ASCO Connection

July 2017

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The Art of Networking: Advice for the Oncologist in Training By Graham T. Watson, MD I t was Friday night of the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. I planned to meet a friend, another second-year heme-onc fellow, at a "free drink thing," as she called it. I sheepishly entered the hotel bar, made a nametag at the insis- tence of the greeter, and started edg- ing my way through the crowd. I finally found my friend talking to a middle- aged man in an expensive-looking suit. She introduced us and his first question seemed like the natural one: "Where are you from?" I answered, "Virginia," and before I knew it, he smoothly piv- oted to introduce me to someone I "had to meet." It was Dr. Mark Fleming. I didn't know it at the time, but in that moment, I had stepped into the most important job interview of my young life. Mark is an oncologist at Virginia Oncology Associates (VOA) in the Tidewater area of Virginia. We talked briefly about "work stuff," and quickly moved on to discuss our families and a shared hobby, golf. Simply put, we hit it off. He gave me his card and I gave him mine. In this 15-minute conversa- tion, Mark and I each learned some- thing very valuable ā€”"This is a person I could see myself working with." Nonetheless, I didn't know much about Norfolk, VA, and I was still deciding between a career in academics versus private practice. Beyond that, I could not imagine that there would be a job opportunity for my wife, a pediatric oncologist, in Norfolk. With so many unknowns, I was skeptical that this would go anywhere. 48ā€‚Iā€‚07.2017 TRAINEE & EARLY-CAREER l Graham T. Watson, MD Institution: Chief fellow, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Division of Hematology & Oncology; medical oncologist and hematologist, Virginia Oncology Associates (as of July 2017) Member since: 2014 ASCO activities: ASCO Trainee Council, ASCO University Personalized Learning Dashboard Review Panel

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