Member Spotlight Tanya Sharma
You’ve only been an ISPE Member for two years, but you’ve done so much in that time, including being named the International Women in Pharma Mentor Circle Leader. Can you tell us a little about how that came about and the successes the WIP Mentor Circle Program has experienced?
I attended the ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo 2019 in Las Vegas, where I met Jeannine Hilmer, who had established the Women in Pharma Mentor Circle program and was leading it at the time. I was living in Seattle and I volunteered to sign up to lead Women in Pharma® initiatives in the Pacific Northwest. Through my network at work, I spoke to a few colleagues who were interested in joining Women in Pharma® as well! We started a Women in Pharma® Mentor Circle in Seattle and invited other women in our pharma network to attend, participate in our Mentor Circle, and share their experiences and perspectives. We invited Jennifer Clark, Women in Pharma® Chair, to be our "Mentor of the Month" and had attendance from around the world. As a result of my interaction with Women in Pharma® leaders throughout my Pacific Northwest involvement, when Jeannine transitioned to a new position and home location last spring, I was given the opportunity to lead the Mentor Circle, which was a huge honor for me! After being named the Women in Pharma® International Mentor Circle Leader, I started talking to ISPE Chapter and Affiliates’ Women in Pharma® group leaders to identify opportunities to collaborate, and to better understand challenges they were facing. I would say that's what has really worked in this role - bringing people together in a meaningful way. I feel like the best is yet to come! I wake up with so many ideas to share and I get to learn so much from others along the way!
Can you share some thoughts on what your experiences with ISPE have taught you?
To me, ISPE is a place where we can learn more about different areas from blockchain to clinical trials and be a part of an exciting, growing environment. I think of ISPE as a lab – where scientific minds are coming together and expanding our knowledge base. ISPE has laid out a technical foundation for our industry. I have been able to attend conferences where there are case studies being discussed, hear about real life examples of current industry initiatives, and read guidance documents that have helped me broaden my competency in Data Integrity and Validation. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that you have to keep experimenting, studying the data, and pivot. Not everything works everywhere and it's important to continue to have a scientific mind and approach.
You are a co-founder and principal consultant with Assurea, LLC, a woman-owned business. How has your work with ISPE and Women in Pharma® helped you enhance your efforts with your company?
My work with ISPE and Women in Pharma® has helped me grow my network. The pandemic has created obstacles and has made it hard to build new connections, meet different people, and learn about new opportunities. Through ISPE and Women in Pharma®, I have had the opportunity to connect organically with people through webinars, mentor circles, and the numerous global events offered! It helps me stay up to date with what's happening in our industry and continue to learn new ways Assurea can contribute to the future. Also, I have had the pleasure to be mentored and learn about different journeys that others have experienced, which is also highly educational.
What about the diversity and inclusion initiative that is a focus of Women in Pharma®? Your Mentor Circle program and others, including Book Clubs and Sunrise to Sundown Networking events, are held around the globe. What have you learned from your collaboration from so many different parts of the world about diversity and inclusion?
Women in Pharma® has influenced me in many ways. It has introduced me to many new people from around the world, given me the opportunity for many new experiences, and fostered many exciting ways to collaborate and connect. ISPE Women in Pharma® has provided me pathways to grow my career, meet like-minded people, and enhance my knowledge and confidence. Through ISPE Women in Pharma®, I have had the opportunity to learn about new cultures and practices, and it has brought my understanding of supporting women to a whole new level! Being an International Mentor Circle Leader has thought me what it means to be accountable to people from all different cultures, countries, and backgrounds, and how to support them in providing what they need in ways that work for them. And I have further confirmed my belief that bringing a wealth of diversity into any effort always significantly enhances the outcome. It’s an energetic, motivating, and inspiring place to be and galvanizes steps for a better future.
What advice would you give to students and recent graduates about entering the pharmaceutical and biotech industry at a young age? How has ISPE helped you grow in your career development?
Even when you feel alone or lost when facing challenges like entering your career or starting a new job or business, you will always find someone that wants to mentor you and share their lessons and journey with you! Conversations with mentors give me hope and push me to keep following my dreams and turning them into reality. If there are ideas, thoughts, or experience that can help build the future of our industry, then you should join Women in Pharma® and share with others! We can all learn from each other and broaden our mindset. You are rich with experience and wisdom in a multicultural environment – what can be better?