STEMM PROFILE: Wendy Carroll, MBA BE BCom | Head of Health Solutions, Innovation Business Unit at Sanofi | Sydney | NSW
“Build your networks of collaborators and confidantes from the word start. The most successful people realise that they can’t do it all on their own”
Wendy Carroll has Bachelor degrees in engineering (BE) and commerce (BCom) and a Masters in business administration (MBA). Wendy possesses over 13 years’ experience in commercial and innovation leadership roles across the pharmaceutical/biotech and medical-devices sectors within multi-national corporations. In her most recent role as Head of Health Solutions, Sanofi Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), Wendy was responsible for sourcing (through actively exploring partnership, in-licencing and collaboration opportunities) and building evidence-based service/technology interventions that aimed to improve people’s health outcomes. Prior to her role in Sanofi’s “Innovation start-up”, Wendy held the roles of Head of Evidence Value Development and Head of Medical Communications and Programs and reported to Sanofi ANZ’s Medical Director.
Wendy’s career in healthcare began with Johnson & Johnson Medical where she progressed to lead a regional sales team for Ethicon Endo-Surgery and headed up the marketing function for Ethicon Australia and New Zealand. In all these roles, Wendy has demonstrated a strong track record of achievement in terms of building business, creating a pipeline of high potential talent and change management to enable commercial success. She attributes her success to a keen interest in finding new ways to solve business challenges and strong collaboration skills to bring together the right combination of internal and stakeholders to go about meeting those challenges.
Wendy’s professional interests include application of ‘real world’ data in value demonstration and the role of disruptive innovation to create breakthroughs in healthcare delivery. Wendy is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and active member of the Health Informatics Society of Australasia.
What would you say is your most valuable personal attribute that has helped you succeed?
Humility and being able to collaborate well with other people. Rarely can you solve a problem in the real world on your own. Knowing who can help and actively engaging with them can make all the difference to you being able to succeed in overcoming a challenge.
What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful leader?
Inspiration, Authenticity and Belief in their teams’ ability to achieve. Successful leaders create leaders. They are self-aware and able to inspire you to go beyond your comfort zone, to learn new skills, and motivate you to excel. They do so through role-modelling the change they want to see, or through providing the necessary framework, coaching and support to enable you to be successful. They are comfortable with risk taking and know that sometimes the best learning happens when you fail.
If at times your confidence is a little shaky, where do you turn?
Remember that past success is the best predictor of future success – look back at what you have achieved in situations where the problem was difficult and the outcome far from clear. Connect with trusted people in your network and ask them to be your sounding board. I am yet to think of an occasion when I reached out for advice and was told to “go away”.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to women just starting their careers in science?
Build your networks of collaborators and confidantes from the word start. The most successful people realise that they can’t do it all on their own. This doesn’t mean baring your soul on Facebook and twitter either. It is about investing time in being genuinely interested in what others do, proactively keeping in contact and reciprocating with your help before it is needed.
If you have transitioned careers, what was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
You really have to be comfortable your decision to “start over” and colleagues treating you like you are at ground-zero. While you are coming to terms with “re-learning” the ropes from a subject matter/technical perspective, don’t lose sight of the fact that you also bring a wealth of experience in other areas – it may be project management, dismantling complex problems into tangible/achievable tranches, collaboration with disparate stakeholders etc. Know when to leverage your strengths vs trying to be the superstar in the new domain too soon.