|Grainne Dunne an ODP Pharmacist at AbbVie talks to Smart Futures about her career.
What are the main tasks, responsibilities and skills required?
I joined AbbVie in 2013 as a Pharmacist on the Operations Development Program (ODP). The ODP is a two-year training program offered by the company with three eight-month assignments in different areas of the Operations business. My first assignment as an Industrial Pharmacist was in AbbVie’s Sligo Pharmaceutical facility. Here, I worked on many projects from technical transfers to the design and co-ordination of development trials. I was encouraged to seek out opportunities and to get involved in any project or business area I thought would be of value to me and my career. I am currently on my second rotation. I am working in AbbVie’s Cork facility. The ODP requires that you do an elective assignment in a functional area outside your field. I chose Business Excellence and Supply Chain.
Describe a typical day?
It depends on the rotation. Currently I am involved in the planning operations for the Cork site. I take part in cross functional team meetings with Production and Quality to generate and ensure adherence to monthly and weekly production, release and shipping schedules. I work on global teams around the receipt and consolidation of customer demand. I also have projects with Supply Chain. I am currently mapping and benchmarking our Change Control Process with the view to optimising our current procedure.
I work as a part of a global team that makes a remarkable impact on patients’ lives around the world.
What are the main challenges?
I am challenged daily but I see this as a good thing as I am constantly learning.
Who or what has most influenced your career direction?
I decided to work in the Pharmaceutical Industry because I wanted a career that allowed me to work on diverse challenges and to continuously develop and learn. I am given great advice and guidance from other AbbVie employees in particular my mentor Mairead Dunne, the Abbvie Cork Site Director.
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Yes, definitely. There is a great work life balance and I have made a lot of friends through work. When I started everyone in Cork and Sligo were so kind and I settled in very quickly. We also organise a lot of social activities outside of work.
What subjects did you take in school and did they influence your career path?
I studied Chemistry and Biology. I really enjoyed them and this influenced me when deciding to study pharmacy.
What is your education to date?
I went to St Leo’s College Carlow. I studied Pharmacy in Trinity College Dublin and completed a Masters of Pharmacy in RCSI. I have completed a RAPS Regulatory Affairs Certificate course and have started a Process and Chemical Engineering Certificate. Continuous learning is very important to me.
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
It was very valuable to have studied Chemistry and Biology for studying Pharmacy. In my current role Chemistry and Pharmaceutics (the study of drug design) is important. I think the skills you develop in college are also very valuable like time management and communication skills.
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
Qualities which I think are valuable are an interest in science, good communication skills, an ability to adapt to change, teamwork and an analytical mind. I think it is very important to be respectful and helpful to those you work with.
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
Try get a placement in a pharmaceutical company – Abbvie have a very good Intern Programme.