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International Clinical Trials

Thinking Allowed

Elena Logan of PPD talks to ICT about her guiding business philosophy, and highlights the need for a greater emphasis on strategic relationships in 2013

ICT: What was your entry point into the clinical trials industry?

Elena Logan: I started my career with a large pharmaceutical company, so my introduction to clinical research came when I accepted a position in the clinical supplies group. I literally had no idea what clinical trials were, but it sounded interesting, and I certainly didnít recognise the career potential in this business.

Which part of your current role do you most enjoy?

Without question, the best part of my job is the people that I work with. I am fortunate to be surrounded by such a fantastic group of diverse, highly committed professionals worldwide. I really enjoy a challenge, especially those we face as a service provider as we constantly look for ways to be innovative and stimulate an entrepreneurial culture.

Which part is the most challenging?

The most significant challenge I face is trying to strike a balance. In business, we serve a large number of clients, and we are focused on meeting their needs. So itís critical that everyone understands those dynamics and shares our desire to provide the highest possible level of service.

How would you describe your business philosophy?

My general philosophy is that a leader who takes care of her employees also takes care of her customers. Our people drive the success of our company, so itís important to recognise the important role they play and provide opportunities for them to succeed.

What has been your proudest moment?

Celebrating employee successes has been extremely fulfilling to me. For instance, I was able to play a positive role in a young womanís career. She began in customer service and worked hard to develop her strengths. As a result she blossomed into an excellent leader.

And your greatest disappointment?

Iím a highly competitive person. Since I am motivated by sharing in the accomplishments of those around me, anytime we arenít able to celebrate a win, I look for ways to secure success the next time.

When are you happiest?

I was raised in a very traditional family, so I am happiest when my entire family is together sharing a meal. In business, I get the greatest pleasure from helping an organisation and its people to grow. Seeing the successes that result creates great fulfilment for me.

What keeps you awake at night?

One of the things Iíve learnt is that you donít accomplish much worrying over things you canít control. While I certainly take all business concerns seriously, I view them as challenges rather than as a source of concern.

What do you think the clinical trials sector needs to focus on in 2013?

Relationships and service. Iíd like to see a greater emphasis on strategic relationships in which both service providers and sponsors can have an active, ongoing investment in the partnership, rather than on transactional relationships. As providers and as an industry, we should strive to enhance our relationships with sponsors and the service we provide them.

How do you think the industry will change over the next 10 years?

Targeted therapies are going to play a significant role in patient care. Pharma and biotech companies are doing some exciting work in discovering and developing personalised medicines and companion diagnostics. Service providers and sponsors are going to have to work even more collaboratively in order to develop these medicines and diagnostics effectively and efficiently. I look forward to working with our clients in that way, helping bring important, safe medicines to patients.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt?

Hard work, perseverance and good timing can pay great dividends. But, as I noted earlier, our employees are our greatest asset, and we should never underestimate their value to our customers, our company and us personally. If you communicate with them and take care of them, they will be successful and you will, too!


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Elena Logan is Senior Vice President of Global Central Labs at PPD. She has more than 25 years of experience in laboratory services, operations, quality assurance, sales, business development and strategic planning in the pharmaceutical and contract research industries.




Elena Logan
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