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How To Go From Rejection To Business Success

Author and PhD Coyte Cooper joins us to share his own wild transition out of academia. He explains how other PhDs can see rejection as an opportunity and use it to their advantage. Then PhD Yaping Moshier, sMBA, discusses how PhDs can work toward their own industry career in regulatory affairs.


What happens to PhDs who experience rejection?


According to Coyte Cooper, that depends on their own perspective and initiative


This week on the Cheeky Scientist Radio Show, we are joined by Coyte Cooper, PhD and former professor, bestselling author, executive coach, Tedx Speaker, and expert in personal leadership. Coyte will share how he transitioned out of academia, faced and recovered from rejection, and used it to build ultimate business success as an entrepreneur. 

We’ll also be joined by Yaping Moshier, PhD, Regulatory Affairs Coordinator at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Yaping will share her industry transition experience and how other PhDs can move into a similar role.


Skip ahead to:
00:11:08 Show Me The Data
00:30:02 Coyte Cooper, PhD
00:56:06 Yaping Moshier, PhD


About Our Guests

Dr. Coyte Cooper is a bestselling author, international speaker and high performance coach who is one of the premier experts in the area of leadership and maximizing human potential.  A former NCAA Division I All-American, college professor, and the CEO of Earn the Right Incorporated, Dr. Cooper has worked closely with thousands of proactive professionals the past few years to develop a unique transformational system that helps audience members radically enhance their clarity, focus, ENERGY, motivation, passion and results on a consistent daily basis.

Dr. Cooper has poured into creating transformational books, coaching programs, keynote talks, and trainings that are designed to help people flip the script on negative patterns so they can maximize their potential.


Yaping Moshier, PhD, sMBA, is a business-minded clinical research professional currently working as a regulatory affairs coordinator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. She supports investigator-initiated trials from the start-up to close-out, oversees compliance mandated by national and institutional regulatory authorities, and serves as a liaison between internal and external stakeholders.

Yaping completed her PhD training in Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota. After 5 years of postdoctoral training and during her 19-month career gap, she grows interest and passion in clinical research and medical affairs. She continues extending her network with medical affairs professionals in oncology, neurology and metabolic syndrome therapeutic areas to propel her career growth.


Key Takeaways

  1. Hardships can be opportunities – it’s all a matter of perspective. Find the opportunity hidden in adversity.
  2. Use adversity as a lesson – quickly mobilize by responding to challenges with decisive planning.
  3. In regulatory affairs, you can expect to collect a lot of information from different parties to make sound decisions about important company issues.


How To Go From Rejection To Business Success: A Conversation With Coyte Cooper, PhD


Isaiah: Let’s talk about your biggest rejection. Maybe you can start with that darkest hour when you actually found out… What led up to that? Tell us about the feelings that you had.

Coyte: So I was being trained as a professor, and I heard horror stories about tenure. Yet for some strange reason, I never imagined that it would come knocking at my door. I always thought, I’m going to show up, work hard, and put everything I can into my academic work. And I did that. I mean, I worked really hard. The decision about my tenure was delayed for months, but everyone kept telling me it was fine, that everything was good… Then I got a message from my chair, and he said he wanted to meet with me. I thought this was the moment where they were going to give me good news. I was ready to celebrate and go buck-wild with my family. And I go into my chair’s office and he says,

“Hey Coyte, how’re you doing?”

And I say, “Well, I’m good.”

He says, “I have something I need to talk to you about.” He had this envelope in his hand. He sat me down, we set up his conference table, and he said, “I just want to thank you for everything you’ve done for our department. You’ve been a valuable citizen. You’ve just been amazing the last six years.”

Now, I’m an energetic guy. I’m enthusiastic. So I cut it in and I’m like, “Man, thank you. I’ve loved being here. Everybody’s been amazing. It’s been so special to me.”

And then I looked in his eyes. I could tell something changed. He had tears in his eyes and he slid forward the envelope and he goes, “Coyte… I’m so sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you’ve been denied tenure.”

My thoughts weren’t even the first thing that responded. It was my emotions. I felt like my stomach had just dropped out from under me. My throat just closed off. I was having a hard time catching a breath, and my face was flushed, and then my thoughts caught up. I remember thinking, What does this mean for my family? We just bought a house. I have two young kids. Our plan was to be here. This was like a dream job for me in my field.

My second thought was, Am I damaged goods now? Am I going to be able to get another job? It’s so crazy how those thoughts pop into your mind. But I just wanted to get out of there. My chair was talking about some other options where they would keep me on, not tenure-line, but there at the university. I just wanted to leave…

Isaiah: So that was the trigger for you to start your own business. But how did you get bitten by the “entrepreneurial bug” that bites so many PhDs? What made you want to take control and start your own business?

Coyte: The strange thing about all this is that even before I was denied tenure, I had urges to go out and write books and work more with people. The idea of going out and like she striving to change people’s lives, and to do it on a broader scale – there was always like a desire to teach and inspire people…


Regulatory Affairs Coordinator Career Track: A Conversation With Yaping Moshier, PhD


Isaiah: Yaping, can you describe your current role to us? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Yaping: In general, I support investigator-initiated studies. Sometimes, I’m invited to an IAT committee meeting to listen to any MDs propose their own studies. Once one of those is approved by the IT committee, I–as a regulatory specialist–will make sure everything is planned out to fulfill all the regulatory requirements. I also help them to develop protocols that can be carried out by their study team. And if the study has a pharma partner, then I contact them, and if the study is conducting an investigation on new drugs, then I am also their spokesperson…

Isaiah: So it sounds like a lot of coordination, clearly, from the job type. But a lot of documentation too. What is the field of regulatory affairs to you–now that you’re in it–versus what you thought it was before getting hired? What are some of the surprising things that you do that maybe the average PhD wouldn’t realize?

Yaping: I used to think this job was more on the manufacturing side, like it was all documentation. Luckily, it’s not. I am an investigator, and I am also responsible for sponsors. There are a lot of decision-making points – project managers might come to me and need help dealing with violations or deviations from some protocol. Or if certain records need to be submitted to the FDA for regulatory review, I get to decide what needs to be done. So I collect a lot of information from different parties involved to make a sound decision…


** for the full interviews, check out the video above

To get advanced access to the full length versions of these podcasts, as well as access to our live training webinars, exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the waitlist for the Cheeky Scientist Association now.


Isaiah Hankel

Chief Executive Officer at Cheeky Scientist
Isaiah Hankel holds a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology. An expert in the biotechnology industry, he specializes in helping other PhDs transition into cutting-edge industry career tracks.

Isaiah believes--from personal experience--that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life, it’s a clear sign that you need to make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.

Isaiah is an internationally recognized Fortune 500 consultant, CEO of Cheeky Scientist, and author of the straight-talk bestsellers Black Hole Focus and The Science of Intelligent Achievement.
Isaiah Hankel


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