Celebrating International Women and Girls in Science Day

The world needs science, and science needs women and girls.

Women have led ground-breaking research into public health, vaccines, treatments and innovative technology, and been on the front lines of COVID-19 response as scientists, health care workers and more.

However, there is still inequality for women in science, which is why it is important that we celebrate International Women and Girls Day on 11 February and recognise women’s contribution to science.

At Teva we have many talented women in science who are helping us provide life-saving medicines to patients all over the world.

To celebrate International Women and Girls in Science Day, we caught up with some of our women in science to hear their stories.

Lisa Nilsson

Director of Human Factors and Laboratories, Abbots Park

There are so many jobs within Science that you don’t really hear about until you start working in the industry.

Shirley Yates

Senior Microbiology Specialist, Runcorn

As geeky as a science career may seem - you get a lot of satisfaction for it in the end.

Sandra Beltran-Rodil

Associate Director, Specialty EU Regulatory Affairs, Harlow

Follow your heart and your passion, and if that’s in science, then go for it!

Caridad Navarro

Scientist, Runcorn

The tools you acquire can be applied to all aspects of life, learning how to think critically and logically.

Alana Kennedy

Associate Director, Quality Assurance, Larne

Science needs the talents that women bring including multi-tasking, strong communication, as well as soft skills such as diplomacy and empathy.

Deirdre O’Sullivan

Senior Director, Site Quality Head, Waterford

I enjoy discovering what and why something went wrong and fixing it to prevent it happening again.

Lisa Nilsson

Director of Human Factors and Laboratories, Abbots Park

Why did you choose science as a career path?
I’ve always been interested in how things work and Science subjects were my favourite in school. I spent a few years at University studying languages, psychology and economics before I found an education that combined a lot of my interests, both in human nature and more technical aspects.

What does your role entail?
As the director for Human Factors and Laboratory, I am overseeing the activities relating to those subjects for our combination product development. Human Factors is a scientific discipline concerned with how human capabilities and behaviours and how it limits and affects the design and development of tools, devices and systems. The Laboratory is providing scientific testing of devices within our development programs. My role includes a wide variety of tasks including document reviews, strategy, organizational challenges, resourcing and management.

What is the achievement you are most proud of so far?
Every device we develop and put on the market has an impact on the end user. The work of my teams make sure that the devices are suitable for the end-users needs, and that the devices are designed and functions according to the specifications.

What advice would you give to women who are considering science as a career choice?
To go for it. When I chose my education, I didn’t know what types of job you could work with after that. There are so many jobs within Science that you don’t really hear about until you start working in the industry, so I suggest to study topics that interest you and see where it takes you! You are never fully trained in these fields, I learn new things every day I am working.

Shirley Yates

Senior Microbiology Specialist, Runcorn 

Why did you choose science as a career path?
With 
It's what I was best at from all subjects in school (with the exception of physics!), which is probably why I enjoyed it the most too. They were the most hands on/ practical classes and that's what I enjoyed about it. There was always a new topic to learn and no day was ever the same; it encourages you to keep going and see what else there is- picking where to go in science was the difficult part.

What does your role entail?
My role currently is a Senior Microbiology Specialist, which is practical work and more background information really. As much as the role is to keep everything running as smoothly as possible in the Microbiology lab within the team, we need a lot of understanding for why we do things and continually finding if there is anything we can improve. There is a lot of research involved to make sure what we are doing is correct and it constantly keeps you on your toes.

What is the achievement you are most proud of so far?
I can’t name just one but if I had to, finishing my degree to working at Teva with the team that have got me through 10 years in pharmaceuticals and to where I am now is one I’m proud of.

What advice would you give to women who are considering science as a career choice?
Go for it, as geeky as a science career may seem you get a lot of satisfaction for it in the end. Science, and the understanding of things, is how everything develops- it is always intriguing and there are many different paths you can take within the science sector.

Sandra Beltran-Rodil

Assoc. Director, Specialty EU Regulatory Affairs, Harlow

Why did you choose science as a career path?
I think for me there are two reasons, one I loved chemistry and what can be achieved thanks to it, but also because I wanted to contribute to make a difference to people’s lives (I know it is a cliché). My brother died of cancer at the age of 14 (I was almost 11) and at the time (30 years ago) there were not the treatments and technologies we have nowadays. Science has made this possible and if I can be a small part of that, I am happy.

What does your role entail?
I am part of the Specialties Regulatory Team based in Harlow. Regulatory Affairs is one of those areas that is there from beginning to end and beyond. I have the privilege to work with a global big cross-functional team, advising on legislation and guidance, interacting with regulators and leading the regulatory strategy from development to approval of a product as well as life-cycle management. As part of my role, I also have line management responsibilities and support non-project specific activities (i.e. SME for medical devices and drug-device combination products for EU Specialty RA, participate in industry forums, etc…)

What is the achievement you are most proud of so far?
This is a hard one, personally or professionally, or both! From a personal perspective, my family of course and having run a marathon. From a professional perspective, having made a career change I had not “planned for” and realising it was the best decision I had ever made; allowing me to grow professionally into who I am now.

What advice would you give to women who are considering science as a career choice?
Follow your heart and your passion, and if that’s in science, then go for it. There is a world of opportunities based in science out there and perhaps they are not all obvious at first. Never be afraid of trying, because there is always something to learn and above all believe in yourself. You’ve got this!

Caridad Navarro 

Scientist, Runcorn

Why did you choose science as a career path?
I was always curious and wanted to find out how things work for myself, rather than just taking what others said for granted. I thought that studying science would give me the tools to ask the right questions and come to an answer.

What does your role entail?
I work as a R&D scientist developing new products. As an analytical chemist I support development and validation of new analytical methods, as well as testing of development batches of new drugs.

What is the achievement you are most proud of so far?
I am from a very small town in Spain, where it was hard to access to high levels of education. No one in my family had gone on to further education and no one expected me to be any different. After all the effort I have made, looking at myself living and working in another country, working in science in a second language makes me feel proud of what I have achieved.

What advice would you give to women who are considering science as a career choice?
I would say “go for it!”, studying science not only provides you with an exciting career and a host of new challenges, but the tools you acquire can be applied to all aspects of life, learning how to think critically and logically.

Alana Kennedy

Associate Director, Quality Assurance, Larne 

Why did you choose science as a career path?
As a school student I had an aptitude for science and maths, with a particular love for chemistry. My passion for chemistry was encouraged by my teacher and I went on to study this at university. After graduation I started working as a QC Analyst, in this role I immediately understood the importance of the quality and safety of medicinal products and the role we play in ensuring quality. Within QC I progressed to lab manager and later moved to QA where I now head up the QA team in Larne.

What does your role entail?
In my current role I manage GMP activities on the Larne site, ensuring compliant operation of the quality systems and providing quality guidance on CMC development projects. A big part of my role involves working with cross-departmental teams to resolve issues in manufacturing and analysis. As the site QP I provide quality oversight, ensuring that Investigational Medicinal Products are manufactured and released in compliance with GMP and regulatory requirements. With the support from my brilliant team of quality experts, we promote quality within R&D while providing support for R&D projects through to submission and on to product launch. 

What is the achievement you are most proud of so far?
I take pride in working for a leading global pharmaceutical company and in my career I’ve had the privilege of leading the QC laboratory and now the QA team at the Larne site. It’s very satisfying being part of the Larne R&D team that works on the development, clinical release and subsequent submission of IMPs, such as oncology medication which will ultimately help people in need. 

On a personal level, following years of in-depth study, I attained QP status and took on legal responsibility for the site. This is an accomplishment which I’m glad I achieved.

What advice would you give to women who are considering science as a career choice?
I would encourage any woman considering science as a career to do so. Our industry needs the talents that women bring to the workplace including organisation, multitasking, strong communication and team spirit, as well as soft skills such as diplomacy and empathy. I would highly recommend a career in science, in my experience it is challenging, enjoyable, rewarding and great for your personal and professional development as you are constantly learning. 

Deirdre O’Sullivan

Senior Director, Site Quality Head, Waterford

Why did you choose science as a career path?
As a child I grew up on a farm and I always had an interest in nature and in how things worked. I was terribly curious and loved solving puzzles. At secondary school, my favourite subjects were biology and chemistry so a career in life sciences or science was an obvious choice for me.

What does your role entail?
I’m the Site Quality Head at Teva in Waterford, Ireland. I’m responsible for the Quality Management System at the site, ensuring that we are in compliance with regulations at all times. It’s vital that we have compliant testing processes in place in the labs and have quality oversight of manufacturing activities and all other activities.

What is the achievement you are most proud of so far?
Professionally, the achievements I am most proud of are some really difficult investigations that we have solved over the years. I enjoy discovering what and why something went wrong and fixing it to prevent it happening again. Science is a collaborative effort and being part of those teams gives me great satisfaction.

What advice would you give to women who are considering science as a career choice?
There are so many different types of careers in Science but passion, innovation, knowledge and integrity are key to a successful career. Be brave, speak up with ideas or with better ways of doing things and keep asking questions. Technology and regulations are always changing and you need to keep up-to-date with those shifts through continuous learning. 

Find out more

Date of preparation: February 2022
Reference: COB-GB-NP-00092

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