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Living ICON’s Values: Sarah Samuel

At ICON, we value our hardworking teams and pride ourselves on cultivating a culture that promotes collaboration and integrity. On top of that, we aim to deliver outstanding results and value the meaningful partnerships we build with our customers. Our very own Project Manager, Sarah Samuel is a shining beacon of ICON values. In an interview, she talks to us about her 24-year-journey through the clinical research industry, 14 of which have been happily spent at ICON.

Sarah offers us a deep insight into her role, how she came to work in this field as well as practical advice to newcomers and those who are interested in working in clinical research.

Landing a role in clinical research generally begins with either a degree or postgraduate qualification in nursing, life sciences or a medical science-related subject. Sarah graduated with a BSc in biology and gained a master’s in public health with a major in epidemiology and biostatistics During this time, she co-authored numerous academic papers and many were published widely.

Sarah now focuses her attention as a project manager on key clinical research therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, endocrine disorders, psychiatric, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders and nervous system disorders.

Before moving into project management, she worked as a lead clinical research coordinator, a Clinical Research Associate and a Clinical Trial Manager. As a CTM for ICON, she headed up SDR and eCAT training and compliance aspects of the patient-centric monitoring that ICON had recently launched. To date, it is the largest study that she has worked on, spanning 36 countries and 66,000 patients per year. Her duty involved training workers across the board and overseeing millions of data points.

“I learned a lot during that experience. It helped me to be mindful of streamlining processes and prioritizing milestones, as well as never losing sight of the bigger picture.”

Her wide range of experiences have proven to be invaluable to her role at ICON, in alignment with her strong academic skills and clinical background which provide her with the relevant knowledge to effectively manage her role. However, Sarah finds her most valuable asset to be her empathy — for team members and patients alike. Empathy is very important for working in clinical research as you may be communicating with vulnerable people. In addition, it’s an important trait for any manager to have.

Sarah greatly believes in the importance of valuing your team as well as investing in and empowering them in order to see them succeed.

“When we live by this principle, we find the people we work with to be loyal, committed and productive.”

She believes in the value that you can teach skills but can’t teach passion, which is why a passion for the role is the driving force behind the work she does and the life she lives. As a team manager, Sarah cultivates the potential she sees in a team member by trusting them with greater responsibility in order to grow their confidence — a technique which allowed her to flourish when she was in a more junior position herself.

When asked what drives her to succeed in her career, she begins by quoting Albert Einstein: “Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.”

Her passion stems from her desire to live a life of purpose and expresses how she, and those at ICON, benefit the world through their services:

“Clinical Research is important work because it helps find cures for countless diseases and improve the quality of life for billions of people around the world.”

For those who also wish to live a life of purpose and begin a role in clinical research, Sarah advises that you push yourself in order to continually learn —you might even surprise yourself with your capabilities. In your spare time, pick up new skills — especially ones that scare you, and spend time volunteering. Most importantly:

“Don’t be afraid to speak up — you never know what you might bring to the table.”

If you want to begin, or progress your career in clinical research, apply for a role with ICON today. As part of our core values, we take great pride in empowering our employees and watching them progress with us.

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