The 2016 Pharma PPM Toolbox in Basel was one of the most successful events in the history of EBCG. More than 170 attendees and speakers came together in Basel to share their enthusiasm about portfolio and project management. One of our exceptional speakers was Stefanie Wach, Senior Vice President, Global Project Management at Fresenius Kabi. Stefanie is a very enthusiastic and dedicated person and I had the pleasure of getting to know her a little more over the phone.

So Stefanie, tell me a bit more about your career and background.

I am very open person who loves being and working with people. I like walking in nature and exploring new things. So, when it comes to my professional life, I always try to implement that. I am keen on exploring new thing or creating new departments and structures.

Since my PhD thesis, I have gained 15 years of experience in different positions in project management, strategic marketing, product and portfolio management in pharmaceutical, diagnostics as well as biotechnology industries. At the moment, I am working at Fresenius Kabi, a global pharmaceutical company established in 2008. I am the Senior Vice President, Global Project Management and I focus on its increase and efficiency by creating an independent management structure including the alignment and improvement of global processes (communication, enhance productivity etc). About 3 and a half years ago, I was asked to create an established global project management structure for our generic pharmaceuticals.

I also used to work at Merck, in the generic field so therefore I came with this vast experience. I started as a Global Strategic Marketing Manager, responsible for a broad therapeutic area. Luckily, in all positions, I had the possibility to establish a department or a certain structure and to be honest it was a lot of fun.Stefanie Wach

Can you elaborate a little more on your session on our event?

In my presentation at your event in Basil, I told my audience the story of how I established this global project management structure I mentioned above. I explained the initial situation, the challenges and the needs we faced and then step by step, I showed them how I implemented it and how -together with my team- we created a very successful global project. After my presentation, I received great feedback from my audience because they appreciated my openness and the transparent description of my approach. It wasn’t all about success but also about the pitfalls and failures which I explained in detail. I also showed our lessons learnt. I think they really appreciated it because it was like a road map. How we created it and how we defined the to-dos and the challenges.

How did this event help you and in what way do you think it will help our potential attendees?

I really liked the event. What I liked the most was the open atmosphere and the discussions during the breaks. We know that we all have challenges in our daily business and sometimes, you have the feeling that this is related only to you. But listening to other presentations and discussing with other attendees,  it became quite clear we are facing the same issues and challenges even if you are working in a small or big company. The exchange of experiences and knowledge was the thing that made this event valuable and interesting. And I am sure that the other attendees will appreciate it as well.

What are your expectations for next year’s event?

Don’t change much! Please keep the nice atmosphere, all the discussions and the breaks. A very special thing on your event was the round-table
discussions. They created the fruit for discussion between all participant without the usual and boring Q&A after the presentations. People touched critical topics very openly and during the coffee breaks, I was able to follow up with most of the other participants. This created a nice atmosphere and increased the networking opportunities.