Power for Women in STEM
New collaborative initiative involving 15 large pharma companies will support diversity in executive roles and cross-company leadership skills development
Appointed as Abbot’s Product Manager for Europe and Russia at 30 years old, then forming and running a Project Management department for a global life science SME, to becoming an innovation leader at the Pistoia Alliance – Anca Ciobanu’s career has reached higher levels than most women her age. She says it’s not a common career path for a woman in a male-dominated industry, but she was lucky to find supportive colleagues, mentors, and managers who recognized the ambition and passion that she devotes to delivering successful and innovative projects. So, it’s no wonder she supports and advocates for female leadership in Pharma, and STEM, in general.
“I saw learning opportunities at every stage of my career, and especially now, having the chance of working with so many industry experts from the Pistoia Alliance’s diverse global membership,” says Anca, who is originally from Romania and lives in Prague. She has an engineering degree, an EMBA, and fluently speaks 3 languages. “The higher you go in your STEM career, the less workforce diversity you see. And that’s not only a barrier to innovation but also a deterrent for the newer generations of women who might otherwise choose a STEM career,” Anca adds. Only 8 percent of women in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry are CEOs, Anca notes.
Anca is contributing to the wave of change in leading the Pistoia Alliance’s Diversity & Inclusion in STEM Leadership program. An initial six-month Women in STEM pilot, designed to develop leadership skills and promote diversity in life sciences, has got off to a great start. Almost 40 experienced managers from a diverse range of roles and countries from 15 large pharma companies are taking part each week. Anca plans to use the feedback and lessons learned from the pilot to further develop and expand the program to other Pistoia Alliance members.
As a Strategic Theme Lead for Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of R&D, Anca’s other activities at the Pistoia Alliance focus on Digital Transformation, including drug discovery using artificial intelligence, and a Lab of the Future community of interest. In her role, she facilitates discussions and project initiatives between industry experts, encouraging them to collaborate and innovate in a non-competitive environment. Her role includes overseeing projects in this area and helping bring them to fruition, to ultimately, serve patients in a better and more efficient manner. Anca brings her management skills and people skills to the table, helping people to see that advances like automated labs will not mean the loss of jobs. Instead, they will free pharma staff members from the more routine tasks so they can think in the big picture instead.
“My focus at the Alliance is firmly on empowering women and getting new projects off the ground to help transform our industry,” Anca added.
To find out more about Anca’s Strategic Theme and project designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of R&D, email Diversity@pistoiaalliance.org.
To get involved in the Pistoia Alliance’s D&I in STEM Leadership initiative as a future participant, sponsor, or program supporter, please visit: https://www.pistoiaalliance.org/projects/current-projects/diversity-inclusion-in-stem-leadership/