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#ImBlackInPharma | Dr Gillian Lakareber

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

Dr Gillian Lakareber - Senior Project Manager

What do you do?

I’m a Senior Project Manager for a Clinical Research Organisation (CRO). My role entails full project management responsibility for all aspects of phase I-IV clinical studies from start-up to close-out. I work with “complex” or "non-complex" studies, across several countries and with various investigator sites. On a daily basis, I liaise with other cross-functional service team leads (Clinical, Regulatory, Biometrics, Medical, Pharmacovigilance, Technical Writing, Laboratory, IMP Management, Contracts) and vendors, to ensure clinical trials are conducted with optimal quality, on time and on budget such that subjects' rights, safety and well-being are protected and that the clinical trial data are reliable. Sometimes I’m invited to provide support to Commercial Development for new or repeat business by inputting into Requests for Proposals (RFP). My current specialization is oncology, but I have experience in other therapeutic areas as well.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy working with cross functional teams and I’m passionate about raising awareness of robust patient recruitment strategies in clinical research.

How did you get into Pharma?

My 1st job after completing University was as a Research Scientist working in the early phases of drug development. During this time, I also undertook a part time master’s degree in Clinical Research, which enhanced my understanding of the process of conducting clinical research in humans. As a result of company restructuring, my role became redundant; this gave me the opportunity to seek out Clinical research roles. Soon after, I got my 1st job as a CRA after successfully conducting the interview in a medical device company.

Why Pharma?

In the words of Steve Maraboli, I quote “It is not about what I see for our future, or humanity. It’s about what I do for our future and humanity”. Through my work I’m able to meaningfully contribute to the process of getting lifesaving medical interventions to patients across the world. In the pursuit to share my knowledge in clinical research, I have authored a book titled ‘A Guide to Patient Recruitment & Retention in Clinical Research: The 6 Core Outcome Factors which affect patient recruitment’ 2021. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

What has your experience been being #BlackInPharma?

In most cases I always find myself to be the ‘only’ black person in the room. However, with time there has been progress and more black people are increasingly being represented within Clinical research. Nonetheless, I have been afforded great opportunities for advancement and recognition throughout my career.

Top tips to getting into your role/Pharma?

Reliability, hard work and thinking out of the box. One must always think of positive ways they can stand out from the crowd and drive organizational, departmental and industrial change, then pursue those ways or actions.

Fun fact

I love travelling, cooking, and learning new cultures. My dream is to empower young children in rural areas to get education and free their minds. My favorite quote is by Elizabeth Kubler Ross You are not a powerless speck of dust drifting around in the wind…we are, each of us, like beautiful snowflakes-unique, and born for a specific reason and purpose”. I encourage everyone to find that reason.


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