The vision of my career evolved throughout the years, but one thing remained the same – I wanted to ‘do science’. After finishing my BSc in biology (where I quickly realised my interests primarily lay in human biology), I completed an MSc in advanced biology (immunology) at the University of Liverpool.
It had been my plan to pursue a PhD, but as I finished my MSc nothing posted struck a chord with me. A PhD is a significant commitment I knew I needed to be invested in; this, coupled with some health issues, meant I missed the opportunity to apply for that year’s round of projects. Reflecting on my options, I drew upon other skills that I have: organisation and creativity – I worked part time as a high-school science teacher and sold some of my artwork on the side. Of course, this could only stretch so far, and I was also desperate to ‘properly’ start my career (and pay my rent).
I caught up with a friend who recalled that my favourite assignments always involved writing and data visualisation. They had been a medical writer for a while at this point and thought it was a perfect match for me; as such, my career search expanded to include laboratory and MedComms work. After a tough year, I miraculously had four interviews in one week, and my pick of offers.
Honestly, I initially accepted the pharmaceutical role – the easy option, local, well-paid, familiar work. Helios was my last interview, and as such the last company I heard from. It was positive news, and while I should say I was torn – I would need to move, I was inexperienced and it was stepping away from my plan – I knew I needed to be at Helios.
One of the things that struck this chord was the culture I experienced even in my interview. I was amazed at how enthusiastic the team was about my creative side and how we could utilise it. While we pride ourselves on being a great place to work, and I thoroughly enjoy having an active role in our wide range of social activities, it extends beyond that.
I had assumed, as many do, that I wanted to be a medical writer to keep ‘the science’. Joining as a scientific project co-ordinator (a role which blends project management with content generation), I figured I’d eventually follow the medical writer pathway…. Who was I kidding? I adored the variety and exposure to the industry I gained in this hybrid role. It allowed me to delve into a variety of therapy areas and content styles, while simultaneously thriving off the faster-paced world of project delivery and client liaison. Day-to-day, I could be working on symposia, advisory boards, patient-centric materials, educational videos, engagement with external experts and everything in between. I am now a scientific project leader, keeping my hybrid position, but
knowing that should I have a preference to steer one way or the other, Helios will continue to support me.
I had joked for a while that if I could find a job that was scientific, creative and ‘involved lists’, I’d be set, and I couldn’t be more thankful that I found that place on my first try.
This personal profile first appeared in the FirstMedCommsJob careers guide, The business of medical communications: a guide to getting started in account management, published January 2022
Meet representatives from Helios Global Group on 19 September. Meanwhile, find out more about them here.