Hello, I’m a Senior Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Specialist

Crystal R. Davis, Sr. Specialist, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Alnylam

What attracted you to a career in the life sciences?

I’ve always had an interest in science and medicine from as young as I can recall. By the 3rd grade of elementary school, I was sure I wanted to be a nurse to follow in my aunts’ shoes. Before joining Alnylam (my first job in the life sciences industry), I worked for nearly a decade at Mass General Hospital in the Neuroendocrinology Dept. as an administrator, supporting various principal investigators on grant funding from the National Institute of Health and other agencies. During my undergrad, I was on a health career track in pursuit of going to medical school. Although I didn’t become a nurse as I thought in the 3rd grade, nor did I continue the path of going to medical school, my innate passion to help save patients’ lives is what attracted me to a career in the life sciences industry. 

What was your ‘front door’ to the industry and how did your education decisions put you on a career path to where you are right now?

I started off on a health career track as I wanted to become an MD. Halfway into my undergrad, circumstances in my life forced me to reexamine my goals and I decided to shift gears in my education and transfer to the College of Business where I later earned my B.S in Management. For over 20+ years, I’ve had several roles working as an administrator. After leaving Mass General, I took on a short-term work assignment as an Executive Assistant at Northeastern University, supporting a Dean in the College of Science. I loved my role as an executive assistant. Knowing that my role was short-term at Northeastern, I started looking for opportunities as an executive assistant outside of the college. A recruiter I had been working with encouraged me to think about positions in the life science industry. I soon landed my first role at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals as an executive assistant supporting the Head of Regulatory Affairs.  I recently switched to taking on a full-time role with the Chief DE&I Officer at Alnylam.

As a career rather than simply a job, what opportunities do you see for next steps on your path?

I am extremely grateful for my career and the role that I currently serve in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as a Sr. Specialist. This is just the beginning for me though! I am pursuing additional certifications in DE&I and HR. In addition, I am working towards building a health and wellness platform for colleagues in the industry. As we all strive to save patients’ lives every day, we cannot forget about taking care of ourselves first.

What career and education advice would you like to give to someone considering a career in the life sciences?

Go for it! There are countless career opportunities in the life sciences. Whether you are just starting off post high school or a seasoned professional, don’t allow fear or uncertainty to get in the way of taking a chance. There are numerous workforce development programs that support entry level opportunities in the life sciences. Try it out! For seasoned professionals looking to make a career change, working with a reputable recruiter/agency can be extremely beneficial. In addition, take advantage of attending networking engagements. You never know who you will meet and how that right connection lands you your dream job in the life sciences.