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Driving for success in times of disruption

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In an era marked by constant change, the “Driving for Success in Times of Disruption” event held last week brought together industry leaders to share their insights and strategies for navigating turbulent times. Hosted by Maria Hall, a Global Strategic Market Access Leader, attendees also heard from three prominent speakers: Alexandra Tretiakova, Managing Director of VIVACY Laboratoires UK; Eugenia Wachters, COO of Profactor Pharma; and Miriam Kenrick, a Healthcare Leader and Certified Coach.

Our 14th Women in BioPharma Leadership event kicked off with an interactive poll where attendees were asked if they were currently experiencing disruption. Unsurprisingly, every hand in the room shot up, underscoring the widespread impact of today’s volatile environment. A slightly more telling moment came, after defining that disruption meant anything from redundancy through to organisational restructure and volatile environments, when approximately 70% of participants indicated they had faced redundancy, highlighting the nature, and perhaps new norm, for modern careers.

As the event, run in partnership by Nazaré and Links Life Sciences, unfolded, attendees and speakers alike shared their experiences, offered guidance and made powerful connections to support successful navigation through disruption.


Miriam Kenrick: Seizing opportunities and remaining authentic

Miriam, one of the 70% of network members to have previously experienced redundancy, emphasized the importance of self-reflection and resilience. “You have to understand how to look for opportunities through disruption,” she advised.

Kenrick urged attendees to drown out the negative narratives associated with fear and uncertainty and shared her personal mantra: “Remember you have value. It’s about matching all the value you’ve brought across your career to the opportunity you have in front of you now. Trust in yourself.”

Kenrick also highlighted the importance of authenticity in leadership. She encouraged leaders to be open about their emotions and uncertainties, fostering a culture of honesty and vulnerability within their teams. This, she argued, builds stronger foundations and promotes resilience.


Eugenia Wachters: Embracing VUCA and networking through it

Eugenia asserted that the concept of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) is here to stay and that we have to learn to live with it. She advised that leaders “use VUCA as a tool to map their environment and make informed decisions”, stressing the need for creativity and networking during times of disruption.

Eugenia encouraged attendees to lean into uncertainty, as it can often lead to significant opportunities. “It can be tough to step out of your safe environment,” she acknowledged, “but sometimes it canbe your biggest opportunity. As can a strong network.”

Take a proactive approach to building and maintaining professional relationships and recognise them as both give and take. If you wait until you need them to reach out, it will be too late.


Alexandra Tretiakova: Reframing success and staying grounded

Alexandra spoke about the necessity of thinking outside the box and constantly resetting objectives. “What does success look like now, and what might it look like six months from now?” she asked.

One of her key messages was the importance of grounding yourself in reality and reframing success in the context of changing environments. “We may have achieved what we wanted but still didn’t hit the expected business results. This doesn’t mean we didn’t work hard; it means the environment changed,” she explained.

As leaders, it is our responsibility to maintain the motivation of our teams and build their resilience, even when the environment is doing everything in its power to hinder us.

Alexandra also highlighted the value of creating a positive narrative for your team, which in turn will help foster a positive outlook for yourself. “By doing it for others, you become a part of it,” she noted.


Maria Hall: Building profiles and collaborative efforts

Maria, our WBL event host, wrapped up the event by emphasizing the need for self-care and maintaining a strong professional profile. “Disruption can make you feel lost. Time and time again I see people take a fight or flight approach when it comes to disruption. But the most successful advances I’ve seen are driven by collaboration and support,” she advised.

Echoing Eugenia’s advice to be proactive, Maria encouraged leaders to “continuously review your professional profile.” What do you want to be recognised for and what value do you want people to ask you to bring? “Make sure that’s visible to your team, your colleagues and the ‘outside world’.”

Maria also touched on the importance of seeking advice rather than just opportunities from others. “Don’t ask people if they have an opportunity. Ask them if they have advice,” she recommended.

If you’ve worked on building your professional profile and network, you’ll have a fantastic team of people you can call on. But just as importantly, also remember to pay it forward.


Key takeaways and final thoughts

Throughout the event, several key themes emerged: the importance of resilience, the power of networking, and the need for authenticity and transparency.

Our speakers and attendees collectively highlighted the importance of staying grounded, reframing success, and leveraging disruption as an opportunity for growth, sharing invaluable guidance and practical tips for professionals seeking to thrive amidst uncertainty:

  • Remember the vital importance of self-care and the power of a supportive network
  • Stay true to your values and lean into the uncertainty
  • Give yourself time to reflect and reframe what success means
  • Be willing to reinvent yourself and brave enough to take a calculated risk


The Women in Biopharma Leadership network was founded in 2018 by Nazaré and Links Life Sciences, with the specific purpose of bringing together the voices of like-minded senior women in the Pharma and BioTech industries.

To hear more about our future events or connect with the WBL network, please contact us or head to our LinkedIn group.