How did you first get introduced into the field of life sciences?
It began in 2005 when I was a senior manufacturing engineer for a high volume electronic contract manufacturer while working on my master’s degree in pharmaceutical processes manufacturing engineering. As part of my graduate program, I took courses that introduced me to the basic theory of life sciences. At that same time, I was about to start my final project to complete graduation requirements, however, I had no hands-on experience in the life sciences industry. So, I decided it was the right time to look for a development opportunity within the life sciences industry and joined Ortho Biologics, a Johnson & Johnson company, as a maintenance supervisor in August 2005.
How has this field changed since you began? Where do you see the future path of the life sciences field?
It’s been a long journey since then and I have witnessed how the industry has been evolving, emerging and positioning itself as the best option for patients taking the medicine of the future available in the present. Life sciences’ future is bright, considering the new capabilities identified by many scientists around the world to treat not only well-known diseases, but rare diseases as well. Thanks to the evolution of this industry and the hard work of exceptional professionals, many patients can now receive treatment for conditions that 20 years ago were considered a death sentence. Today, these patients can enjoy a quality of life that allows them to be independent, attend school, participate in outdoor activities and enjoy their families. That’s what life is about and our roles as professionals are to help those who need it most and, at the same time, feel accomplished knowing our patients are happy.
How is digitalization and the Internet of Things (IoT) affecting this area?
Being a highly regulated industry, product quality and safety are our top priorities and risk management is crucial to this rapidly growing industry. Concurrently, it must be one that is agile, multi-product, smart and competitive. The introduction of emerging technologies, such as new digitalization capabilities and IoT, have come to support fulfillment of stringent risk management regulatory and business requirements, demonstrating higher levels of control. Specifically, they bring intelligence capabilities to assets so they can provide real-time and historian condition data and analytics capabilities, furnishing the ability to predict failures at an early stage that can be corrected before they become catastrophic and shut down operations.
Are the ISO55000 asset management standards being considered in your work?
Asset lifecycle management has been in the industry for a while and with the development and deployment of the ISO55000 standards, our strategies are looking to continuously improve and be fully aligned with those standards. In my current role within BioMarin Pharmaceutical’s global quality organization, our asset quality lifecycle team is focused on providing sites with the internal global standards and business practices aligned to ISO55000 and other asset standards and regulations that support a high asset performance while looking after product quality. There is a change management process in progress instructing cross-functional organizational leaders, enhancing technical and leadership skills, and providing more visibility to the link between product quality and asset management standards.
How is your company addressing the lack of diversity in this field?
BioMarin Pharmaceutical is not only addressing the lack of diversity, but has also been an innovator in the way to do it. At both global and site levels, there are women leading asset management teams, initiatives and programs. If I look back to my years involved in asset management, many more women are currently showing interest in the area and demonstrating the competencies to continue influencing industry leaders to extend formal deployment of asset management programs.
What advice do you have for young or female engineers that have an interest in this area?
My major advice is to be brave; be determined; read; go to the field and learn; be hands-on; become a change agent no matter your level in the organization; do not hesitate to ask and promote discussion; be innovative; collaborate; and lead. There will be many challenges to overcome, particularly within the high level of the organization. Therefore, doing all of what I have just mentioned will help you get ready to lead the right discussions and influence towards reliability based informed decisions.
What opportunities does the future hold for you in this field? Where do you see yourself in five years?
First, I’m convinced there are many opportunities for all women interested in joining this engineering field. Every year, companies are more aware of the value we’re able to create to the organization by ensuring the right things are being done from the beginning of the asset’s life cycle.
Considering my diverse experience of 21 years, I can easily see myself leading an engineering, reliability and maintenance organization at a senior management level. Having demonstrated leadership imperatives, such as Connect, Shape, Lead and Deliver, from lower responsibility levels up to managerial levels, creating site and global impacts through innovation and process-based transformation, and creating value by increasing efficiency and performance, I feel ready to continue contributing to my current quality organization and demonstrating my leadership by shaping asset lifecycle practices from a quality perspective while developing new competencies to continue escalating to higher responsibility roles.
Do you have a mentor or someone you admire? What role has he/she played for you?
I have an excellent mentor who has been supporting me shaping my career and identifying the next steps to take to continue escalating higher responsibility roles. She has been providing me with tools, guidance and direction to continuously improve my leadership and technical skills, increase my self-confidence, look for development and learn about new opportunities that enrich my career path while still allowing me to enjoy my roles.
What are five words that describe you?
Servant Leadership; Passionate; Collaborative; Determined; Sensible
What is your favorite quote?
“If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.” (Brené Brown).
What books do you recommend? What's on your reading list?
10 Rights of Asset Management by Ramesh Gulati and Terrence O’Hanlon; Lead from Any Seat: 10 Ways to Get More Involved in Your Job, Make a Lasting Impact, and Advance Your Career Fast by Andrei Anca; and The Power of Positive Leadership by Jon Gordon.