Forestiere was looking to find the startup passion once again. Amgen is one of the world’s largest independent biotechnology pharmaceutical companies – dedicated to discovering, developing, manufacturing, and delivering innovative human therapeutics for serious illnesses. With his background in IT and a more limited healthcare background, Forestiere noted the importance of trusting his team, and acknowledging his own limitations.
To Forestiere, Amgen still feels like a start-up: starting with biotechnology in the 80s, they are still experimenting. He easily recognizes himself in the purpose: to help people and improve lives.