In our series 'Pauwels People' we talk with our consultants about life as a consultant, working for Pauwels Consulting and our clients. Today we speak to mother Rita & daughter Zenzi who both work as Life Sciences consultants, a family unique for Pauwels Consulting! Zenzi works at J&J as Microbiology Expert Support and Rita works in Switzerland as Senior Project Manager.
Hi Rita & Zenzi, can you introduce yourselves?
Rita: Sure, together with my husband Patrick, I’m a proud parent of Zenzi, Egon & Reina. I got my Master’s degree in Electromechanical Engineering in 1989. I have a knack for languages (French, English, German, Spanish,…) and love to travel and work in Asia and Europe. I have been lucky in the sense that since my first job as a Project Engineer at Air products, I had the opportunity to regularly go on business trips to e.g. England, Scotland, Italy, France & the Netherlands.
I became acquainted with Pauwels Consulting during my projects at various pharmaceutical companies. I knew that it was a partner for strengthening a project team with people who have specific knowledge within validation, quality control and quality assurance. By now, these areas of expertise have grown. At the moment, I have been working in the pharmaceutical & biotechnological sector for about 15 years and I have already gained a lot of technical knowledge.
I have a real passion for “beauty, perfection, quality, uniqueness, authenticity & learning”. I highly value these concepts and always work in a result-oriented way in order to achieve one or more, at and off work.
Zenzi: Hi, I am Rita’s daughter 🙂 and obtained my Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at KU Leuven in 2017. Shortly after, I started my career as a Project Coordinator at Medpace Reference Laboratories, where they conduct clinical research. This job taught me a lot about planning, deadlines and clear communication. Since my start at Pauwels Consulting in 2019, I also work as a Life Sciences consultant.
Which projects do you currently work on?
Rita: Since August 2018, I work in Switzerland at a big pharmaceutical company as Project Manager Engineering for the Greenfield Project: “Next Generation Manufacturing Facility”. We’re building a new bio-manufacturing Cell according to a modular design with an optimized output. Very exciting. I’m having a great time here and recently, my team grew with a new Pauwels colleague, so that’s nice :).
Zenzi: I started my first project at J&J as Microbiology Expert Support in the DPDS Microbiology department. Here, I mainly work on the testing methods of microbial purity of medication in production and the transfer of these methods to all sites.
Was a foreign project always on your ‘career to-do list’, Rita?
Rita: Due to my previous experiences abroad, I was not specifically looking for a new foreign project, but the combination of the assignment and the Swiss challenge was the deciding factor for me to leap once again :).
Zenzi, you’ve heard a lot of stories from your mum, did you think you would apply here?
Zenzi: Not right away, we both knew we were in contact with Pauwels Consulting, but each in our own way. My mum chose Pauwels Consulting because the Swiss project seemed like a great challenge for her to carry out. I chose Pauwels Consulting because of the variety of assignments at different clients I could do and the atmosphere.
Actually, when I applied, I didn’t say anything about the fact that my mum already worked here. It’s only later on, that I mentioned it to my account manager Jelle Vandemenschbrugge, who of course, was very surprised but quickly reacted positively and spread the good news :).
“Don’t think, but reflect on it”
Would a foreign experience also appeal to you, Zenzi?
Zenzi: I’m definitely open to the possibility! My career is still in its infancy and I still have a lot to learn. If there were a professional opportunity, geographical borders would certainly not stop me!
What makes a project interesting?
Rita: A fascinating project is one in which I can make choices and take responsibility, but still keep the balance between applying my current experience and acquiring new knowledge. I can certainly find that balance in this project and that makes working at Pauwels Consulting great.
Zenzi: A job is interesting to me if I can learn a lot professionally. I like a challenge! That means that I like to face a problem that I can sink my teeth into, understand how the problem arose and come to a solution. This is, of course, best when you are surrounded by experienced and intelligent colleagues :). And there is no shortage of that at Pauwels Consulting and J&J!
That is certainly true! By the way, how is the collaboration with Sofie, your fellow Pauwels Consulting colleague?
Zenzi: We have a pleasant and smooth collaboration. Hopefully, she feels the same way 😉 (laughs). Sofie is a friendly and intelligent woman, she has a lot of experience and explains everything very clearly to me. I’m learning a lot at the moment! We can also chat about all sorts of things, which makes for fun relaxation during lunch breaks.
What do you like about working for Pauwels Consulting and its clients?
Rita: Working as a consultant at Pauwels Consulting gives me the opportunity to choose the assignments where I can apply my experience, but still offer me enough challenge and where I keep learning!
“You yourself are at the proverbial wheel of your career”
Zenzi: For me, the atmosphere at Pauwels Consulting was decisive. Of course, I had heard many stories from my mum but as a scientist, I always think: “first seeing, then believing”. My first contact was with Valentijn Velghe, a recruitment consultant, who welcomed me very warmly. He conveys the open, honest and supportive culture of Pauwels Consulting very well.
In addition, later on, I was well received by Sofie and Junior, who also works at J&J. Every month, we have lunch with all J&J – Pauwels Consulting colleagues to keep in touch, because we work across different departments. I think it’s a great initiative!
At J&J, I really enjoy working with all my colleagues, including the employees of J&J, which is not unimportant to me! I can easily get in touch with anyone with my questions, so I can learn a lot quickly.
Would you like to work together once and would that go well, you think? 🙂
Zenzi: Sure! I think I can also learn a lot from my mum. I’m curious about our interaction on a professional level… Would our bond change anything or not? We know each other through and through, much better than average colleagues, the small gestures and unique traits, the things to which we attach importance,… Actually, I suspect that just like at home, we would make a good team professionally and complement each other very well.
Rita: I would certainly like to collaborate with Zenzi provided that her way of working is a good fit with mine. We are both result-oriented, focused on what needs to be done with respect for the agreements made and this in the most efficient way. Moreover, we could perhaps challenge each other about certain methodologies or the plan of approach. That would certainly make the collaboration interesting!
Zenzi, do you think your mom could learn something from you?
Zenzi: Hah, the question we should probably ask is: What can’t I learn from my mom? (laughs). Sorry for the cliché, but my mom truly is my heroine! A woman of great ability, knowledge and experience. I wouldn’t know where to start to teach her :). I’m very proud to say that Rita is my mom!
Some wise words from my childhood that I learned from, guess who, my mom, might be applicable here… “Don’t think, but reflect on it.” Always look at the situation from multiple perspectives, don’t jump to a certain conclusion without having all the information.
Rita, do you have any advice for Zenzi and starters like her?
Rita: Advice for starters hmmm… Don’t forget, you’re at the proverbial helm of your career. Your vision and insights determine your own growth, not only professionally but also personally. Moreover, you are not alone on this journey!