Working at Genentech: An insiders story

South San Francisco, CA   April 24, 2016   by Nicole Pieretti-Rael 

Nicole Pieretti-Rael made a career change and finds Genentech the perfect fit

Nicole Pieretti-Rael made a career change and finds Genentech the perfect fit

PREFACE: As South San Francisco is home to the Biotech we have asked our followers to share their experiences of working in this field in our City. Naturejobs Career Expo will be taking place on  April 27th in San Francisco. We hope more of our neighbors will attend this FREE one day event which might just lead them to their dream job, as Ms. Pieretti-Rael has found. 


Working at Genentech: by Nicole Pieretti-Rael

What can I say about Genentech that hasn’t already been said? You have heard from our CEO, Colleagues and Patients talk about this amazing company and what they have done and what they will continue to do, but you have never heard from a local, born and raised South San Franciscan.


Growing up in South City, Biotechnology was something people didn’t understand, like most new things. As a kid, you heard about Genentech and knew it was “by the water”, but never paid to much attention to the small building(s) as you were zooming by on your bike.


Fast forward 18 years later and time to make a career decision, I wanted to go into dentistry. I attended Bryman College in San Francisco, and 2 years later I received my RDA (Registered Dental Assistant License). I saw many changes not only in my city, but in the dental field over the next 20 years. I truly enjoyed working in the dental field, my patients where amazing and it was a great job, but I always felt that I didn’t have a career. As every year passed, my husband would say “Apply with Genentech” for he knew I was not satisfied. My answer would always be “Why would they hire me? I went to school to learn about teeth, not biology.” Amazing as my husband is, he would come back with “They do more then Biology!”


March of 2015 I had finally decided enough is enough. I have been commuting for 20 years as far as Danville and Stanford. I was done! I wanted to be closer to home and my children. I wanted to work in the town I live. With a huge leap of faith and the attitude of “Well, what’s the worst that can happen”, I finally submitted my resume to Genentech. Low and behold, 2 hours later I received an email requesting a phone interview. Next, was a panel interview which lead me to study 29 pages of notes in regards to the history of Genentech (39 years of information that I crammed into my brain) to make sure I was fully prepared for any question that I was asked. With in 4 hours of my panel interview, I was hired with Genentech via Pro-Unlimited, a contracting agency. I was floored. That was the beginning of my career. I knew the moment I walked through these doors, there would be numerous opportunities, and I was right! Within 3 months I transferred departments and that’s when I found “my department.” I was hired as a FTE (Full Time Employee – blue badge) with Genentech and promoted to a Management Associate. Yes, I will admit, I shed a tear in my bosses office. I knew how hard it is to become FTE and I knew the gamble I was taking when I left the dental field. 1 year later, would I do it all again? In a heart beat. I never looked back, I never had any regrets leaving the dental field. I knew this is where I belong. I have been asked “Why did it take you 20 years to apply?” My answer, “It just wasn’t my time. Everything happens for a reason and now is my time.”


Everyday I wake up, I am thankful for my job and the company I work for. I may not be a scientist, or work directly with the patients, but every aspect of every one’s job here has an impact on the medications we develop. We are a company with huge dreams and aspirations. We push the boundaries, collaborate with our colleagues and give back to our community. We are “doing now what patients need next.” I am very fortunate to grow up, live, work and volunteer in such a wonderful City.


There’s only 1 real answer I give when I am asked this question: Why do you work for Genentech? My answer: “Why wouldn’t YOU.”



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Michelle sieling
Michelle sieling
7 years ago

Very inspiring. I have wanted to work at Genentech for a very long time. I have applied many times but with no response. I am a very qualified and experience EA and was wondering if you have any suggestions?

Thank you for your wonderful article.




[…] Recently South San Francisco resident Nicole Pieretti-Rael wrote an inspiring essay describing her career journey after making a big change from working directly with patients as a dental hygienist to her current position as a Manager Associate at Genentech. (To read Nicole’s full essay CLICK HERE) […]