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Meet Nicola

"Whatever their job title, everybody's work is focused on trying to get the right treatment to the right patient at the right time."

Senior Finance Business Partner, Pfizer UK

From supporting R&D clinical trials, to teaching the Brownies about medicine development, Nicola talks about her varied 20-year career in finance at Pfizer.


"As part of our STEM outreach programme, I recently ran Pfizer's "Medicines and Me" session with 20 Rainbows and 30 Brownies. It's all about helping get kids excited by science – and with this group, engaging and inspiring the next generation of girls. I've been very moved by all the positive feedback from the children. In particular, they're very intrigued about the cure they created for the dreaded 'Magenta Lumpy' disease, a condition we invented for the purpose of these sessions.  

They learnt so much about how hard it can be to discover a new medicine, the difficulties of scaling up production, and how to ensure that a medicine is 100% consistent every time you make it. To help with this, they each made a helping of slime, to which they added food colouring – the 'active ingredient'. Then we asked them to make up several batches of the cure that were all exactly the same colour. They also loved covering their hands in glitter to represent bacteria and viruses, so I could teach them about effective hand washing – a very important skill in the current situation with COVID-19."

(You can explore the "Medicines and Me" course here.)  


"Every day's a school day at Pfizer!"

"I've worked at Pfizer for over twenty years – but I'm still learning all the time. In the beginning, they supported me to complete all my professional financial qualifications. I've spent much of my career as a Finance Business Partner, but because I've been working with a range of different departments, including Commercial teams, Legal, R&D and HR, there’s been huge variety. It's like having many different careers in one. (Especially as I've also got to work with colleagues in the US and across Europe.)

I feel that we're more than management accountants – we're strategic partners who help to use resources in the best way. For example, when I was working with R&D, we helped move an entire lab from France to the UK. We managed capital budgets in a way that meant the clinical trials could remain completely uninterrupted. By organising a 'just-in-time' approach to moving and procuring new equipment, the researchers always had what they needed the moment they needed it – but we kept in budget."


"Everybody here is focused on doing the right thing."

"Whatever their job title, everybody's work is focused on trying to get the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Working in finance, one of the most satisfying aspects of the job is to be able to help get medicines and vaccines out to people faster. Collaborating with other organisations to break down barriers and modify processes to speed everything up is very satisfying. 

Pfizer's focused on doing the right thing for its people, too. There's a great culture. People genuinely try to have fun at work. It's brilliant to be surrounded by such talented minds, and there's a real interest here in developing colleagues. There's also good parental leave, and good support when you return. If you want to come back in a part-time role, this is never limiting. Because Pfizer is a sizeable company, and it has the HR policies in place to make it happen, there's a good range of part-time opportunities for parent returners."


PP-PFE-GBR-2746 / July 2020