My Sterling Journey: From Development Chemist to Partnership Manager
05th Dec 2022
Name: Claire Robinson
Current role: Partnership Manager
Joined Sterling: June 2012
From Development Chemist, to Partnership Manager, Claire 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 received my MSc and PhD in medicinal and organic chemistry from Newcastle University, under NewChem Technologies sponsorship. My doctoral thesis involved a lead compound which was taken forward for GMP synthesis on a six kilogram scale for human clinical trials. This was really exciting, as getting anything into the clinic is a big deal, but even more so for a PhD student. The project actually then came to Sterling, which was then known as Shasun, for scale-up which was quite a nice full-circle moment!
After I completed my PhD, I joined NewChem Technologies’ as a Research Scientist, concentrating on smaller scale manufacturing, making lower quantities of active pharmaceutical ingredients. This was my first introduction into contract research manufacturing work.
How did you start your career at Sterling?
I joined Sterling in 2012 as a Development Chemist at the Dudley site. It was a very exciting role that involved scale up and taking processes from the laboratory into the plant. As a process expert, I had to ensure that all quality procedures were met according to GMP standards.
After five years of working in the labs, I wanted to challenge myself and take up a commercial role, so took an opportunity to join the commercial team as a Partnership Manager.
In this role, I am our customers’ main point of contact and I am responsible for building and maintaining relationships with them, which is something that I am really passionate about. I negotiate contracts and pricing for the year, build reports, and my priority is to make sure that they are happy with the service they are receiving.
Why did you decide to move roles within Sterling?
I love a new challenge, and so after gaining experience in the labs, I was excited to push myself into trying something new. One of my colleagues, who I previously worked in the labs alongside, had also transitioned into the commercial team and encouraged me to take the opportunity to become a Partnership Manager.
As part of my new role, I completed a high-level management course at Middlesborough University. It was incredibly interesting, and learning whilst in employment gave me the opportunity to put what I was taught into practice straight away.
How has your role continued to evolve since becoming a Partnership Manager
In March 2022, I relocated from the UK to Germantown, Wisconsin in the USA. This was very exciting, but at the same time, a big personal challenge; moving to a different country and the logistics of it all.
Until now, we haven’t had any Partnership Managers based at our Germantown facility. So, I’m responsible for embedding our partnership model at this site, providing our established customer base there with dedicated commercial support and helping to ensure all our customers are getting the same customer experience, regardless of which site manufactures their product.
A lot of my customers are based in the US too, so it makes face to face meetings and communication much easier. Being here also enables me to support my colleagues in the UK with intra-site communications; following up on anything required from the team at our Germantown site in person and on the same time zone.
What do you enjoy most about working at Sterling?
I know it’s a cliché, but the people I work with are brilliant and I really enjoy working with them on various projects. Another thing that excites me though, is speaking to our customers. I love problem solving, even if it includes difficult conversations; I thrive on finding solutions and delivering excellent customer service, it’s what makes me feel motivated and energised. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.