Business Woman Awards 2017

6 Corporate Vision / BusinessWomen Awards 2017 , BW170003 Allori is an Australian based healthcare communications agency that has influenced the attitudes and behaviour of practitioners and patients for over 10 years. Donna Bartlett tells us what it is like being a woman in the pharmaceutical industry, and how how she came to be ProgramDirector at Allori. Medical Marketing Professional of the Year 2017 Established in 2006, Allori creates multichannel strategic communication programs that are rolled out via print and digital channels, in addition to developing meeting programs and managing speaker faculties. The company’s service offering is quite broad ranging from market research through to medical publishing and sales effectiveness programs, but our major strengths are our content development expertise, healthcare practitioner relationships and digital innovation. Donna relives her past experiences, telling us where she learned her trade and how this set her up for her future career. “Before entering the pharmaceutical industry in 1990, I studied pharmacy at university and practised as a clinical pharmacist for five years. Subsequently, I worked in various roles within the industry until 2007 when I joined Allori as Medical Communications Manager. Obviously, my pharmacy background has always been useful but the experiences that have really shaped my career were the opportunities I was given to establish new functions in these roles, including a Clinical Supplies section at Glaxo (now GSK), the Medical Liaison function at Amgen and the Healthcare Communications project team at Allori.” Donna describes the changes she has seen within Allori and the wider industry over the years. It has not always been easy for women to break-through in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in Australia, where it is unusual to find women at the top executive levels. “The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated and quite conservative. Traditionally for women it has been harder to have a voice, particularly at the highest levels of management. In Australia, there are only nine women CEOs and 10 women chairing boards across the entire ASX 200 although I am aware of a couple of women CEOs in the pharmaceutical industry.” “However, I believe this culture is changing and there have been more women going into middle and senior management over the last five years which should help drive change across the industry. I have been fortunate that being female has not really been an issue working within Allori, perhaps because we are a small business.” Donna alludes to the challenges that she has encountered as a female in the corporate environment, describing how she has overcome them. “Earlier in my career there were occasions where I felt my opinion as a woman was disregarded or paid only token attention. Some things I found that help to overcome this are to be well prepared and think about any potential objections in advance, re-iterate your position and ultimately accept a decision and move on if you are not able to influence the outcome. Working within a smaller organisation has allowed me to develop the skill and confidence to handle these situations in a positive way and I have always had an equal share of voice as the only woman in our five-member executive team, which was recently expanded to include our female business development manager.” Donna is well placed to give advice to other women looking to succeed in the medical communications industry, and the attributes she believes are vital to reaching the top levels of management. “Listen to your clients and your colleagues before you speak, learn everything you can about your business and believe in your decisions. Never stop trying to improve your offering and do not be afraid to re-define your role. In almost all of the positions I have held I have either developed or re- written the job description; there is usually an opportunity to expand or diversify most roles with a bit of vision and lateral thinking. Donna signs off by explaining the changes she would like to see