A real commitment to sustainability
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Starting July 2019, I have been working as SMA Rare Conditions Partner (RCP) for Turkey and Iran. This is not a new position just for me; it is also a new position for the entire organization. I see many connections between the creation of this position and transformation journeys that we are going through now. It’s usually exciting and sometimes “intimidating” to explore new possibilities with this position as I am also exploring a new therapeutic area. I think most of us in Roche feel the same as we go through this bold transformation process.
As an RCP, I try to position myself as a single point of contact of Roche within the SMA eco-system.I often find myself amazed with the complexity of the networks, relationships and the problems within such a small patient population. Sometimes, it feels like following a single line of thread. Sometimes I end up with knots. I find value in providing simplicity and clarity to our stakeholders in areas where complexity and ambiguity increases on daily basis. On the other hand, courage and eagerness to collaborate and, determination of the people I have met during last 6 months, inspires me and gives me hope for a better future for SMA patients.
It is important to see the missing part of the puzzle with my own eyes.
I worked as an emergency room doctor for two years before joining Roche. I would not describe my working conditions as preferable back then. I used to have 24-hour non-stop shifts where I had to deal with 300 – 400 patients a day and I used to have 12 of these shifts within a month. This means that most of the time I had to spent one entire day working and the other day sleeping. Then again, when I look back, during these five years there has been times that I missed working in ER. I used to work in a small town and used to come across with people whom I had helped on the streets, markets or restaurants. I could see the impact of my efforts almost simultaneously. I used to feel like that I was making a valuable contribution to the society I was living in.
Then I realized that it was not the ER I was missing, missing part was the feeling of valuable impact. As a Medical Manager and MSL Head at Roche, I worked with great products. With treatments like ours, it was obvious that we were changing people’s lives, probably much more than a small town doctor. But again the feeling of valuable impact was missing.
Being a RCP has changed this for me. I do not know if this is just related with this position or this is born out of ongoing transformation, now I can spend most of my time within the eco-system. Sometimes it is a hospital corridor, sometimes it is dim-lighted governmental building, and I can see and interact with all stakeholders directly. They are not some numeric data in a market research report anymore. This exposure helps me to see the gap, missing piece of the puzzle with my own eyes and when we fill that gap, hopefully I will see the impact as well. Now I see small babies waiting in hospital corridors for their treatment. I hope, one day, my eyes will see those corridors empty.
The place to Work
Roche is the only corporate job experience I had so far. Hence, I cannot compare it to other companies. However, there are two aspects of Roche that I admire most that keep reminding me that I am doing the right job in in the right place.
First of all, Roche is an extremely patient-centric organization. Patient centricity was one of my concerns during my transition to pharma industry. When I see my colleagues’ efforts to improve people’s lives and to overcome difficulties for them, I feel like I am standing alongside with the right people. Everybody around me naturally acts with high ethical standards and no one allows for a conflict between commercial and ethical motivations.
Secondly, Roche always kept my mind occupied with new challenges and new knowledge. I am a curious person by nature. I like learning and experiencing new things. I was always nosy with my colleagues’ work. Although I admit, sometimes this attitude of mine can be disturbing. However, at Roche, I always received a warm welcome to learn about their job and share my ideas. Nobody asks me to back off when I come up with something new. I believe it is something within Roche’s DNA. This approach helped me to learn new skills and go beyond what I am capable of. When I joined Roche, I was just a medical specialist, but now I strongly believe that I can contribute as a marketing, digital solution, public communication, regulatory and access specialist. I believe I can do all these because my colleagues support and encourage me to believe so. Even if I make a mistake, I know that there are people around me to whom I can talk in a very open and constructive way.
When I heard about the new transformation process and values that come with it, I understood that nothing I have experienced so far is a coincidence. “Challenging”, “experimenting”, “collaborative” and “trusting” are not just words for me to define a process, but they also describe my colleagues. I think it is quite understandable because, if you look at it, an organization, a company culture is nothing more than the sum of its employees.