International Women's Day at Teva
International Women's Day is a chance for us all to celebrate the achievement of women, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality
Gender balance is close to our hearts here at Teva. That's why inclusion and diversity sits at the heart of everything that we do. We know that like many companies we still have more work to do, but we're inspired on a daily basis by our female leaders - whose dedication, skills and achievements are driving Teva forward. Hear more below from some of our female leaders, both in the UK and worldwide, who are leading the way both professionally and personally.
I like working at Teva because it’s given me the opportunity to be who I am. I am a West Indian. I am a black, female professional and in my previous jobs I experienced a lot of stereotyping. I joined Teva Runcorn in 2006 because the company promoted a gender-balanced culture and I found that I could grow into being who I am, both in terms of my values and in terms of my ethical beliefs which has really helped my career to flourish.
I don’t think we have enough women in industry. I frequently attend conferences and big meetings and very often I’m the only female, or the only black professional female in the room. I think we also need to encourage more girls and young women to do sciences and to excel in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.
I think female leaders bring a lot of value to the workplace because we see things from a different perspective. Our industries are not as rich and exciting as they could be because there just aren’t enough women within large organisations. Thankfully Teva is well represented. I’ve always had excellent female leaders and in my team in particular, three of the five leaders are female which is great.
People are normally quite surprised that I'm an engineer. But they usually then start asking about how I got into it and what the role’s like – often when they’ve got children who are starting to think about careers. I was a STEM ambassador [volunteers who help encourage young people to progress further in science, technology, engineering and mathematics] for a couple of years, so I did a few events with schools. It's best to get children interested very young, even before the stage where they're choosing subjects to study.
I toyed with the idea of going into medicine, but I was always a very hands-on and logical person and played with Lego and Meccano from a young age. I did my work experience with the Royal Air Force (RAF) when I was about 15-years-old and got to work on aircraft. It went from there. I studied Aerospace Engineering and got a Masters at university and I've worked in engineering for 10 years now. I love it and wouldn't want to do anything else.
I'm often spinning a lot of plates. I lead engineering activities across a range of projects so it can be quite full-on, but that tends to work best for me. I'll work with external contractors or third party suppliers handling specifications and technical documentation for projects, together with our manufacturing sites to get things in place ready for production. At the same time I ensure the full risk management documentation is in place.
I’m a qualified pharmacist but I never really planned to work in a pharmacy. When I finished university, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. It took me a while to find myself and I tried a number of different roles and jobs before I thought about supply chain.
Most of my friends don’t understand what I do. Not many people really understand what supply chain is or what my job is. Most people think it’s linked to engineering but I’m a pharmacist so that can confuse them a bit. I usually start by explaining that supply chain is the middle bit, between operations and commercial sales.
Sometimes, people presume I will be a man before I meet them, especially as I have a Spanish name so they don’t necessarily know what gender I am. They are often surprised when I arrive, especially since I’m also relatively young – 36 - to be in a senior-management role. My gender and my age are usually both quite surprising for people. I’ve had people assume my male colleague was the vice-president and I was his assistant. They were really embarrassed when they found out it was actually the other way around and very apologetic about it. I was quite amused.
One woman in Japan told me I was a role model and said she had never met a woman in a senior-level operations role like mine. She said I had inspired her to aim higher in her career. That was really touching. The best advice I could give to another woman in this industry is to forget about gender. It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man. What matters is that you can do your job to the best of your ability. If you are confident about that, it shouldn’t matter if you are a woman or not. Just do the best you can and work hard. Believe in yourself and the rest will follow.
I’ve got a very cool job. I head a group that’s called translational sciences and we basically act as a bridge between discovery and proof of concept studies in humans. The goal of our group is to make sure we support selection of the right doses and relevant patient population; we formulate and execute a plan to minimize the risks during development of novel treatments.
Friends think my job is really exciting, because I can really make a difference in people’s lives – developing drugs that previously did not exist. I follow my dream and enjoy every moment of it. On top of that, we use a lot of cutting-edge science, new methodologies and digital and big data.
Whether you’re a woman or a man, it doesn’t matter in my field – for example, a woman is the head of big data and machine learning in my team. I have quite a few women in my part of the organization, and my leadership group consists of two women and three men, so it’s more or less equal.
People expect this to be a man’s job. My plant is about 500,000 square feet across a number of buildings and I look after almost 390 people. I recently talked to a guy at a dinner who works in the same area and he said ‘You run that place?’ There is a stereotype.
My advice to other women is don’t try to be someone else. I think women sometimes like to act as someone else because there’s a perception they should be a certain way. My advice would be to be yourself. Have the courage to do things without seeing any boundaries.
I’ve made some major shifts in my career, but they felt smooth at the time. The most significant move I made was my first move from Melbourne to Sydney in Australia - even though it was only an hour’s flight away - that was a line in the sand for my family, as I was leaving my home base. My Dad was full of encouragement, telling me to make the most of the opportunity.
My mentors said I would make a good site leader. I worked for Pfizer in New Jersey, which started as a design and build-focused job but I transitioned to operations, such as plant reliability. Then I started putting steps in place to broaden my experience and go down the path to be a site leader.
Date of Preparation: March 2020
Find out more
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