Updated: Jan 27, 2022
Efe Egharevba - Senior Director, Project Leadership
What do you do?
I am a Senior Director, Project Leadership at a gene therapy biotech company. In a nutshell my job is to lead a team of (very clever!) multidisciplinary experts by helping plan and define the strategy of a drug from pre-clinical all the way through to marketing.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with the team – I work with some of the brightest minds in the industry on ex-vivo gene therapy products which are at the cutting edge of technology. I also work in rare paediatric indications for which there is currently no treatment options so I get a real sense of fulfilment in helping bring these medicines to families who would otherwise potentially lose their children at a very young age.
How did you get into pharma?
I fell into it! I took a temporary job as an office administrator at a small Japanese pharma company after first degree and was subsequently promoted by my (amazing) first boss who took a chance on me and trained me up. I then did a part-time MSc in Clinical Trials at Cardiff University then did a part-time PhD in Public Health at the University of Glasgow
I love working in an area that has the potential to bring good into the world – the advances in medicines over the past several decades have led to longer, healthier lives and has helped treat diseases that were previously thought untreatable. Also, Pharma is like a big fraternity and once you’re in, you’re in! The industry though big is very small and the opportunities are endless to do lots of different types of stuff. I did 15+ years in clinical trial leadership before moving into my current, more strategic role a couple of years ago.
What has your experience been being #BlackInPharma?
A bit of a mixed bag – pharma has seen me travel to places where there aren’t that many black people and companies are often ill-equipped to support people through that reality.
I’m not sure if it’s true of just pharma, being black means that I feel as though I have to work twice as hard as my white counterparts. That may or may not be true, but I’ll never find out because my plan is to continue to work as hard as I have!
Top tips to getting into your role/pharma?
Persevere! Try and do something to make yourself more attractive to hiring managers like taking short courses. The industry has its own ‘lingo’ and the more comfortable you are using this lingo (and associated acronyms) the more credible you’ll be.
I lived in Canada for 4 years and Texas for 8 years (including high school and university) and you are looking at a Texas High School regional triple jump champion!