GSK Head of Clinical Support moves from academia to corporate

GSK Head of Clinical Support moves from academia to corporate

 January 28, 2020

Head of Clinical Support Nikki has been working at GSK since 1989 when she started as a Research Scientist in RNA Technologies in Greenford.

Since then, she has enjoyed huge career progression, moving into team leadership roles in DNA Sequencing and then the Molecular Target Analysis team until she became a Clinical Study Specialist and was promoted to Head, Clinical Support for UK & Ireland Pharmaceuticals. She now manages a team of Clinical Study Associates to ensure early and late phase clinical trials are conducted to company and international requirements.

Below, Nikki shares insight into her work at GSK and why she benefits from the company's supportive workplace culture.

What do you like most about working at GSK?

When you work here, what strikes you is just how focused people are on getting the job done. There’s a very supportive environment here. We all pull together to get the project off the ground and it’s important to make the right connections and agreements. Once the connections are made, teams will bend over backwards and work as hard as possible to get things moving and make the project a success. I really like that approach.

How would you describe your role?

My role is very interactive. I talk to people around the world almost every day. Nearly all my communication is via Skype and email, and we work across time zones and company divides – we basically work together as one big team, whether it’s internal people or strategic partners outside GSK. I sit in an open-plan environment, alongside people who have varying skills and work on different projects, which is incredibly valuable.

Do you require any adaptation or support for your work? If so, how has GSK responded?

When I started out working in the lab, some meetings were a bit of a challenge because of my deafness. I found myself lip-reading and then following up later, although sometimes close colleagues sat in meetings and typed up the conversations. As my career progressed and I moved across to Clinical, it became more and more important for me to be able to follow meetings. Consequently, about five years ago, I got in touch with one of the Occupational Health Nurses who found the right help for me. I started using a media company, which our CEO’s office had used frequently, to help me with meetings and communication.

As a result of my diverse interactions across the company and my increasing network, I was invited to help make a film for our global online learning platform as part of the Write Right Programme, on the ‘Catch, Connect and Clarify’ principle - based on my experience as a lip reader.

How would you describe the culture at GSK?

Looking back, as a big company that has science at its heart, GSK was the place for me but transferring across from my previous job in academia was a big leap. Building my network was crucial. No one held me back or stopped me finding out what was needed, but the culture was a little different – a little more focused on results. I quickly gained my confidence in the new environment and, with a supportive network around me, I was able to do just as well, if not better, than when I was in academia.

Would you recommend GSK to others? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend GSK to others – it’s not a scary corporate world, but a supportive environment in which there is the possibility of making projects work. By connecting with people I’ve grown in ways I didn’t know I was capable of and I’ve also been a mentor, helping others to discover their inner strengths and progress their careers. In my experience the company will do whatever it can to support you to perform your role as well as you can, and the emphasis we place on networking creates plenty of possibilities for an internal move.

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GSK understands the important of an interactive and supportive environment where women's careers excel thanks to senior mentoring, coaching and peer support.

If this sounds like a company culture suited to you, search and apply for a job with GSK and bring your best qualities and experience to a rewarding caeer.


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