August 15, 2017

Purdue Profiles: Candice Lange

Candice Lange Candice Lange, director of the Jane Brock-Wilson Women in Management Center in the Krannert School of Management. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons) Download image

Candice Lange earned her bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Purdue. After a few years of working as a research supervisor at Eli Lilly and Co., she received an MBA from Indiana University, moved into higher management roles at Lilly, and eventually launched new programs in work-life integration and diversity. As her career and family grew, developing people and constructing programs for women became the focus of her career.

Now, Lange is back at Purdue. She serves as the director of the Jane Brock-Wilson Women in Management Center in the Krannert School of Management.

What does your average day look like?

The days are busy, but very rewarding. Because our center is new, we’re starting a number of new programs at the same time. This fall we will be launching a new undergraduate course, an alumnae conference and a business camp for young women in high school. We are very excited about our new course, Navigating Gender in the Workplace, and we will have a lot of interaction with students. I’m also an advisor for the Women in Business organization, and we’re starting a new organization this fall called Men as Allies.

How did your work at Eli Lilly direct you into the role of managing women in the workplace?

For several years at Lilly, I worked in the areas of toxicology and clinical research. My career began to grow into leadership roles with more responsibility at the same time that my family was growing. Along with others, I became an advocate for Lilly to develop more programs focusing on work-life integration. I subsequently transferred to HR management in a newly created role to build a work-life program, which included building child care centers and launching a wide array of new supportive programs and policies. My responsibilities grew to include building and leading diversity strategies and initiatives, including an expanded women’s leadership program. I represented Lilly on a number of global task forces and leadership councils to effect awareness and change on these important issues.

How does your work at Purdue influence the lives of women in the workplace?

There are exciting opportunities on the horizon for women, but there are also some persistent gender-based challenges. A recent McKinsey report stated that in major corporations, only 37 percent of first-level management promotions are made to women. These percentages continue to decrease for subsequent promotions to higher levels. Excellent researchers at Krannert and in other institutions are studying and identifying the obstacles that lead to results such as these. By bringing business leaders and researchers together, we can develop new strategies to address these persistent issues. This research-to-practice model is an important part of our work. We can then share best practices with students, alumnae and leaders in the business community.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

If we can predict typical obstacles to advancement and equip women with the skills to navigate these obstacles, we can make a real difference in helping them reach their goals. At the same time, we want men to be partners as well. As leaders, both men and women need to understand gender dynamics in order to effectively lead their teams, develop talent and create an environment where everyone can contribute their best work to the mission of the organization.

I enjoy helping people reach their goals and make a difference. It is something that I have found rewarding since my very first supervisor job. To be able to work in a university setting and make a difference for talented young people starting their careers, is an exciting and fulfilling opportunity.

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders, kschnied@purdue.edu


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