Graduating with a Physics degree at Oxford University, I switched science for sales and marketing early on in my career following the completion of a Diploma in Marketing and a Sloan Masters programme. I joined GSK in 2003 following an introduction at a networking event.
The early part of my career at GSK was spent in a variety of Consumer Healthcare roles. I then made the switch to our Pharmaceuticals business. Within a short space of time, I had been selected to undertake a secondment in our Future Strategy Group (FSG), a development programme for emerging leaders across the business who come together to work on a project determined by senior leadership. While the project was my main focus, I was also expected to work on my longer-term career aspirations, which in my case included an ambition to become a General Manager (GM) within our Pharmaceuticals business.
The FSG secondment opened a door for me. On the back of the recommendations from my FSG project, a new Singapore-based role was created, and I relocated there in 2011.
But it wasn’t just myself I had to consider – I am a single parent with a young son, William, who was just over 3 years old when I moved to Asia. When I first had William, I always thought that my career would remain in strategy roles. But my time in the FSG made me realise that if I wanted to achieve my long-term ambitions, I would need to work in other markets.
After two years in Singapore, I was asked to consider a collaborative Pharmaceuticals / Consumer Healthcare role. It became clear that the role would require extensive long-haul travel which I felt would be detrimental to William, so I declined the opportunity. GSK was very understanding, and I was offered an alternative role which would support my personal commitments and my ambitions to become a GM.