Meet Joan, Senior Manager Development at Pleasanton, CA​

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Tell us a bit about yourself.

After some years working in the automobile industry sector as software developer, as software architect and as project manager, I joined Roche in May 2011. Back then, Roche was ramping up a software development department for GPS in Sant Cugat and was looking for software engineers. That same year, in October, I was appointed Software Project Leader and in January 2013 I became Team Leader and supported all molecular teams in Sant Cugat until May 2015, when I moved to Pleasanton with my family to lead the local GPS satellite group.

I enjoy working in an environment based on trust and where I can learn a lot from my colleagues and my experiences, and Roche has provided such environment ever since I joined.

Why did you decide to join Roche?

Before joining Roche, I was working in a different industrial sector with a very strong focus on delivery that negatively impacted all areas of development. Roche offered me the opportunity to develop myself in a sector where science and quality are as important as delivery, and with a work environment that favored team work and collaboration. At that time, Roche was ramping-up the GPS Software Development department in Sant Cugat and I felt I could contribute to it with my experience in software development and, at the same time, learn a lot from a new sector, Roche was also a global company that could offer wider opportunities for the future.

My work helps Roche to…

develop and deliver products to the market that provide solutions for the people and meet the highest levels of performance and quality.

It is really amazing how close we actually are to the patients and the impact our products may bring to their life. Being in Software development, we almost never deal with the patients themselves and it is often difficult to be aware of the impact of our products. I always recall the first time I realized we do play a role in it. It was when we launched a test as a companion diagnostic. Within a day from the launch, some patients that were not responding to standard treatment were tested and could receive immediate treatment with the new drug thanks to our new test. Knowing that, although small, we were a part in the development of the test makes me very proud. Even when our products are not directly related to a test or a diagnostics instrument, they do contribute to the development of new tests or instruments. We should remember this to ourselves more often.

How would you describe the culture and work environment at Roche?

Roche is a great place to work. It fosters a culture based on collaboration and team work where people are at the center. It is not easy to find an environment with such a mix of cultures and skills with a common goal, and where our culture is truly lived, and not just a few statements on paper. For me it is one of the best things, if not the best, of being in Roche, and a key factor to our success as a company.

How would you describe career development at Roche?

Roche provides many opportunities for personal career development. You can learn a lot from colleagues and from the experience in your work, and also have opportunities to shift gears and expand your knowledge in other areas by means of rotation programs or short assignments, or simply opting to other positions within the company. Of course, we do have to be aware of what are our current responsibilities and what is feasible at any point, but this really puts us in charge of how we want to grow in the company. And so far, at least for me, management and HR have always been supportive.

What has been your biggest opportunity to date within Roche?

I’ve had many opportunities since I joined Roche. If I have to choose one, probably my relocation from Sant Cugat to Pleasanton would be the biggest one, as it implied not only a new department, position and responsibilities, but also a complete change in my family’s life.

But I have to mention, as well, the very first opportunity I had after I joined Roche when I took over the Software Project Leader role in Sant Cugat, back in 2011. Looking through time, this was probably the most important opportunity I took, as it allowed me to start working with Roche Molecular Diagnostics and opened the way to all the following opportunities I’ve had.

How would you describe working at Roche?

Working at Roche is like being in a family. We always support and care for each other and look for solutions to move things forward instead of competing or finger-pointing. Things don’t always come out as we would like to, but we always have a solution-oriented attitude instead of blaming each other when things go wrong. For me, that’s the way to go and the key to our success in the long term.

What would you advise job seekers who want to join us?

I would advise anyone wanting to join Roche to bring their enthusiasm and willingness to work in an environment where everyone contributes their best and works towards a shared goal. And also to be open minded and adapt to changes and opportunities, both for themselves and for the projects they work in. Roche is a great place to be if they embrace the company’s culture and like working in such environment.

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