Learning and Development Business Lead
If you excel in your job, have a clear focus and drive and own your development plan, then the pharmaceutical world is your oyster. Arabella
What do you do?
My title is Learning and Development Business Practice Lead. My main responsibility is to ensure critical compliance training requirements are met across our organisation in the UK.
What does your typical day involve?
There is no typical day – which is what I love about my new role. If I am not meeting with lots of different people in the business to learn and understand what their critical compliance training requirements are, then I am planning and scoping out the training projects that are a result of these meetings or delivering the training on them.
Do you work mostly on your own or as part of team?
I am part of a Learning and Development team, but everyone has their own roles, responsibilities and remit. We realise though that for each individual to succeed, team working is a very important part of that success.
How long have you been in your current role?
What qualifications and experience do you have?
I went to the University of Natal in South Africa and have a BSc in Biological Sciences, majoring in Psychology.
When and why did you decide on a career in the pharmaceutical industry?
I decided to go into the pharmaceutical industry in my 2nd year of university. I had family members in the industry and they highly recommended that I look into it. From speaking with sales representatives in the industry at the time it just sounded like such a rewarding and fulfilling role. I really wanted to be a part of making a difference to people’s lives and I thought that having a scientific and psychology background would put me in good stead for the role.
How has your career developed since you left school, college or university?
I became a sales representative in South Africa as soon as I left University in 1998. I then moved back to the UK and worked as a sales representative. After a few years I started working as a Sales Trainer at head office, training product and selling skills. I then became a Sales Manager and held this role for 5 years. In 2010, I left the pharmaceutical Industry and had a complete change, where I set up a business consultancy specialising in franchise companies – so completely different! I really enjoyed my time learning new skills and knowledge, but I just missed the pharmaceutical industry too much. I re-joined the pharmaceutical industry in 2013 as an e-detailing representative to gain insight into what I believe is a real growth area in the industry. I got my new role as Business Practice Lead in April 2014.
Do you think additional qualifications or experience would be an advantage for someone entering the industry now? What might be valuable?
I think a solid science background is important, but I do think any other business background is advantageous as there are a lot of transferable skills that can be utilised in the pharmaceutical industry.
What is it like socially where you work?
It’s brilliant - Everyone is so friendly, like a big extended family.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Being on the launch team for a large product launch conference.
What possibilities are there for your career in the future?
Anything I put my mind to! I firmly believe that you should drive your own development and if you excel in your job have a clear focus and drive and own your development plan, then the pharmaceutical world is your oyster.
What do you think are the most important skills for someone in your role to have?
Embracing change, being adaptable, innovation, and excellent interpersonal skills.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone seeking a career in the pharmaceutical industry?
Take time to research the industry, speak to and research as many people as you can in varying roles so you really understand it.