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ISPE Women in Pharma® Member Spotlight: Hilal Yamaner

ISPE Women in Pharma® Member Spotlight: Hilal Yamaner

We've had the opportunity to interview Hilal Yamaner, an active ISPE Emerging Leader and member of ISPE Women in Pharma®. Throughout this member spotlight, she shares her journey with ISPE, her perspective and passion for AI integration, the work she’s put in to planning a related ISPE Women in Pharma panel session at the upcoming 2024 ISPE Biotechnology Conference, and the advice she’d like to share with other aspiring women in STEM.

Hilal Yamaner
Process Engineer
VTU Engineering Schweiz AG

When and why did you get involved with ISPE?

My journey with ISPE began in April 2022. My manager informed me that the ISPE Women in Pharma® D/A/CH Affiliate was being established, and I was immediately interested in joining. This marked my first contact with ISPE. At that time, I didn't know much about ISPE, but the concept of a Women in Pharma group instantly captivated me.

Furthermore, being relatively new to Switzerland and lacking an extensive professional network outside of my company, I saw ISPE as a valuable platform to connect with others in my field. I recognized the importance of networking and wanted to connect with like-minded individuals to share knowledge and experiences.

How has ISPE helped you expand as a professional?

ISPE has been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. Through participation in the Women in Pharma workshops and events, I have had numerous opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals, which has fostered significant personal development. These interactions have allowed me to build meaningful relationships and learn from the experiences of others.

In addition to personal growth, my involvement with the COP Biotechnology community has ensured that I stay informed about the latest advancements and updates in the field on a global scale. This exposure has been invaluable in keeping my knowledge current and relevant.

Moreover, ISPE has greatly expanded my professional network. I have had the privilege of meeting and collaborating with a diverse group of professionals from around the world, enriching my perspectives and opening up new opportunities for career advancement. The connections I have made through ISPE have been a cornerstone of my professional development, providing support, mentorship, and a platform for continuous learning.

Leveraging my experience, I actively contribute to ISPE's mission by organizing events, webinars, and serving as a buddy for the ISPE Student Chapter. Additionally, I am committed to developing emerging leaders within the organization by leveraging my network and expertise to support and empower others.

You are currently helping design the Women in Pharma panel for the 2024 ISPE Biotechnology Conference, taking place on 17-18 June, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. How did you go about getting involved with Women in Pharma and why do you consider it important?

Since my initial contact with ISPE was through the ISPE Women in Pharma group, I was eager to support the organizational team for the 2024 ISPE Biotechnology Conference and contribute my ideas for the session. This year, I have had the opportunity to be part of the organizational committee for the conference tracks. I am particularly enthusiastic about supporting the Women in Pharma group as well.

Being part of this group is important to me because it offers a unique platform to share ideas and discuss contemporary issues with a diverse group of professionals. The diversity in this group is truly exceptional, with experts from various fields, different cultural backgrounds, and supportive male colleagues who can add valuable perspectives. Engaging in transparent discussions about current challenges allows us to learn from each other and gain fresh insights, which is essential for both personal and professional development.

The topic for the 2024 ISPE Biotechnology Conference’s Women in Pharma panel is “Beyond Boundaries: AI-Driven Efficiency in Modern Workspaces - Powered and led by ISPE Women in Pharma®.” Can you tell us a bit more about your love of AI and why you are so passionate about the integration of this new technology into the pharmaceutical industry?

I am very optimistic about the future of AI and recognize that it will soon have a profound impact on everyone, similar to the transformative introduction of the Internet. This historic shift makes it critical for everyone to familiarize themselves with AI and begin integrating it into their work processes.

What particularly excites me about AI is its ability to analyze vast amounts of data with unprecedented speed and accuracy, leading to more informed decision-making and insights that were previously unattainable. In an industry where precision and efficacy are paramount, the integration of AI holds immense promise in expediting research, improving patient outcomes, and driving sustainable growth.

My passion for AI extends beyond its technical capabilities to its profound impact on work-life balance and efficiency within the pharmaceutical industry. While AI undoubtedly revolutionizes complex technical processes, its integration also extends to enhancing everyday tasks, ultimately fostering a more balanced and productive work environment.

For instance, AI-powered virtual assistants streamline administrative tasks, allowing professionals to focus their time and energy on more strategic endeavors. Additionally, AI-driven scheduling algorithms optimize workflows, reducing time spent on mundane logistical challenges and enabling greater flexibility in managing work commitments.

Our panel aims to demystify AI for those who may still have reservations. We understand the uncertainties surrounding this technology, but it's important to proactively embrace these changes before they become indispensable. By demonstrating the potential of AI-driven efficiency in modern workspaces, we hope to inspire confidence and encourage the pharmaceutical industry and all professionals to fully leverage the capabilities of AI in their daily activities.

As a woman in STEM, how would you advise other women looking to direct their path in this direction? What do you wish you would’ve known before entering the pharmaceutical industry?

As a woman in STEM, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, I would advise other women to be prepared for the unique challenges that come with the field, especially in engineering. It's not always easy, and you may often find that you have to work harder to earn the respect that should naturally be given to you. Building resilience is essential, and it's important not to take everything personally.

Be aware that you may have just a few female colleagues and that you will often be working in a predominantly male environment. However, this should not discourage you. Working with male colleagues can be enjoyable and highly productive. The most effective teams are diverse, bringing together different perspectives and strengths.

Gaining respect and making your voice heard may take extra effort, but we are strong and capable. Always strive for excellence, and don't hesitate to ask for help and support. Connect with mentors and find allies who recognize and appreciate your efforts. Remember, we are strong women, and with determination and support, we can accomplish great things.

In addition, I wish I had realized the importance of building a professional network early on. Networking is critical in any industry, but especially in STEM, where connections can open doors to new opportunities and provide invaluable guidance. Don't be afraid to reach out to others, attend industry events, and join professional organizations like ISPE. Also, continually seek to expand your skills and knowledge, as the field is constantly evolving. Embrace lifelong learning and stay curious.

Finally, celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Recognizing your progress will keep you motivated and remind you of your abilities. Stay confident and persistent and remember that your contributions are valuable and necessary.

Learn about opportunities to join ISPE and ISPE Women in Pharma.

Register for the 2024 ISPE Biotechnology Conference