January / February 2021

Emerging Leaders Editorial: Celebrate the Emerging New Year

John Clarke
Emerging Leaders Editorial: Celebrate the Emerging New Year

I think everyone will join me in celebrating the start of 2021! With all the challenges brought by 2020, last year also demonstrated the resilience and innovative thinking of ISPE members. With collaboration and perseverance in mind, I was delighted to begin my tenure as ISPE International Emerging Leaders Chair at the virtual 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo in November.

As recently announced, the ISPE Young Professionals (YPs) community has been renamed ISPE Emerging Leaders (ELs). This is a very welcome change that better describes the diversity in experience across our more than 1,700 members. Since the establishment of the ISPE Young Professionals community, the membership has evolved from recent graduates into a network of professionals who are developing into leaders through building their respective careers and the industry. The change in name at this point reflects the growth and maturity of the community, and I’m excited to continue this trajectory in 2021.

Building a Career in Pharma

In 2014, I became involved as an active member of the ISPE Ireland Affiliate Young Professionals Committee, shortly after the Young Professional branch of the Ireland Affiliate was established. I had recently begun working with Pfizer in Grange Castle, Dublin, Ireland.

As I progressed through roles in engineering, validation, and operations disciplines, my involvement with ISPE evolved alongside. Membership in ISPE supported my career progression through attending technical conferences on cutting-edge topics and building leadership skills through holding roles of increasing responsibility on the committee.

Activities This Year

In February, the ISPE Emerging Leaders are holding a major international Emerging Leader event: a virtual hackathon over two weeks. Over 50 students and Emerging Leader participants with up to five years of experience will be involved in working on a problem statement provided by our sponsor, Bayer. Members from over 20 Affiliates and Chapters will be represented and will work in teams to prepare proposed solutions. The teams’ solutions will be presented to a judging panel of industry experts to determine the winners.

Another goal for the ISPE Emerging Leaders in 2021 is to build our membership and volunteer network. We want your expertise and your thoughts to continue our development and growth. Whenever I’m asked, “Why should I get involved with the ISPE Emerging Leaders?” my answer is always “the people!” From my years of volunteering with the ISPE Ireland committee to planning events with the ISPE European Emerging Leader Affiliate leads, I have built contacts and friendships that will remain with me throughout my career. As we continue meeting virtually, a goal of the ISPE Emerging Leaders will be to maintain the networking and camaraderie we have become known for.

Being a member of ISPE Emerging Leaders has many other benefits, including:

  • Joining an established network of industry peers at both the Affiliate/Chapter and international levels
  • Access to guidance and best practices for new Affiliates and Chapters for the establishment of Emerging Leader chapters or student groups
  • Interfacing with ISPE Communities of Practice to increase Emerging Leader and student involvement
  • Involvement in ISPE initiatives such as Women In Pharma® and special interest groups such as Pharma 4.0™.

Join US

By volunteering at a local or international level with an Emerging Leader professional committee, you get as much benefit out of it as the effort you put in. If you are looking to get involved with the Emerging Leaders committee at your local ISPE Emerging Leader Affiliate/Chapter or want to set one up, contact me at or post on the Online Community