Sue MacLeman FTSE, Chair & NED of MTPConnect, and IMNIS Mentor [Image: S. MacLeman]

“I was able to provide my mentee advice on how to better articulate and target her CV, as well as understand and take advantage of her specific value proposition”

Sue MacLeman FTSE is the Chair and Non-Executive Director at the Industry Growth Centre MTPConnect. She has more than 25 years experience as a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology executive with roles in corporate, medical, commercial and business development at Schering-Plough Corporation (now Merck), Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Mesoblast Ltd. Sue has also served as CEO and Board member of several ASX- and NASDAQ-listed companies in the sector and is currently a non-executive director at Reproductive Health Sciences Ltd and Oventus Medical Ltd.

Sue is also active on both government and academic advisory committees including being a member of the Genomics Health Futures Steering Committee (MRFF),Targeted Translation Research Accelerator (TTRA) program , CSIRO Health and Biosecurity Advisory Committee and Australian Advisory Board Technology and Healthcare Competitiveness – Healthcare Committee. She is also Chair of Stem Cells Australia’s Development Advisory Committee.

Sue MacLeman has been an IMNIS mentor since the IMNIS MedTech-Pharma Pilot in 2016.

Why did you participate in the IMNIS program?

The IMNIS program provides an invaluable service to the next generation of STEM, supporting them through research and academia and out into the big, wide world that is at their fingertips. It is known that there is a need to greater connection and translation between research and industry, and the IMNIS program provides that early on, helping students gain an understanding of the breadth of the sector and how they can fit into it, as well as providing industry with access to an incredible pool of talent.

Do you have a mentor(s)? What is the most crucial aspect of this professional relationship for you? 

Yes I have been fortunate and have had various mentors throughout my career. Often they are people I admire or those that had  a skill that I knew I needed to  improve upon. To be able to discuss your developmental needs in a supportive confidential environment with someone with experience /expertise that knows what it takes is extremely helpful.

How often did you meet with your mentee and did you prepare for these meetings?

My mentee is a neuroscience PhD Scholar studying the molecular changes in cells of the central nervous system vasculature in a mouse model of autoimmune driven neurodegeneration at La Trobe University. She is an international student who has been lucky enough to work with Novartis in Basel which utilised her animal model  for drug development . She has also worked as a research assistant and laboratory demonstrator, and is highly engaged in student activities at the university. We regularly meet to keep up-to-date on each other’s activities, as well as delve into the range of roles that my mentee may be interested in to figure out where her passions lay. I was able to provide my mentee advice on how to better articulate and target her CV, as well as understand and take advantage of her specific value proposition.

Would you recommend participating in the IMNIS program to your colleagues?

I would highly recommend people within our sector to participate in the IMNIS program. The support and value provided to participating students is invaluable in helping them to secure a foothold in establishing their career, as well as to understand the multitude of ways that their skills can be applied  – thinking outside the box to find a career path best suited to them, or even build their own.

What was the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you?

It was a great experience working so closely with my mentee, and being able to see how taking a little time out made such as difference to her career progression and understanding of the STEM sector. She is now undergoing an internship at MTPConnect, where we hope that her knowledge and experience will continue to grow, and we feel very proud to provide mentorship and support to the bright starts of our future.