Bsc Bioscience to Clinical Research Associate
Name:Jennifer Dominic (She/Her)
Current role:Transitioning from a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) to a Chief of Staff (CoS) to the Managing Director of a Pharmaceutical company
A levels/ equivalent :Biology, Chemistry, Physics & Maths
Undergrad degree:BSc Bioscience
Favourite science fact: An individual blood cell takes about 60 seconds to make a complete circuit of the body
What motivated you to pursue a career in science
I have always thrived in subjects that allowed me to understand the world we live in. Developing scientific knowledge and understanding the theory which underpins this really helps to acknowledge the potential of science to improve and help lives. With clinical research and human biology specifically I have been able to be part of some of the greatest advances in science and human history.
Journey in 3 Words :Unique, Complex, Informative
Briefly describe your role
CRA( Clinical Research Associate): The main function of a CRA is to monitor clinical trials. A CRA reviews study progress, the quality and accuracy of data collection, compliance of patients to trial visits and assessments, and investigational product accountability, and will ensure good clinical practices are maintained throughout the trial and offer direction when needed. During a trial, the CRA conducts regular site visits—virtually and physically—to ensure proper progress and record keeping on the part of the clinical site.
CoS( Chief of Staff) : In general a CoS works with the leader of an organization and their leadership team. I will be working behind the scenes to implement strategic initiatives, support the leadership team solve problems and deal with issues before they are brought to the managing director. Often chiefs of staff act as a confidant and advisor to the chief executive/managing director, acting as a sounding board for ideas. Ultimately the actual duties depend on the position and the people involved.
What transferable skills do you use from your degree now in your job
Regardless of the role you work in within my current field the core skills are all regularly utilised in everyday life as a student on most courses particularly science based courses. Communications, teamwork and collaboration skills will always be critical skills to communicate effectively and work with others (think group work!).In addition, analytical skills in my previous role were used almost daily to interpret patient information and data. This was to ensure they are eligible patients to be enrolled into our clinical trials.
Why didn’t you go for the option of further study and what advice would you give an undergrad wanting to follow your career path?
It was a very difficult decision for me that was very much influenced by my experience whilst working as a lab researcher for my university. Through this my passion for science intensified and so did my ambition to want to contribute to healthcare which led me to a career in clinical research and 5 years later I am currently looking into what postgraduate degree options there are to further my studies which support and complement my career so watch this space!
When considering your career path, how much has your potential salary affected your decision?
Salary was a factor but not a huge one. My whole career path to date has been focused on roles that have allowed me to gain a wealth of experience! Making sure I was well equipped for roles that would grant me growth, as this is key to achieve my future career ambitions.
You run an amazing platform called Wenite - how do you maintain balance with your main job?
Great question! Maintaining balance is key for peace of mind - I try my best to implement barriers and boundaries to make sure I have sufficient time for all elements of my life: family, faith, friends, Wenite, career goals, etc. Some weeks are great and other weeks I can do better but I am committed to establishing a strong equilibrium in my life! Last year with Wenite I decided to operate a bit differently as I found that it was taking a lot of mine and my team of 2 at the times’ time. Since then we have increased the team size to 9 and outsourced as much as possible. This new structure has allowed us to innovate more, increase efficiency and with lower time commitment. Spreading the workload between the team has allowed me to draw on shared passion for science with a highly talented group of friends that I have worked or interacted with in my own personal life/career journey.
What advice do you give in terms of networking and how have you gone about building meaningful connections?
Networking is key - this is something we see and hear about all the time and as cliche as it sounds it really is important to network ‘authentically’. I have always enjoyed meeting new individuals and sharing ideas/thoughts, especially through my involvement in groups of interest such as the Women of Colour in Pharma, I was able to connect with women who inspired me, empowered me and understood me.
What advice would you give on dealing with rejection and perseverance?
To deal with rejection and perseverance, its important to fall back on your support network, who’s primary aim is to help you achieve your personal or professional goals. The network does not have to be large and it does not have to be limited to your friendship. Find people you connect with that allow you to feel vulnerable and share, vent, express your feelings to them. Most of the time they won’t be able to do anything but often they empower you to be able to cope with the stresses of life best!
Outside science how would you describe yourself ?
Serioholic - I love to binge watch shows!
Connect with Jennifer
Linkedin: Jennifer Dominic & Wenite