While at Pfizer, a career coach suggested improvisation classes to Jim Tosone to help him feel more comfortable in unplanned situations. That suggestion led Jim, a 30-year veteran of the Pfizer Global Business Technology group, to a completely different post-Pfizer career than he had planned.
Time at Pfizer
Jim joined Pfizer’s NYC headquarters after earning his master’s in mathematics from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1976. He began as a Systems Analyst for the Roerig Division and eventually held a variety of management positions in the U.S. and Global Business Technology Groups.
Within the Business Technology group, Jim led teams supporting sales, marketing, drug development, regulatory, finance, and human resources. “I had one of my proudest moments at Pfizer in this role leading the team that created the first set of safety standards for clinical trials across three global Pfizer groups: U.S. Pharmaceuticals, International Pharmaceuticals, and Central Research.”
Jim then transitioned to market manager in San Antonio, Texas. He was the liaison between Headquarters Sales and the local sales district. He helped create a successful Health Literacy Conference and Program in San Antonio that made health education more accessible for San Antonio’s various populations.
Improv Takes CenterStage
During Jim’s last role as director, Healthcare Informatics, his interest in improvisation was ignited. Jim signed up for a 48-week training program offered by The Second City, the world’s leading organization for ”improv” performance.
“The program took me out of my comfort zone; it was life changing,” said Jim. “I soon realized that improv is fundamentally about making the team successful – not about creating a comedy sketch. You have to have the mindset to creatively explore ideas, rather than finding fault with them.” After graduating from the program, Jim co-founded the improv group Demented But Mobile. He began conducting Applied Improvisation workshops in the Marketing, Talent Management, and Business Technology groups at Pfizer. His goal was to incorporate improv principles in everyday work, such as thinking on your feet, working as a team, being empathetic, daring to take risks, making mistakes and being in the moment.
“In my later years at Pfizer, I began to fully appreciate that our real legacy was not the applications and technologies we deployed, but how we enabled our colleagues to fully realize their potential to help Pfizer and patients,” said Jim. “That’s what makes the Applied Improv work so rewarding.”
After retiring in 2010, Jim created the Improv Means Business™ program. He travels across the country leading workshops. “Improv changed my life, and I want to expose as many people as I can to the benefits it can have for them—both in their personal and professional lives.”
Jim also has a strong interest in classical guitar. He published Classical Guitarists: Conversation, a book featuring first person interviews with popular classical guitarists and composers. He was also a contributing editor and staff reviewer for Guitar Review, where he wrote feature and interview stories as well as CD and concert reviews.
Jim is also thrilled to have more time to spend with his wife, Lynne and daughter, Austen.
“Pfizer was a great company,” said Jim. “Being part of the changes that took place in both technology and in healthcare during that time, and the impact it made on the lives of patients, was both exciting and gratifying.”