Categories: CAREER

A Woman In STEM – Helping To Drive Australia’s Clinical Trial Sector

As a senior woman In STEM, Carrie Bloomfield, Director, Head of Clinical Research ANZ, GSK, reports on ways to drive Australia’s Clinical Trial Sector by encouraging more women to pursue a career in STEM.

Throughout my career in clinical trial research, the teams that I have built have demonstrated the impact and value women in STEM bring to the global pharmaceutical industry and the quest to develop safe and effective new medicines.  Through my many roles in clinical research, I have seen firsthand how the diversity of thought and unique skillsets that women in STEM bring, contributes to the success of science-led global healthcare companies.

Importantly, I have shown that successful careers for women in STEM don’t just begin in Australia’s capital cities and in our Go8 universities.  My STEM-based career was not carefully planned out during my school days, or at university. I was the first person in my family to attend university and have built my career upon the foundation of a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science (Medical Laboratory Science) from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. My STEM education initially led me to Gosford hospital in NSW where I practiced laboratory sciences while saving up to travel the world. At that time, I had no idea this trip would set me on the career path I am still on today.

Not long after leaving Australia, I entered the world of clinical research almost by chance.   Down to my last pound in London, I secured my first role in clinical research at a Phase I Clinical Trials unit to help fund my travels. It was while I was screening and assessing the healthy volunteers for participation in early phase clinical research that I became captivated by the critical role that clinical trials play in drug development. 

And from that point onward I have been fortunate to work closely with a diverse range of  professionals across the healthcare sector and in the pharmaceutical industry – all with the continued shared goal of improving our health and curing disease through the development of medicines for patients around the world.

RF._.studio at Pexels

Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry for more than 25 years, I’m as committed to clinical research as I’ve ever been.  I come to work every day with the patient at the forefront of my mind.  

Backed by an MBA and a strong history of leadership in the industry, at GSK I lead a team of dedicated professionals who focus on delivering clinical trials across a range of therapy areas.  And although I now rarely get to meet the patients my teams are helping, I take great pride in knowing that over my career I have played a small, yet vital role in developing countless drugs and vaccines which now help millions of people around the world each and every day.

The importance of clinical trials in providing the critical evidence-base for evaluating the safety and efficacy of new medicines and vaccines, providing patients access to critical new therapies and working with clinicians in the use of these therapies is what drives me, and what underpins the supportive and committed culture I strive to nurture in my team at GSK.

I believe empowerment in the workplace comes from being backed by supportive leaders and embracing the opportunities that come your way, as well as the learning and knowledge gained through teamwork and collaboration within the workplace.

As a leader, I feel that one of the most important things I can do is to step aside and let my staff flourish when it is their time to shine.  

I’ve always taken the most pride in seeing my team succeed and achieve their goals, and I make time to actively mentor and guide women (and men) who are seeking to enter the pharmaceutical sector for the first time.  I have been privileged to help some amazing young people secure their first roles in this exciting industry and to see people in my team take great leaps in their careers.

As the Co-Chair of the industry-sponsored Clinical Trials R&D Task Force I am also working with multiple key stakeholders to ensure that Australia’s clinical trial’s governance and policy environment remains fit for purpose and ensures Australia retains its competitive edge as a go-to country for clinical trials. 

I’d encourage anyone interested in pursuing a STEM career to take a good look at the opportunities in the clinical trials environment, or the pharmaceutical sector more broadly. The pharmaceutical industry, like all industries, comes with its challenges.  But at the end of every day, I take great pride in knowing that the clinical trials we do are helping to improve the lives of millions of people, and to me, that’s as rewarding as a career can get.

Carrie Bloomfield, Associate Director, Head of Clinical Research ANZ, GSK

Today Carrie Bloomfield works as the Associate Director and Head of Pharmaceutical Clinical Research for Australia and New Zealand at GSK Australia, a science-led global healthcare company.

However, for Carrie, her entry into the world of clinical research occurred almost by chance. Not long after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science (Medical Laboratory Science), Carrie left Australia to travel the world.  While living in London, Carrie secured her first role in clinical research to help fund her continued travels.

But it wasn’t long before she became captivated by the critical role that clinical trials play in drug development.  Carrie soon embarked on a career that would see her work closely with a diverse range of professionals, in an impressive range of roles in global organizations – all with the continued shared goal of developing medicines for patients around the world.

With more than 25 years in the pharmaceutical sector, Carrie remains as committed as ever to the cause and continues to work with the patient at the forefront of her mind.  Today, building on a strong history of leadership in the industry, backed by an MBA., Carrie leads a team of dedicated professionals who focus on delivering clinical trials across a range of therapy areas.  And while Carrie now rarely gets to meet the patients her team is helping, she takes great pride in knowing that over her career she has played a small, yet vital role in developing countless medicines and vaccines which now help millions of people around the world each day.

 

Robyn Foyster

Robyn Foyster is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-In-Chief of The Australian Women's Weekly. She is also the owner and publisher of Women Love Tech, Game Changers and The Carousel. Robyn's tech company produced the augmented reality app for Sydney's Vivid Festival in 2018 and the retail app Sweep. She is a speaker and a judge of the Telstra Business Awards and Mumbrella Awards. Robyn is passionate about supporting women in STEM.

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