Holly Caplan: Workplace issues expert, career coach & author

My NativeAdVantage:


Holly Caplan is a workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World.

What do I do best?

I love to create! I’m always thinking of a new project, new business, or new topic for an article.  My newest creative project is with my 7-year-old daughter. Together, we assembled a television news desk, and wrote 3 episodes so she could practice delivering the news to kids. Creating is very rewarding, and even more so when I get to share it with her.

What makes me the best version of myself?

Genuinely caring about the people around me professionally and personally keeps me fulfilled. Having been in management for most of my career I found that focusing on my team’s development and goals produced high rewards and loyalty that has strengthened over the years. 

What are my aspirations?

Personally, my aspiration is to empower other women through writing, sharing stories and encouraging support. I have felt the need to do this my entire life. I want other women to be able to relate, find strength and courage in their own personal pursuits

My Biggest Success?

Having my daughter. I waited until I was 40 years old to become a mother. Because I put my career first for so many years, having a baby was not on my radar for quite some time. Having her was my biggest success. Raising her is the cherry on top.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Writing a book on my experiences about being a female in the male dominated corporate world.  Writing it was fun, cathartic, but I also had to re-live a lot of the not-so-fun moments. I also had to realize that by putting my experiences in print that I was making myself vulnerable to those who would not understand or criticize. All of this was far more challenging than I ever realized. But, I have learned to be my authentic self and own my life.

My Motto?

Intuition is your secret superpower.

I have become aware that listening to my gut professionally and personally is the key. Intuition has assisted me in making decisions at home and at work, and I have learned to not go against it. It is a superpower that will help you navigate your own path and on your own terms.  

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My friends are my role models. Each of them fulfills me in a certain way, and I always consider them when making life decisions or looking for direction as I trust them wholly. Their thoughts and input impact my life trajectory.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Each of my favorite destinations parallel a personal need. Carmel Valley for calmness, New York City for inspiration and New Orleans for spirituality. Louisiana is my home state, and nothing measures up to the feeling of home combined with culture, people and character.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Peet’s coffee. Every morning.  Gotta do it, or life doesn’t happen.
Secondly, my purse is essential to my survival and is always filled with hair bows, random Happy Meal toys and gum – oh and keys I can never find. Lastly, grapefruit Deep Eddy’s Vodka with a splash of soda. Every night.

My Current Passions?

At the moment I’m most passionate about writing and promoting women.  I want to create an environment for growth, trust and evolution. I feel like the time is now, and part of my responsibility while on this earth is to contribute to the future.

My NativeAdVice:

How did you get into the industry?

I knew early on in my career that I wanted to get into medical sales, but, I also knew that would not come without business-to-business sales experience first. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies typically want candidates to have the B2B experience and training. The skills attained in B2B will be your foundation and will carry you from job to job in the medical world.

Any emerging industry trends?

Hospitals are not as new technology friendly as they once were. Now, there are a lot more requirements to bring a new device or drug into a hospital system. I think this is good and bad. Good in that having stronger administrative structure is important, but on the flipside, it presents a barrier to getting patients in need treated.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

The biggest challenge I see in my field is how hospitals view money. When I first got into medical sales, there were not many restrictions on how hospitals spent money on their patients in the way of new technology and devices. In recent years I have seen a big shift to primarily a financial model within hospital systems.  Standardization and consolidation of existing business has become more important than acquiring new products and innovation.  Hospitals want to know about the economic model more so than what a product will do for patients.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

Medical companies need to be able to speak to this financial component that hospitals are requiring. This requires change from the medical industry and changing focus on their current sales, marketing and technology approach. In my experience, not all companies are set up for this new business model, but need to adapt so hospital and industry goals are aligned.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

Medical device and pharmaceutical companies have been historically plentiful. More and more of these companies are buying each other to bring their worlds together. This gives them more financial and clinical support to reach company goals.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

I have been involved in several new technology launches, but one that stands out is a medical device specifically for patients with liver cancer and there had been none like it before. We were able to help patients with no other options get treated, have a fast recovery period and a good result. We took this technology from zero to a multi million dollar business – all the while helping people liver longer.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

The most difficult moments for me in my industry have always been about a company being reactive instead of proactive, (I’m sure this applies to several industries) when resolving problems or issues.  I was once in a situation when a company I worked for had a large backorder of products that were standard in medical procedures. This caused drama, as clinicians didn’t have some of the basic tools needed to care for patients.  The company was slow to respond and somewhat in denial, which lead to instability and damaged the infrastructure of the organization. From this I learned that even a well-established company could be poor at strategizing and managing problems. I also learned in this situation that despite challenges, you always treat your people well and stand up for your customers to get through the tough times.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

What doctors, hospitals and patients will get from the medical device/pharmaceutical industry is the ability to give and receive the best care. Industry brings them the latest data, newest devices and innovative procedures.

How do you motivate others?

I inspire others by focusing on their strengths, accomplishments and knowing that they are contributing to making people healthy and are paving the way for technology.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Start in business-to-business sales. Know that this is the bridge to a medical sales role. When you do land your first medical sales job be sure to quickly set your goals and build your resume!!