Saturday Success Story #21: Katherine Jarmin-Rogers

By Alpha Miguel-Sanford

Katherine Jarmin-Rogers, “Erin” to most people is a very busy woman. She is the Senior QC Analyst for a Pharmaceutical Company in the Boston area, the mother of two lovely children, Sophia and Jianna and also the owner of custom-made cake company, Katherine’s Budget Cakes. She loves to bake, cook and entertain friends in their house inNorth Attleboro,MA.

Despite her many responsibilities, she always manages to be on top of everything! She is determined, unfettered for failure and offers a lot of talent to people around her. Being a mother to two young children and also a career-woman, whose job involves some traveling in and out of the United States, it takes some superpower skills to be able to excel in both areas.  But she makes it seems too easy in juggling both! Her smile and carefree attitude definitely help in the way she balances her life. Her focus, determination and her passion in life make her path to parenting and life in general very fulfilling.

As a woman whose job demands thought-process and science, I can also consider her as a rarity. Being in the science field sometimes mean you have to be a “genius”, but she loves what she does and excels in it! She even combines her chemistry background as she mixes and bakes beautiful custom-made cakes that everyone loves from her own kitchen.

Erin, being the daughter of two successful Filipino parents (Mr. Manuel Jarmin and Ms. Ruby Teotico) has learned that no matter what comes her way, she knows she needs to work and make it happen. She is doing it now and she will continue to do so, for her children, her husband and for her own success!

This is her story:

AMS: You have been a Chemist for one of the biggest lab companies in New Englandfor a few years now – and recently you became the Senior Analyst in another company – how did you get there? Could you tell your background?

Erin: After I graduated from college, I worked a few odd jobs. I worked as a telemarketer for AIG, customer service representative for Experian and even in sales for Forever Living Products. Unfortunately back in thePhilippines, there were no jobs for people with my Chemistry degree. There were maybe 2-4 pharmaceutical companies in total and no open positions. Medical school was not an option for me either even though I was accepted into medical school. We just did not have the money for it.

I ended up landing my first chemistry-related job as a lab tech for United Laboratories (makers of Biogesic, Alaxan, etc) and this was a 6-month contract position which paid PHP 287/day ($6/day). Up until that time, I had not worked at all in a laboratory outside of my university and I immediately loved it. I knew that this was what I wanted to do.

When my contract was up in July 2005, I came to theUS to visit family members and met my husband, John. I ended up staying here in theUS and in November, John and I were married. You could say that it was destiny that I ended up inBoston which just so happens to be thriving in the biotech industry! So from there, I was hired as a Chemist for AstraZeneca and worked there for about a year and then on to ImmunoGen as a QC Analyst II for 4.5 years and lastly to IPSEN as a Senior QC Analyst.

AMS: What motivated you to be where you are now?

Erin: I’ve always loved science. I love to understand how things work and how things are made. As far as working in a biotech company that makes a possible cure for cancer (at Immunogen) and hemophilia (at IPSEN) makes me feel that I am working towards making a difference in the world.

AMS: Do you love being the “boss” at work? What makes you a stand-out “boss” – or an impeccable manager at one of the best lab in Boston?

Erin: I currently do not manage people but I manage projects. Hopefully in a few years and after I have gained much more experience in this company, I know I will be ready to manage my own team.

AMS: Growing up, what did you learn that up to these days you are still doing it?

Erin:  Growing up, I’ve learned that if I wanted something done, I have to do it myself :)

AMS: Did you ever have a role model? Who was/were he/they? What did they teach you?

Erin: I would have to say that my role model would be my mom. She’s always on-the-go, always there for me and my sisters. She’s a very independent woman. She runs a successful business inSan Jose, Mindoro Occidental.

AMS: As a chemist a and now a Senior Analyst, were you ever confronted with a difficulty situation – but you were able to resolve it and told yourself that you were proud of it?

Erin: I am constantly confronted with difficult situations and changing priorities on a daily basis. I guess you could say it comes with the territory. I’ve learned that the only way to deal with these situations and to not get overwhelmed is to stop what I am doing, take a deep breath, assess the situation and go at it again.

AMS: There are a lot of Filipinos who would like to be in the same field as you are, what do you think they need to learn and be prepared for before taking the job?

Erin: They need to know what they are worth and know what they can contribute. Never set yourself short. Never settle for less than what you deserve.

AMS: Finally – what is your definition of success?

Erin:  These would be my two best definitions of success:

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~Winston Churchill

What is success? It is a toy balloon among children armed with pins. ~Gene Fowler

To read other inspiring Success Stories, click here.