We spoke to Hélène Pora, Vice President Technical Communication & Regulatory Strategy at Cytiva about how being a rep at BioPhorum has helped her personal and professional development.
How long have you been involved with BioPhorum?
I have been involved with the Supply Partner Phorum (SPP) since it started in 2015 and I am an active member of the Phorum leadership team. Over the years, I have supported the development of the cross-phorum interaction between SPP and Drug Substance, especially on the single-use systems and technical aspects of the work programs and supplier engagement. I have also been involved with getting my company onboard with the technology roadmap and have helped to implement various SPP deliverables in my company.
What aspects of the collaboration have you found valuable?
For me, there are various important dimensions to the work. The first is the ability to network and build in-depth relationships; the value of this should not be underestimated. As a supplier, being in the same room as many end-users is invaluable as it gives you a great understanding of the voice of the customer and their issues. Working with end-users, and often other suppliers who would otherwise be competitors, means we can develop and implement improved solutions.
Working within BioPhorum also allows you to develop your competencies in a step-by-step approach. Initially, you might be there just to listen and learn, and at that stage you might take more away than you give. But as your experience grows, you can start to contribute more at the workstream level and you will learn the skills to express your views, digest and reframe questions, relay market feedback, etc. Eventually, you can move into a leadership role with greater internal and external visibility. All these steps are crucial to your personal and career development.
What have you learned from working with BioPhorum?
Being involved in different phorums and workstreams has helped me develop my technical skills and competencies in many areas. Although I’m a biochemist by training, I have learned so much about supply chain issues, single-use technologies, facilities, end-user
qualification, working with regulators, etc.
And I’ve met so many people from so many different backgrounds – whether face-to-face or online – that I’d say there’s also a cultural experience to being on the team. This has allowed me to build relationships with other experts and collaborate with them on projects that expand my sphere of knowledge.
But it has also helped me improve how I communicate as I have needed to find ways to express opinions, formulate views, etc., i.e., improve my soft skills.
What would be your key takeaways that capture your experience of working with BioPhorum?
I think there are probably two things. First, if you play your part, it’s a great career development opportunity. And also, that you should bear in mind that to receive, you have to give. You cannot expect to sit there and not give anything back; it must be a two-way thing – especially around building trust. Yes, you will have to donate your time, but what you’ll learn through sharing and collaborating will be well worth it.