Meet Sandra, Senior Global Mobility Manager at Roche


Tell us a bit about yourself (previous jobs, lifetime ambitions, interesting hobbies, etc.)

My name is Sandra Probst-Gonçalves. I am Brazilian and grew up in São Paulo, where I worked for renowned international companies and developed my passion for languages and international environments. I moved to Switzerland 16 years ago and had the opportunity to continue to work with people from different countries in multicultural teams.

I spend my free time with family and friends. Whenever possible, I try to squeeze some Zumba classes or outdoor activity into my tight work/family schedule.

Where did you study?

I graduated from a technical commercial high school in São Paulo. In Switzerland I learned German and a bit of French, and continued to develop my expertise in international taxation, international and Swiss immigration law, and Swiss social security agreements, which is crucial for compliance aspects of Global Mobility. I am currently preparing for the Swiss federal PET diploma, equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management.

In which Roche location are you currently working?

I am working in Group HR in Basel at Messeplatz, one of the many Roche locations which are distributed all over the city of Basel. This is the most famous exhibition square in Switzerland.

What can you tell us about that location?

I have been commuting from Zurich to Basel for a couple of years, which takes me an hour and forty minutes door-to-door, each way. This is why I appreciate the opportunity Roche offers me to work from home, because I can spend the time saved on my commute with my family.

The Basel site is central, near the main train station and the historic city centre. The grounds are located along the beautiful Rhine. From my office on the 22nd floor at Messeplatz I have a great view of Basel, France and Germany!

It is amazing to see how this square changes its face every time a new exhibition or event comes, and how this is organised! Quite a number of sports and wellbeing activities are also available at the Basel site.

Why did you decide to join Roche?

Promising opportunities within the mobility area are limited. When I was offered a position as Global Mobility Manager within a very international team at Roche, I did not hesitate to take up the challenge. I think Roche is one of the best employers in Switzerland and I am able to take advantage of a flexible working model.

What is your current job?

Global Mobility is a Group HR function. Our role is to support international assignments. International assignments are temporary roles that Roche employees are selected to fulfill by working in another country. The role could be for a project or to fill a local position or to help the employee to develop their international experience or knowledge.

As Senior Global Mobility Manager, I am responsible for all assignment-related matters and exception management for defined business units, from defining International Assignment contract and compensation packages, through to managing external vendors and complex tax and legal requirements in order to facilitate the mobility of Roche talent, always focusing on compliance and customer orientation.

The ongoing training of Global and Local HR Business Partners in international assignment processes is also part of my role. I also had great opportunities to give training sessions in Mexico, South San Francisco and Brazil, meeting people we usually only know by phone and email. Such interactions improve teamwork!

Last but not least, we work on various challenging projects every year to improve processes, policies and communication among all our stakeholders around the world.

What makes it such a great job?

Being able to meet people from different cultures, speak different languages, and stay on top of ongoing global changes involving key drivers of international assignments such as tax, immigration, labour law and social security compliance. Developing attractive and competitive policies based on the Roche philosophy and business needs, knowing that our international assignees are doing now what patients need next.

Can you pick at least three of the attributes of Roche and explain in detail what they mean to you?

  • Work/life balance
    For the past three years, I worked from my home office twice a week. During a long day, when people expect you to be reachable most of the time, you are more productive and engaged if you know you have the flexibility to set your own private and professional priorities, participate more in family life or take some time for yourself, because the balance is there. I am also flexible whenever needed, to work late hours or to take a business trip on a day I was not supposed to work.
  • Development opportunities
    Roche offers employees a wide range of training and development opportunities. Making use of them depends very much on the initiative of employees and their line managers.
  • Organisational stability
    Roche is one of the best employers worldwide. It offers a wide range of benefits that are difficult to beat from my perspective. One notices the positive difference of working for a family-led organisation compared to other types of company structures.

Please complete the following sentence:

Roche is a great place to work because… members of management consider the people at Roche to be the company’s principal asset. Roche listens to employees and treats them with respect.

How would you describe the people working here?

Very international! More than 90 nationalities are represented in Basel and around 135 at Roche worldwide.

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

Take time over your first step, and do not hesitate to apply for your job or register in the Talent Pool even if there are no vacancies at present. Be flexible and open-minded.

Tags: Career Blog, HR, Switzerland