Q1. Tell us something about yourself?
I have a great affinity for laughter! It brings joy and positivity into my life. I believe in the power of building connections and fostering relationships with others. I thoroughly enjoy engaging with people, as I firmly believe that a well-functioning team can achieve better solutions than an individual working alone. Every day, I enjoy embracing the opportunity to collaborate with others, appreciating the diverse perspectives and experiences that each person brings to the table. Together, we can create a vibrant and dynamic environment where innovative ideas thrive.
Q2. With over 25 years of leadership experience in the healthcare industry, could you share a specific example of a challenge you faced while overseeing clinical trials in Phase I to IV studies?
During my tenure as a RnD program head overseeing the development of Xarelto, which was the largest clinical program in the cardiovascular (CV) space at this time and the first program for an oral factor Xa inhibitor, I encountered numerous challenges. One of the major challenges we faced was the need to efficiently manage a vast number of clinical trials across multiple phases (Phase I to IV). Coordinating and overseeing such a complex program required meticulous planning, effective communication, and strong leadership skills. To address this challenge, we implemented several strategies. Firstly, we established a cross-functional team comprising experienced professionals from various disciplines, including clinical operations, regulatory affairs, and medical affairs etc. This team worked in close collaboration to ensure seamless execution of the trials. Secondly, we implemented robust project management practices, including clear timelines, milestones, and deliverables. Regular meetings were conducted to review progress, identify potential bottlenecks, and implement corrective actions swiftly. Additionally, we utilized advanced technologies and data management systems to streamline data collection, analysis, and reporting. This enabled us to monitor the progress of each trial in real-time and make data-driven decisions promptly. Furthermore, we fostered strong relationships with investigative sites, key opinion leaders, and regulatory agencies to ensure smooth enrollment, compliance with protocols, and timely submission of regulatory documents. Despite the inherent challenges, I thoroughly enjoyed leading this groundbreaking program. It provided me with an opportunity to apply my leadership skills, collaborate with exceptional professionals, and contribute to the advancement of cardiovascular medicine. Through effective teamwork, strategic planning, and relentless dedication, we successfully navigated the complexities of the clinical trials, ultimately leading to the successful development and approval of Xarelto.This experience reinforced my belief in the power of a well-functioning team and the importance of adapting to challenges in the dynamic field of healthcare.
Q3. Collaboration and innovation are essential in the pharmaceutical industry. How do you inspire and challenge your teams to foster innovation, and what steps do you take to create an environment of psychological safety to encourage creativity and growth?
In the pharmaceutical industry, collaboration and innovation are indeed crucial for success. As a leader, I believe in inspiring and challenging my teams to foster innovation by creating an environment that encourages creativity, growth, and psychological safety. Here are the steps I take to achieve this: Open Communication, Encouraging Diverse Perspectives, Empowering Ownership, Promoting Collaboration, Recognizing and Rewarding Innovation, Embracing a Learning Culture and Providing Resources and Support & Coaching.
By implementing these steps, I strive to create an environment where my teams feel psychologically safe, empowered, and inspired to think innovatively. Through collaboration, open communication, and a culture of continuous learning, we can drive forward-thinking solutions and make a meaningful impact in the pharmaceutical industry.
Q4. Your mention of high learning agility and a resilience mindset is intriguing. Can you share a specific example of a situation in your career where your ability to embrace new roles and challenges was particularly beneficial? How did you approach finding strategic and holistic solutions in such a scenario?
I have had a diverse career path, starting in Pharma and transitioning from being a Lab Group Leader in research to becoming a Production Manager in Product Supply, then moving on to Project Management. After that, I ventured into the commercial arena of Consumer Care before finally entering the Clinical Operations field. Throughout these roles, I have had the opportunity to work out of various locations such as Leverkusen, Wuppertal, Berlin, Milano, and Basel. I believe that my success in these positions can be attributed to my strong mindset for high learning agility and resilience I probably would not have been successful.
I firmly believe that as a leader, your success is intertwined with the success of your team. Without a well-functioning team, your own achievements are limited. Therefore, I prioritize building and nurturing a strong team, recognizing that our collective success is dependent on each individual's contributions.
Q5. Can you provide an example of how you've applied your knowledge in digital business and change management to benefit your organization at Bayer?
In my role in Clinical Operations at Bayer, I have consistently applied my knowledge in digital business and change management to drive significant benefits for our organization. Clinical Operations heavily relies on digital acumen, as it essentially functions as a 'data factory' that provides quality data for approving drugs and improving patients' health. Without digital solutions and innovation, our operations would be unimaginable. One notable recent example of applying digital expertise is our current deployment of DCT the Asundexian (Oceanic) trials, our DCT arm in this program is one of the largest decentralized clinical trials (DCT) in the cardiovascular arena. This trial not only enhances our digital capabilities but also allows us to access a broader patient population and accelerate the pace of our research.
Overall, my application of digital business knowledge and change management principles has significantly benefited Bayer in Clinical Operations. By embracing digital solutions and driving change, we have been able to enhance our capabilities, access broader patient populations, and ultimately contribute to the advancement of patient health.