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The Science Runway is a group of dedicated women inspiring girls to pursue their love of science.

Colleen Dodson-Honore

Colleen Dodson-Honore

What do you do every day?

Well, I like to say I play multiple roles in life. I’ve been with Sanofi for 17 years (how time flies) and have held several roles throughout my career. Currently, I am a member of a team that helps to improve the lives of people with diabetes. My role on this team is as a Regional Business Director, which offers me the chance to lead a team of amazing people who focus on bringing valuable therapeutic options to patients in both the hospital and long-term care setting. Another key role I play is as “Mommy” to my four children (two are human the other two, canine!)

Why do you love it?

How couldn’t I? First, I work for an organization that has invested so much in my development and then has offered me a variety of opportunities over time to put these skills into action. During this journey, I have learned that my true talents are in building and leading strong teams which aligns to my life’s purpose of inspiring others to see the beauty and possibilities in themselves. The role of a people leader offers me a huge platform to live out that purpose. As a mom, my hope is to be an inspiration to my kids; to help them realize that anything in life is possible through faith, will, and determination. There are many barriers in life but the biggest ones are those we build

in our mind. My wish for them is that they continue to be wonderful human beings and use their unique gifts and talents to contribute to our world in a positive way. I couldn’t ask for a better legacy.

What were your moments of fear and challenges in your career?

I think the biggest fear that I’ve had in life is not being good enough. Not being good enough professionally or personally. As a child, my mom would say, “Women have to work twice as hard to be considered half as good.” That saying really stuck with me so throughout life I’ve always worked extremely hard at everything so people would appreciate what I had to offer. I have to admit, that can be exhausting! What I’ve learned over time is that I’ve always been good enough...I just needed to embrace that. “My best” is the best for me and instead of trying to always achieve others expectations of me, I needed to focus on exceeding my own expectations; which in fact, are much higher than those imposed by someone else.

What are some of the latest innovations in science that you are most excited about?

By far, human bionics and personal genomics. My dad is the below the knee amputee from an accident and I’ve grown up seeing the challenges that people face when they lose a limb...both physically and emotionally. Technology in the human bionics space has improved drastically over time and I am so encouraged by the progress we’ve made and the promise that it holds.
I am really fascinated by the concept of personal genomics. Being able to understand my own DNA makeup and learn more about my lineage is so empowering and will allow me to make better choices regarding my own health. I just bought a DNA kit that will allow me to explore the unknown within me...how cool is that!

Where did you grow up?

I was born and grew up on the south side of Chicago (Hyde Park). I’ve lived in a variety of places across the US and now find myself back where my roots started. It’s good to be home.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Ms. Borsdorf. She was my high school algebra teacher. She was tough, but really good. She made me fall in love with math by sharing her secrets to being a great mathematician. I still lean into her teachings. I remember she used to say, “What you do on one side of the equation, you have to do on the other.” I still use this principle in both math and life...it’s all about balance.

Describe an experience where you adapted your approach to resolve a sticky situation.

First, let me just say that, in life, you can do your very best to avoid “sticky” situations but sometimes they simply find you. Once I took a position that was to serve as a stepping stone to another exciting opportunity soon thereafter. However, what I learned very early on was that my new boss also held the same aspirations of wanting that other exciting role. It was a very uncomfortable situation at first... my new boss and I potentially competing for the same job! I felt discouraged since I had left a role that I loved and could see that the assignments in my new position were not going to offer me the developmental opportunities to advance into the other role. I really had to be still and not allow my anger to lead my decisions. I had to uncover what life was asking of me in this situation. In time, I made the choice to make the best of my current role and did some pretty fun and amazing things which provided me other opportunities that I am now very grateful to have. As I reflect on this situation, I learned a valuable life lesson: it is not what happens in life that determines your success; it’s what you make of it.

What is your unique talent?

I don’t know if this is a unique talent or not but my aunt always told me I had a sixth sense. My sense of intuition is extremely strong. I can pick up on people’s energies immediately and often hear the unspoken. This gift has allowed me to develop a very strong emotional intelligence which has served me well in several aspects of my life.

Tell us about your personal style.

Be you! There is nothing more beautiful than people embracing who they really are. While I love fashion especially a fabulous pair of shoes, inner peace coupled with self-assurance and gratitude, are always showstoppers in my book.
Since I travel a lot, I usually I carry floss picks, blotting tissue, and small bottle of cuticle oil in my purse at all times. Clean teeth, matte skin and manicured “looking” nails are a must!

Is there a current book or book you love?

One of my favorite books is Man’s Search for Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl. This book changed me at my core. There are two lessons from this book that I carry with me each day. One is that I have the ability to choose how I want to respond to any situation. Between any stimulus and how I respond to it, I have a choice. So often in life, we react. We allow our primitive responses to take over, like anger or frustration. We don’t take the opportunity to choose how we should respond. In between a stimulus and my response, resides a space of choice. I leverage that now more than ever. The second lesson I cherish is instead of asking, “Why me” when something happens, I now ask, “What is life asking of me in this situation.” This shift in thinking prevents me from dwelling too long in personal sorrow and, instead, helps me to rise above my circumstance and be a better person because of it.

What is your favorite website or fun activity?

My guilty pleasure is good game of Scrabble! I especially love playing it on my iPad against the computer to challenge my skills. I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily the length of a word you use that will render points, it's the quality of the word. How true is that in life as well!

Who inspires you?

My parents are so amazing. They have always been my biggest fans and supporters. They love me unconditionally and have been great role models all of my life. Through good times and in bad they have shown me how to appreciate life and regardless of the situation, to be the very best person I can be.

What’s next for you?

I want to know that as well! I have learned not to plan too much but to lean into what feels right. As for now, I am where I should be from a career standpoint. There’s a lot of work to be done in my current role and when I feel like I’ve completed what I’ve been called to do, I will move on. I am also married with two young children so this role offers me the professional challenge I desire, while also allowing me to be present with my family; which is very much a priority for me. However, I am using this time to think about the next phase my life and how I can contribute to a greater degree.

Margit Burmeister

Margit Burmeister

Kate Hanson

Kate Hanson