My Sterling Journey: From Development Chemist to Strategic Marketing Manager

23rd Sep 2022

Name: Charlotte Chapman

Current role: Strategic Marketing Manager

Joined Sterling: May 2015

From Development Chemist, to Product Manager, to Strategic Marketing Manager, Charlotte has experienced multiple roles over her career at Sterling as the organisation has continued to grow. Read more about her Sterling journey here.

What was your background before joining Sterling?

I studied an MSc in Chemistry at Newcastle University, during which I spent my third year in America at the University of Vermont. From there I went to the University of Nottingham to study for a PHD in Phosphorous Chemistry, where I looked at adapting common coupling reagents for named reactions, such as the Mitsunobu reaction or Wittig reaction, to become catalytic with an aim to improve the efficiency of the reactions.

I enjoyed my PhD subject and had the chance to explore a lot of techniques through it. It was sponsored by GSK, so I had the chance to spend three months working at their Stevenage facility in Hertfordshire, UK, which was my first real experience of working in an industry lab setting outside of university.

How did you start your career at Sterling?

Having that hands on experience in the labs during my PhD was what made me want to go into industry, which is when I applied for my first role at Sterling’s Dudley, Northumberland, UK facility (which at the time was Shasun) and became a Development Chemist.

I started working in the labs at Sterling in 2015 and worked on multiple projects during my time as a Development Chemist. These projects were of various scale, from large projects on plant to smaller scale, lab only projects. I was also able to experience different roles within the projects; from second chemist to lead chemist. Working GMP projects also gave me exposure to other departments such as Process Performance Group and quality, as well as working with pilot plant technicians and main plant operators. This experience gave me a better understanding of the business and the pharma industry.

Whilst I enjoyed my work in the labs, I always knew I wanted to move into a more commercial role and took an opportunity to join the commercial team as a Product Manager. In this role I was primarily responsible for around four to five products whilst also managing Salesforce and supporting the marketing team with proof reading, technical information and lead generation through using databases to explore market trends.

I did this role for around a year and moved into the marketing team as Strategic Marketing Manager. When starting this role, I focused on lead generation, Salesforce, and other general marketing support.

Why did you decide to move roles within Sterling?

I was always interested in the commercial side of the business, ever since studying business management at school. Hence why I moved into the Product Manager role when the opportunity arose.

My move to the marketing department felt like a natural progression as I was already supporting this department regularly. I enjoyed moving to this department and being able to further challenge myself to learn new skills whilst also applying knowledge gained through my PhD and time in the labs.

As part of my transition to the marketing team, I completed my Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) level six qualification too. This gave me a better understanding of the theory behind marketing techniques, as well as a more in depth understanding of the importance of data in strategy development. It also allowed me to gain confidence in working with data to create a picture of our customers and their journey with Sterling.

Getting involved in a variety of different projects during Sterling’s growth has allowed me to really find what I am best at and what I enjoy the most. It’s allowed me to gain a lot of experience! Everyone at Sterling is really supportive, no matter what department you’re in, so wherever I moved to I knew I would have a great team. This made the transitions a lot easier.

What do you enjoy most about working at Sterling?

Every team I’ve worked with have been amazing, and I think this is reflected across the business. From my role in the labs to my roles within the commercial team, everyone is very supportive and willing to help you wherever they can. Even with the business experiencing such growth recently, the attitudes and values have still remained strong.


Scientist Snapshot | Claire Robinson, Partnership Manager


Scientist Snapshot | Brian Backer, Chemical Research & Development Scientist