Determined. Daring. Disciplined. Develop Others. These are fitting labels of Taryn Conway, and essential trademarks that account for the extraordinary arc of her career. Fresh out of high school in Calabasas, Calif., Ms. Conway was on a path towards enrolling at the University of Arizona. Her intuition, which has been a prominent and powerful life force, informed her decision to bravely change course and follow her dream.
Ms. Conway had always aspired to attend the University of California-Santa Barbara. Despite a previous rejection letter, she was determined to make that a reality. With thoughtful deliberation, she polished her application materials and boldly arranged to meet the UC Santa Barbara dean of admissions. Within a week of this meeting, she was notified of her acceptance. Her daring determination, ability to rely on her gut, and resourcefulness were reinforced by her success.
After a successful career in the Ophthalmology industry, it was this daring determination that facilitated the fulfillment of her long-time ambition to work in aesthetic medicine where she is now vice president of marketing for Revance Therapeutics.
Ms. Conway describes her present role as the architect of marketing strategies and product launches to be “the perfect position in the facial injectable market, doing exactly what I wanted for the next stage of my career. The chance to get in on the ground level of product innovation, build a commercial team and add meaningful value both to the company and the aesthetics industry was a huge opportunity that I didn’t dare refuse.”
Building on her 16-year tenure as a leader of Eye Care at Allergan, Inc., Ms. Conway has effectively deployed her sophisticated toolkit to the aesthetics space. Whether managing a blockbuster drug like Restasis prescription eye drops or introducing a new aesthetic neurotoxin brand like DAXI, she notes that the same fundamentals apply – namely, to fulfill an unmet need, generate consumer demand and collaborate closely with physician-customers to successfully integrate new products into their clinical practice.
“My dad is an attorney who taught me early on the importance of developing vital relationships and engaging with clients as mutually-beneficial partners – well beyond transactional dealings,” says Ms. Conway, who thrives on the intimacy of growing relationships with kindred spirits. “These lessons are why I find assembling a group of talented experts and turning them into a cohesive team to be so adventurous and enjoyable.”
Throughout Ms. Conway’s personal and professional journey, effective team building has emerged as the secret sauce of her success. Whether the president of her high school, nanny for an A-list celebrity in chic Montecito, medical affairs director, sales manager or marketing vice president, Ms. Conway has recognized that her leadership role relies not only on hiring talented individuals, but perhaps more importantly, on uniting team members with the same vision and inspiring them to bring that vision to life.
Accordingly, Ms. Conway encourages her team members to:
• Trust the process and one another
• Embrace passion and commitment
• Maintain efficient and open lines of communication
• Maximize diverse capabilities
• Stay connected to ensure growth and the success of the entire organization
Ultimately, she believes you have to lead by example and empower your team to give the extra effort, make smart decisions and take a risk. “It is all about shining the spotlight on the group – advocating for the team’s needs and talents, channeling energy and creativity, and recognizing members who go the extra mile,” she notes.
When it comes to grooming future leaders in aesthetics, especially female influencers, Ms. Conway recounts meeting her very first mentor. “I was starting out in sales in the dry eye care business when I met an ophthalmologist who was a Cornea Fellow at the University of Irvine. What immediately distinguished this doctor from her colleagues were three traits that I realized would be crucial to my future success: her fierce determination, tremendous self-confidence and unbridled enthusiasm. When we reconnected a couple years later, we had each advanced our career. I was head of marketing for Restasis, and the fellowship-trained expert had become a very influential cornea surgeon. She became the TV face of Restasis, and our team was credited with a wildly successful launch.”
Ms. Conway’s experience as a mentee was formative and provided her countless benefits and abundant satisfaction. Not only did she receive brilliant advice and guidance, especially solving tough issues or sorting out a life-work balance, she gained firsthand experience of the doctor’s passion, her courage and her extraordinary way with patients and peers, observing the nuances and subtleties of a superstar specialist.
One of Ms. Conway’s proudest accomplishments was starting a women’s leadership society in ophthalmology called VIEW – Visionary Insights for Eye Care Women. The group’s agenda was broad, including studying historical trends in female wage earnings, examining the different goals of women and men practitioners, and defining the evolving profile of eye care. Another career highlight for Ms. Conway was being elected to serve as vice president of Ophthalmic World Leaders (OWL), whose mission is to advance diversity in leadership. She was on the cusp of assuming the OWL presidency when her career morphed to the realm of aesthetics at Revance.
Looking back, Ms. Conway realizes and appreciates that she has been blessed with a great family and a solid socioeconomic background. She also knows that during the past two decades, she has had the good fortune to work with amazingly inspirational women who have been her champions and role models. They have been business executives, childhood friends and peers. These mentors have had a meaningful impact on her by demonstrating how to inspire bright people to come along with them, and how to create pathways of inclusion and diversity at work, on teams and in life.
With a successful transition to the medical aesthetic industry under her belt, Ms. Conway is excited to focus her efforts on cultivating the next generation of female leaders daring to shape the aesthetic industry.
Understanding that success is no accident. Ms. Conway advises young women to stand up, speak out and make a difference. “I was always the one who stayed after a lecture or meeting to ask a question or arrange a follow-up contact. And, more often than not, it created possibilities and opened doors not just in the moment, but for years to come.”
Ms. Conway has three pieces of advice for women launching their career today:
1. Be vocal – with a good filter. Talk to people. Ask to engage. Sitting on the sidelines will not make things happen or bring about change.
2. Trust your gut. Believe in yourself and listen to your intuition. While not based on reason and analysis, your gut takes into account your experience, senses, conscience and the ability to take a calculated risk with the freedom to push ahead.
3. Be daring. Be different and be disruptive. Take the road less traveled. This is the mindset of pioneers, revolutionaries, game changers and heroic individuals who are known and respected for their contributions and impact on the world around them.
“At this point in my life, I would like to pay it forward,” says Ms. Conway. “Come introduce yourself at the next conference, send me an email about a job opportunity, share an intriguing idea – I'm excited to motivate others and provide guidance to the next generation of leaders.”
Good to know: Fun facts about Taryn Conway
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
My trainer Marla shows up at my house early. So I answer the door and get psyched for my workout routine!
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Don’t make decisions based on those who will be disappointed by that choice; instead base your decision on whether you will disappoint yourself.
Q: Name a product or service you love so much that you’d happily be that company’s spokesperson?
Peloton! I’m ready! I’m a huge fan of their mission, their marketing and how they have transformed the health and technology world.
Q: What brings you joy?
I just added a puppy to my home, and I never imagined the amount of love, joy and disruption she brings into my life.