Beth O’Leary, Executive Director at Covance and IMNIS Mentor in the 2017 MedTech-Pharma Program in NSW

“Mentoring is a valuable mechanism by which to build strong relationships between individuals at different stages of their careers”

Beth O’Leary heads up the Market Access Services Asia Pacific consulting team at Covance, a multinational contract research organization that advises pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies on gaining market access to their products.  She oversees the strategic development, business development, and operational aspects of the business.  In 2016, Beth took on a secondment in London where she led European and UK focused health technology assessment engagements.

Prior to joining Covance, Beth held roles with Quintiles and Wyeth and lecturing positions at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University.

Beth has an MPH and a BSc (Hons) from The University of Western Australia and the Sloan MSc (Leadership and Strategy) from London Business School.

Why are you participating in the IMNIS program?

Over the years, I have been fortunate to have received insightful and valuable guidance from my peers and I am pleased to have the opportunity to pay back.  Mentoring is a valuable mechanism by which to build strong relationships between individuals at different stages of their careers. 

 What is the most crucial aspect of this professional relationship for you?

Over the years I have accumulated experience and knowledge of how organisations work and how to maximise my effectiveness in an organisation.  I hope to be able to pass on insights to help individuals transition between the academic and commercial environments.

When you meet with your mentee, do you work together on a set of goals or do you go where the conversation takes you?

To date, we have had conversation over coffee!  The conversation was around where the student wanted to be, and the various pathways to getting there.

What are the key skills PhD students need to successfully collaborate with and/or work in industry?

The students need to be flexible and adapt their skills to different situations.  In addition to subject matter expertise, they need to understand the objectives of the organisation they are working with/for as well as the individuals within it.  Working with others is a crucial skill in the workforce.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you so far?

I have gained insight into the decisions that young bright people need to make in order to achieve their life’s goals and aspirations.