Teresa, CH R&D, UK
Teresa heads up R&D for our global Oral and Skin Health categories at GSK Consumer Healthcare.
Teresa, head of R&D for our global Oral and Skin Health categories at GSK Consumer Healthcare, tells us about why she got into science, how she stays ahead of the competition and advice that she’d give to aspiring leaders.
Hi Teresa. Tell us a little about what you do at GSK
I am R&D Category Head for Oral Health and Skin Health at GSK Consumer Healthcare. This means I have the privilege of working with a great cross-functional team to bring new innovation which meets consumer needs underpinned by science to the market to help improve quality of life for our consumers.
How did you get into science?
My father was an engineer and I loved experimenting! During my Ph.D. studies at the University of Cambridge I was fascinated and inspired by the innovation I saw there, including the structure of DNA which was solved by Crick and Watson in 1953.
My father was an engineer and I loved experimenting!”
What do you most enjoy about being a scientist?
It’s quite simple really - the art of the possible! And the fact that there is a chance to discover something new every day. I love the fact that we can apply science to help improve the quality of life for people all over the world.
The nature of your job requires you to be constantly innovating. How do you stay ahead of the game or competition?
I think it’s a combination of things. Ferocious reading - understanding the trends and the dynamics of the changing healthcare market is crucial. Listening to consumers in focus groups provides real insight into innovation opportunities. Operating in such a competitive environment, as consumer healthcare is, tracking our peers through patents, conference attendance and generally keeping abreast of their innovations is really important.
We have some wonderful brands in the our oral and skin health portfolio, however, it’s critical that we stay relevant, never become complacent and continue to combine great consumer insight and science to bring new innovations to market.
Who was your inspiration growing up?
As I said earlier, my father was an engineer and was truly inspirational. Both my parents taught me the importance of values, for example respect for others and the importance of hard work and dedication in achieving goals.
What’s been your biggest career achievement?
I’m going to name a few highlights, because I can’t just select one! Building a world class specialist oral health business for GSK, where science is at the heart of what we do is a tremendous source of pride. Our acquisition of the Novamin technology for Sensodyne Repair and Protect is a great example of that. Linked to that is the people I hope I have helped and inspired along the way - after all, innovation doesn’t happen without insight, great people and great teamwork. Finally, from a commercial perspective, seeing Sensodyne become the first £1 billion brand for GSK Consumer Healthcare is a great achievement for all of us in our cross-functional team.
Operating in such a competitive environment, as consumer healthcare is, tracking our peers through patents, conference attendance and generally keeping abreast of their innovations is really important.’’
As a senior leader, what advice would you give to people starting out in their careers?
Dream big, and believe that anything is possible. Aspire to a senior level role for what you feel you want to achieve – not just for the title or money. Find your passion. Try to do a great job in each of your career steps. Strive to be the best you can be and always keep developing, learning and growing as a person.
And finally, what most excites you about the future in your field?
The changing landscape of the consumer healthcare industry and pace of scientific advances is continuing to open up exciting new opportunities to innovate.
Also, in the oral health field, in some of the specialist conditions such as dentine hypersensitivity, there is still a huge opportunity to reach more people to help the relieve the pain of sensitive teeth, for example.
There is an ongoing opportunity (and challenge) for us to explore new science to help make a difference to consumers’ quality of life, which really excites me.
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