Transition Success Story: Danka Kozareva

– Hi Danka, how are you? – Hello, very good Isaiah. Good to see you. – Good to see you and thanks for joining. Uh, appreciate you being here. – Yes I’m very very
happy to be here as well. – Yeah, now as you know we’re opening up enrollment into the
association again soon, and we like to talk to associates with PhDs like you who have transitioned into industry through the program. So again, thanks for being here. Maybe you can start by introducing yourself in the position
and company you’re with now. – Um yeah, so uh as I
said my name is Dankhar and currently I work as a laboratory technician for Transformation Island. This is a small contract research organization that are strictly tasting for big pharmaceuticals, and the headquarters are in London. – Fantastic. Well congrats again. – Thank you. – You’re successful now, you’ve
successfully transitioned. But I want to rewind to
before you transitioned. I know you had some
challenges in your job search, and I wanted to ask you
about those challenges. Both the technical challenges like your resume, LinkedIn, et cetera. But also the mindset challenges. Not knowing where to start, rejection. Can you talk about both of
those challenges for me? – Yes exactly. So this is approximately when I came across the Cheeky Scientist and I wasn’t a member yet but I got, yeah I just started following on Facebook and I was receiving a lot of really useful free information like the city guide, the transferable skills guide, and mainly one of the people on the team was extremely responsive to my emails. She was very interested
in my personal situation and was trying to work things out with me. She then sent me the industry guide which was really really helpful, because I had no idea what positions are out there or, indeed, where to start. What does a senior scientist stand for, and what responsibilities
will that entail? Things like that, or even just the different sectors
that I could explore. – Yeah. – Yes. – So you started to gain some clarity over what was possible. That there were actually
a lot of jobs out there. You felt heard and you started
to piece together the parts. So then you joined the association. Can you think back to what were some of the early kind of “ah ha moments” you had when you started
going through the materials? – Um the main one would be the networking because this in my case proved
resultable to transitioning. I think I always
intuitively would have known about the hidden job market but, or the iceberg of how
jobs get distributed, but it was materialized in the modules that I followed through the association. So yes, but again the main
one is really the networking. I would not have thought that this is as important as it turned out to be. And I would not have also
known how to go about it without the tips I received
within the association. – That’s great. So the network is
obviously something you get access to when you join the
association, a private group. – Oh sure. – It’s hard for people
to understand how the private group could be helpful
until they’ve been in it. How would you describe the private group in terms of helpfulness,
responsiveness, substance? – I mean, it’s all there. It’s just a matter of
how active a person is, and how much use they
want to make out of it. Because most of the answers or even lessons to be learned are there. There’s so many stories. I actually only shared my story today. Um yeah, there’s all these stories and different experiences people share. They always teach you whether it’s about interview questions or about how to handle social negotiation situations. It is all out there. People are very genuine
and they’re very open. So it’s a unique group
of like-minded people. I often think how amazing it is that you’ve created it but also how the team behind it that maintains it now, because it’s so important that there is always somebody reading
the messages and the queries and yeah, everything
basically gets responded. – Last question, – Or, everything receives a response. – Yeah, no you said it perfectly. Last question is: I always like to ask did you have any
reservations before joining, and if so, how were they
alleviated after joining? – So that’s a bit of a funny story. I personally didn’t because I felt already such a connection with Mary. And I felt I was receiving
so many resources. I was sometimes thinking, “Okay where is the catch?” but I thought, “Well maybe there isn’t a catch.” It’s just a great platform. My partner, he did have some reservations. So this is quite funny. He looked into the association when in Rome and he came, but I think my mind was already set. So yeah, I guess maybe his
reservations lifted after. But no, for me it was even more I suppose than what I expected. – Thank you very much for sharing. We look forward to watching
your career trajectory. – Thank you! Thanks, bye.


  1. This is very helpful for me. I am a PhD in Pharmacy student and I am interested to learn more about possible jobs for me after graduation. I also updated my LinkedIn and trying to grow my network. Thank you Danka for the inspiration and to Cheeky Scientist for making videos. 🙂

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