By Anna Longjaloux and Dr Claire Tkacz.
Meet Anna, our Principal Scientific Advisor. A fountain of knowledge and the queen of organisation. After exiting traditional Medical Communications eighteen months ago, Anna is already involved in most of VISFO’s business facets, using her expertise for everything from leading small nutrition studies to reviewing website content and manuscripts. We caught up with her to chat about a not-so-typical day at VISFO!
1. What does a typical day as a VISFO Principal Scientific Advisor look like?
Every day is so different I don’t think I know what ‘typical’ looks like! At the moment, I’m leading a small study on nutrition in lupus, so in the morning I first have a look at the data that’s come in during the night and answer any participant queries. I support a small team of writers, so I’ll check in with them next and make sure they are all set for the day ahead. We work across most business units, so there’s a lot of variety in what we do, meaning every day I’m either developing or reviewing something different. Social media posts, website content, grant applications, manuscripts, investor and pitch decks – the list goes on!
2. Why did you decide to become a Medical Writer? Any inspiration?
Medical writing seemed a great opportunity to be at the cutting edge of science without the lab work!
3. What was your journey to becoming a Principal Scientific Advisor at VISFO? Previous experience?
After my Master’s, I started a PhD but realised pretty quickly that it just wasn’t for me. Having made the decision to leave research, I temped in the NHS while I worked out what I wanted to do next. It was during that time that I took a chance and applied for my first job in Medical Communications (back then, would-be writers needed a PhD). I got the job and over the next 6 years worked with two industry heavyweights, gaining experience in both medical education and marketing.
4. What top 3 personal qualities are good fits for your team?
- A curious nature
- Being a stickler for detail
- Ability to work collaboratively
5. What’s the best part of your work at VISFO?
At VISFO, we have the freedom and support to think creatively. Stepping forward with an idea, especially if it’s a bit ‘out there’, is not easy, but at VISFO we are all each other’s champions. This makes cross-team collaboration very fun and also means that each project is incredibly personal for every individual involved – which is why I think our offering is so different and impactful.
6. Tell us what you enjoy about working within the healthcare / pharmaceutical space.
I’ve always had a keen interest in healthcare, and I feel fulfilled by having made it into a career where I can use my strengths to help make a difference to people’s lives. At VISFO, I’ve been closer to patients like never before and hearing about their experiences and how the work we have done has made them feel better has been incredibly rewarding.
7. Sum up VISFO in 3 words
8. What do you work on in your VISFO L&D time, any exciting projects in the pipeline?
I feel like I learn and develop every day. Not only have I gotten the opportunity to get stuck into therapy areas I previously knew nothing about (lupus, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease), I’m also learning about key opinion leader mapping and engagement, social listening, bioinformatics, software engineering and product design.
9. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working – any hobbies, favourite TV shows, music?
After work, I’ll go swimming or do a yoga class. I also volunteer once a week at a local running club, the Manchester Road Runners. At weekends you’ll usually find me somewhere in the Peak District with my partner, either stuck in the mud or ‘stuck’ in a pub!
10. Biggest personal success to date – what are you most proud of accomplishing that’s not work related?
I went to the dentist the other day and am so proud to be able to say that I still don’t have a single cavity! You were probably expecting something more profound, but I’ve been making an effort lately to count the little things instead of only measuring my success in terms of big milestones.