Curious whom you will meet at at our Healthcare PPM Toolbox in Jersey City on February 8-9? Alison will present at our Healthcare PPM Toolbox in Jersey City on February 8-9. She will prepare two sessions for our audience: informal discussion titled Project Management as a Springboard to Other Pharma Careers – Developing Yourself and Your Staff to Identify the Opportunities and Recognize the Pitfalls, and a workshop focused on leading through transitions.

Get to know Alison a bit through our 5 questions 🙂

1. What was the most thrilling moment of your career in Janssen?

As a Therapeutic Area Leader in the PMO, my role combines managing the portfolio to meet the needs of the business area leaders; with leading and developing my team of PMs as they deliver their programs and projects; and being an active member of the PMO SLT as we seek to grow and evolve the PMO.

Honestly, I can’t identify a single big moment – instead, there are thrilling moments every week! These can range from seeing a member of my team advance professionally, to completing a business planning exercise efficiently and well, to seeing one of our programs get one big step closer to helping patients.

I feel truly fortunate to be able to claim that degree of job satisfaction!

2. What can make you the most angry (professionally or in general) ?

Anger takes away your ability to see things clearly and make good judgments, so I rarely get angry.

Having said that, I have been known to get a little irritated once in a while, usually for minor reasons like technical glitches and systems errors when they get in the way of the real work being done!

3. Aaand what makes you the happiest 🙂 (professionally or in general)?

A sense of forward motion that’s based on meaningful progress. I find real satisfaction and joy when programs in my business areas move forward based on new data; and when leaders on my team increase in confidence and job satisfaction based on their strengths and the opportunities they have to grow.

4. How do you see the role of Pharma project manager – why do you feel it is important and where is it heading in the near future?

In Pharma, we deal with levels of program complexity, human impact, and investment risk that are unimaginable to those working in many other sectors.

At its core, the role of the PM is to use an array of technical, leadership and relationship skills to lead teams of functional specialists to work together to deliver these programs. It’s a critical role because it occupies a unique position at the interface of strategy and operations, entailing leading others as well as getting stuff done; and I believe that the importance of the role will only continue to grow as it mirrors the growth in complexity of the external environment.

I’m excited by the next generation of bright young leaders who are entering the PMO, and foresee much blurring of lines as people lead with their strengths rather than their organizational hierarchy.

5. Why is the topic of leading through transitions closest to your heart – why did you choose it?

 My team is responsible for both Neuroscience and Established Products, so we lead programs through transitions all the way from early development through to product maturity.

Transitions are often the most complex phases of a program both scientifically and administratively, and as such they create a variety of leadership challenges.

My team began to share learnings on this topic earlier this year, and I thought this would be a great topic for a workshop so that we could share learnings across the various companies that we represent.

Who is Alison?

Alison leads the Neuroscience and Established Products PMO team at Janssen Pharmaceuticals. She began her career in pharmaceuticals as a post-doctoral scientist in Anti-Infectives research at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

She transitioned to Drug Development Project Management at GSK, and continued to build her PMO experience at Shire Pharmaceuticals. Alison held leadership positions in the PMO and Global Regulatory Affairs (Oncology) groups at ImClone Systems (a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company) and Merck, before joining Janssen in 2013.

She is passionate about the potential of the empowered cross-functional team; conducting drug development with an unwavering sense of accountability to our patients and customers; and developing the next generation of pharma PMO leaders.

In her spare time, Alison enjoys flying and racing her single engine Cessna, and spending time with husband Ray and their dogs Einstein and Piper.