Meet Matt, Head of Business Support

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Why do you think you have stayed with Roche for 10 years?

For sure it’s the people. I started my career at Roche, so there is an argument that I don’t know what else is out there. However, when you work with smart, engaged & friendly individuals in a flexible working environment on tasks and activities that support your continuous development - why would you want to work anywhere else?

What do you do at Roche?

My role at Roche is to head up the Business Support Group in Country Clinical Operations (CCO) UK. We’re a team of around 20 people who cover a wide variety of activities from clinical study start up including contracts, ethics & safety to resource management & vendor oversight. With at least 10 different job roles in our group and even more areas of responsibility, it’s certainly a diverse and interesting role.

How did you get to where you are currently?

My career started at Roche back in 2006, when I applied to do a placement year during my Pharmaceutical Science degree. Following graduation in the summer of 2008, I was lucky enough to secure a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) role, with some on the job training to boot! Having spent 5 years monitoring clinical trials in the UK from Phase I - III and covering a number of therapy areas, I moved to be a Business Support Manager, where the underlying mission was data driven decision making in our clinical trial execution. Having enjoyed system & process development at a local level, I completed a 9 month rotation in a global role, supporting system and process projects for all of CCO. This finished in the summer of 2015, when I applied for the Head of Business Support role. It was always a bit of a gamble, as I started the role with no line management experience, but my manager was really supportive. I’ve been in role for 2.5 years now and it has continued to evolve.

What do you think makes a person successful at Roche?

I think it’s hard to define a particular thing or skillset that makes you successful at Roche, as everyone is different, and that diversity in turn is what makes them, their team and Roche successful. That said, I would potentially call out two things. The first would be people’s ownership & pride in their work, allowing them to demonstrate their passion for what they do. As a manager, this is a really good thing to see, and can be inspiring to others. The second is around making connections, and recognising in a company of this size, if you’re not sure, someone else probably has the answer. Roche has invested in training to support people to connect with others in a large, global organisation.

What advice would you offer someone who has just started at Roche/looking to join Roche?

It’s always a risk, but so long as time allows, say yes to everything! It’s the advice I give to the new students who start in our department year on year. Roche is such a big company with so much opportunity, the only way to experience it all is to be open to it.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

I think for me the diversity of the group can often feel a little mind boggling, with so many moving parts, it’s hard to keep on top of. That’s why I feel privileged to be surrounded by such a capable team who make my life easier! Only recently did one of my team say to me “The really interesting thing about your job is that you see how it all fits together”, and I have never really thought of it that way before. Understanding how a change in a start up process could result in more resource, or a change with one of our vendors definitely keeps my brain busy - but is also the most interesting.

What is your favourite aspect of your current role?

The people leadership / line management of my current role is the piece I definitely enjoy the most. It’s the part of my role where I am always learning. When I started as Head of Business Support in July 2015, I had three direct reports. Now we’re a team of ~20 people, where I have 7 direct reports and the opportunity to lead leaders. I definitely find the conversations that come through the development of my team and watching them succeed incredibly rewarding.

How does your work connect with doing now what patients need next?

Working in Country Clinical Operations, we oversee the delivery of 120+ trials in the UK across a whole range of molecules and therapy areas. Having been a CRA, some of my most memorable moments in my career have been seeing the positive results of our innovative medicines - and the benefits they bring. Whilst I am a little further removed than when I was monitoring patients on the trials, I still feel the connection and responsibility of supporting the development of our diverse pipeline - ultimately resulting in better treatment options for patients.

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