Pauwels Blog

Consultant in the pharmaceutical industry: an enriching experience

18 Oct 2019
In our series ‘Pauwels People’, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about their projects and experiences. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Isabelle Gille, consultant in the pharmaceutical sector at Pauwels Consulting.
Isabelle, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Isabelle: Of course! My name is Isabelle Gille. Three and a half years ago, after an atypical career path, I joined the Pauwels Consulting team as a pharmaceutical consultant.

I was able to join the team thanks to my expertise in the field of quality. My expertise covers quality control, quality assurance, management of preventive and remedial actions or non-conformities, training, etc.

What studies did you complete and where did you graduate?

Isabelle: In 1998, I obtained my master’s degree in biology with a six-month placement in Laos. I then undertook three years of doctoral research in cellular and molecular biology.

Interesting! Where have you been working?

Isabelle: I’ve always wanted to work in humanitarian aid. I was able to find my first job as project manager for ‘Louvain Développement’ thanks to this vocation. My next experience was international and took place in Bolivia where I was responsible for the financial and practical aspects of the project.

On my return to Belgium and after one year of research in biology, I was then employed by ‘Direct Dialogue Fundraising’ as a representative for UNICEF. Over two years, I progressed in this organisation: representative, coach and then fundraiser manager for six NGOs, for the Walloon Region.

After this extremely enriching experience, both on a humane and professional level, I wanted to do a trainer’s course. I then worked as a team coach in a call centre for two years.

In 2013, I became self-employed, set up my own company and embarked upon the wonderful learning experience of being a freelancer. In 2014, I returned to the classroom and did a training with ‘Cefochim’ in order to become a production technician in cell culture. I completed my training successfully at the end of December 2014 and in March 2015, I crossed paths with Pauwels Consulting.

Pauwels Consulting is a company in full development, where a family atmosphere remains the priority.

And why did you choose Pauwels Consulting?

Isabelle: Pauwels Consulting is a company in full development, where a family atmosphere remains the priority. I’ve always felt appreciated here. I was warmly welcomed by the internal team: the recruiters, account manager and HR.

My profile allowed them to satisfy a customer and me to enrich my knowledge of the biopharmaceutical industry at the same time. In brief, a win-win situation that I appreciated.

Moreover, the company regularly organises in-house training along with afterworks, an end-of-year meal and a family day.

Pauwels Consulting also invests in sporting challenges and contributes to certain charitable causes.


What projects have you already pursued with Pauwels Consulting?

Isabelle: I worked as an environmental quality assurance technician for a year and I then worked as a quality control technician for a year.

From mid-July 2017, I have been taking part in helping to improve the quality system by investigating non-conformities in a team of around twenty consultants in the north of France. Fifteen months later, my international mission is still ongoing.

“An experience abroad is an added value in the development of my career.”

Does cooperation with your foreign colleagues work well?

Isabelle: Perfectly. I work in an international team of around twenty consultants that is also multidisciplinary and composed of juniors and seniors.

The diversity of the team is enriching on a professional level. The exchange of skills and experience allows us to offer customers a comprehensive service. When professional issues arise, the team can offer the necessary support.

Given that the majority of us live in ‘expatriate’ mode, the group is also a second ‘family’. We share our evenings, our joys. It’s a way of enlarging our network, of making new friends.

So, you find this international experience enriching?

Isabelle: Without a doubt. Firstly, I’ve learned a new profession. Thanks to our customers’ activities, I’ve learned and continue to learn about the production processes for lyophilised therapeutic drugs.

France is a neighbouring country that borders Belgium and working there has allowed me to open up to a new culture, a new region and therefore to grow on a personal level.

Working abroad is an effective means to meet others and to learn from your contact with them.

An experience abroad is an added value in the development of my career and one that has helped me to understand myself better. I better analyse my skills and limits nowadays. I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone.

“Providing the customer with real added value is one of our daily challenges.”

To conclude, what are the qualities that you stress as a consultant?

Isabelle: Having good technical skills is a basic requisite. I must be able to give customers satisfaction and to achieve the expected results. It’s equally important to be flexible and to listen carefully to the need of the customer. As a consultant, I regularly change environment, customer and mission. So, it’s important that I adapt quickly. Thanks to this experience, I’ve learned to be operational within a few days.

In addition, mobility, at least on a regional scale, is often expected even if it is not explicitly requested. When I started off with ‘Pauwels Consulting’, I didn’t imagine that an international opportunity would present itself. For the last fifteen months, I have been offering my skills, expertise and advice to one of our French customers. Providing the customer with real added value is one of our daily challenges. This requires working out his needs in order to offer him the most satisfactory solution.

Moreover, maintaining a good relationship and communication is vital. Integration into the customer’s team is very important. This has to be achieved quickly. Such contact is crucial if we want to continue giving advice and getting certain ideas across, which is not always so easy to achieve for a new, external team member.

Lastly, knowing how to work in a team is essential. We are not there to revolutionise the customer’s ideas. We provide him with specific solutions to the problem he has encountered and we monitor the change.

A beautiful conclusion, Isabelle. Thank you for the interview and here’s wishing you success with your projects!

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