I was born/grew up in: I was born in Ottawa, Ontario and I also grew up there.
I now live in: I currently live in Burlington, Ontario.
I completed my training/education at: I have a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Ottawa. I also have a Master of Science in Medical Sciences from McMaster University.
What I do at work
I am responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of global clinical trials that are recruiting patients in Canada. I lead a team of people who each have important roles in ensuring that the clinical trial runs smoothly. I'm responsible for the overall project timeline. I also make sure that the trial follows global regulations, Health Canada regulations, and my company's policies and procedures.
Part of my role is to discuss our clinical trials with Canadian doctors and researchers. One of the reasons I do this is to see if the trial can be done at their hospital or clinic. If they decide to participate in the trial, I continue to work with these doctors and researchers. Together, we ensure that the rights, safety and wellbeing of patients is top priority during the study. We also work together to ensure that high-quality data is collected. To do this, I meet often with doctors, researchers, external service providers and my own colleagues. Meetings can be virtual or face-to-face. I also use email and phone calls to keep in touch with them.
A background in STEM is key to my role. I have a general understanding of biology, chemistry, genetics, and physiology. This background is important for me to understand the science behind the clinical trials I work on. In my BSc and MSc, I learned how to find information and solve problems independently. This is a key skill for any job, but I find it to be especially useful as a project manager.
My career path is
In high school, I was interested in science and medicine, but I didn’t know anything about clinical trials. My interests lead me to do a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences. I took courses in biology, chemistry, physiology, genetics, biochemistry, and more! I also did a research project where I studied the genetics of atrial fibrillation. This lead to my interest in a Master’s degree.
After I completed my Master’s degree, I took a position at a medical devices company, where I worked on clinical trials for new medical devices. I found this role because I had also been a summer student at this company. I loved my summer job working in the company’s R&D labs. Also, I was excited to work on clinical trials for some of the devices I had helped to develop. This job introduced me to the role of managing clinical trials. This job also helped me make the decision to follow a career in industry-funded research. Check my LinkedIn profile for more information.
I am motivated by
I'm always excited by new projects and what they aim to achieve. I like to push myself out of my comfort zone and learn new things. I’m also motivated by getting things done. This is very useful for a project manager! I’ve always loved science and medicine. I love that my job allows me to keep learning about new research and new technology that helps improve patients’ lives.
How I affect people’s lives
Clinical trials are important for generating new data to show that new drugs are safe, effective and working as intended. My career is incredibly rewarding because I have the privilege to see the positive effect new drugs have on patients' lives.
Outside of work I
Outside of work, I try to relax by spending time with family and staying active. I love to do all kinds of sports - running, cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing, Ultimate Frisbee, sprint kayaking.
My advice to others
My best advice to students in high school would be to consider post-secondary programs that offer opportunities for summer jobs or co-op positions. This will help you to learn more about different career options that exist. It will give you real work experience and allow you to grow your professional network.
Another way to become more informed about possible career paths is to attend career information sessions offered by companies at your university or college. You can also try reaching out to people on LinkedIn to see if they’re open to having a conversation with you about what they do. This will help you to network and develop connections with people who can help you find a job when you finish school.