Lorna Towndrow, Training & Operations Manager at Ashfield and winner of both the Future Leaders and Outstanding Performer Pf Awards 2019, on preparing for success.
Congratulations on your double Pf Awards 2019 win! Thank you – it was amazing and a shock to hear my name called out from the stage. Being a finalist at the Pf Awards is such an incredible privilege in its own right, so to make it that far was an achievement – to win was even better! It wasn’t until I sat back in my seat that it really started to sink in, and I felt completely overwhelmed.
What made you enter the Pf Awards 2019? I actually applied for the Emerging Talent Award in 2018 and thoroughly enjoyed the assessment process – it was fantastic to be able to highlight the work I had been doing at Ashfield to industry experts and to meet other industry professionals. The atmosphere on the Pf Awards Assessment Day is both relaxed and professional, which makes it enjoyable and calms the nerves slightly! Unfortunately, I didn’t win in 2018, so when the opportunity was given to me by Ashfield to put myself forward for another award for 2019, I jumped at the chance.
“Without the consistent support from the beginning of my career with Ashfield I probably wouldn’t be here today”
How did Ashfield support you with your application? As always, I received fantastic support from various leaders throughout Ashfield during the application process. Initially, my manager was fantastic, encouraging and supporting me in selecting examples of my work that would demonstrate what I had achieved over the last 12 months.
For the Pf Awards Assessment Day, I was required to create a 30-minute presentation (with a maximum of five slides) on a leadership topic. For this, I sought support from our training manager, and we brainstormed ideas for the presentation to keep the content succinct and to really display my achievements at a top level.
Once the presentation was finalised, I practised (quite a lot!) and received feedback from one of Ashfield’s senior recruitment executives to make sure I was confident on the day.
In reality though, the support from Ashfield came long before my Pf Award applications. Since joining Ashfield in 2016, I have been provided with a number of fantastic opportunities across various areas of the business – it has been great to get involved and learn from senior leaders within the company.
Having this support and experience is essentially what contributed to and shaped my application. So, without the consistent support from the beginning of my career with Ashfield I probably wouldn’t be here today!
You won the Future Leaders Pf Award, what do you think made you stand out? The Pf Awards Assessment Day is all about showcasing what you have achieved, but I’d like to think that what made me stand out was that I focused not just on my achievements, but what they meant to Ashfield and my colleagues within the business. For example, in my presentation I discussed a recent training programme that I had put together – expanding to discuss how this helped develop our people, deliver successful projects to our clients and ultimately achieve our business goals. Also, despite the cliché, just being myself was really important on the day!
The assessors do make you feel relaxed and encourage you to make the most of the experience, so being confident and relaxed helped me to demonstrate and articulate myself in the best way.
You also won the Outstanding Performer Pf Award, how did it feel when you became a double winner? It really hadn’t even crossed my mind that I could/would win the Outstanding Performer Award, I was still so overwhelmed with winning the Future Leaders Award that I wasn’t fully concentrating.
It wasn’t until I heard my name again that I realised what had happened. I really couldn’t believe it and I was extremely proud to be recognised for this award.
What do you hope these Pf Awards wins will do for your career? I do think it is important to stay grounded after an experience like this. I hope to continue learning about our business and developing relationships across the pharmaceutical industry.
It would be great if I could just continue adding value in whatever I do; whether that be for our clients, healthcare professionals, or patients. The award wins will give me the confidence to continue progressing the same way I have up to now.
What are your plans for your future? To continue to develop myself and others, whilst fulfilling a career that I love! When I joined Ashfield, I wanted to be a medical sales representative in the field, and actually I was exposed to other interesting roles and opportunities. I am excited to see how the pharmaceutical industry develops over the next five, 10, 20 years, and even more excited to be a part of it!
Ashfield’s new MSL Academy
As the pharma industry evolves, so does the role of the medical science liaison (MSL). As this environment changes, we need to refine how we approach their training to ensure they demonstrate value for both customers and clients alike.
Ashfield’s MSL academy is a new training and development programme that has been created with these challenges in mind. It is suitable for new to industry MSLs, MSL managers, existing MSL teams and as a development programme for those considering transitioning into an MSL role.
Our comprehensive set of training materials has been reviewed by clinicians, key opinion leaders and HCPs across the UK to identify what skills are currently missing within MSL teams across the industry and to match the needs of the individuals that they will be communicating with.
Its modular format means that it can be tailored quickly for existing MSLs to focus on areas of development or update their core skills. As a full programme, it is suitable for new to industry MSLs and can also be used as a development/progression programme for experienced KAMs who may want to transition into an MSL role.
As an addition to the necessary scientific knowledge, a key area of MSL development lies within communications skills. Most MSLs are already scientifically competent by the nature of their academic background, but can sometimes have difficulty with communication, leadership and influencing skills.
For more information on Ashfield’s MSL services, go to www.ashfieldhealthcare.com