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A bright future

Interview by Emma Morriss

Congratulations on your Pf Awards 2019 win. How did you feel when your name was called out? I was in total shock when my name was called out at the Pf Awards. While I felt the Assessment Day had gone well and I gave a good account of myself, you never know how others have performed and your inside voice is always saying ‘it won’t be you’. You are always aware that the calibre of entrants to the Pf Awards is so high and you know you have to give it your best shot and be as prepared as you can be, but you have no indication from the judges as to how you have performed which is a little daunting.

One of my GSK colleagues had actually entered and won this Pf Award last year and I was fascinated by her journey. It sounded so exciting and I was totally invested from that point on. The fact that she went on to win the Pf Award made me think it was achievable and I feel very much that you have to be in it to win it, so why not give it a shot. Both CHASE and GSK have been fantastic in terms of support and both were delighted to see me picking up the Best Newcomer Pf Award. I hope I have done them both proud.

What does winning the Pf Award mean to you? Winning the Pf Award gave me some added validation that I was performing well. Performance is sometimes difficult to measure in this industry, so I felt incredibly honoured that the judges felt the work I had put in over the last year merited the Pf Award. I try to always work with the patient as my main focus and to always do what is right by them. I was over the moon to have this recognised on such a public stage.

Tell me about your career so far. My degree is actually in Law; but following on from that I have been involved in many exciting industries, from cars, through to running my own business with a product I created from scratch. This means I have joined this industry from a varied background with, I would like to think, a range of skills, many of which have been put to the test already.

You’re on contract to GSK, what do you enjoy best about your role? I work with GSK as a Sales Representative selling an asthma medicine to primary care customers in Glasgow. My favourite part of my job is, without doubt, the patient stories. I am incredibly passionate about working with my healthcare professionals for their patients. Nothing pleases me more than meeting a nurse who is eager to tell me how our medicine has changed their patient’s life. It’s that fantastic feeling of ‘I did something there; I really made a difference’ and that is what I strive for each day that I am at work. I’m consistently trying to uncover better ways to reach this outcome and to get the best medicine to patients.

What made you choose pharmaceuticals as an industry? My mum has worked in the industry for a number of years and has often said she thought this would be a job I would really enjoy. As a sulky teenager, and a moody 20 something, I was going to do anything other than what my mum suggested. However, as I grew up, I took her advice and looked into the industry and actually, felt this was something I could really enjoy. A new, fresh challenge with the ability to help real people. I hate to say it (and she will love this) but sometimes, we should listen to our parents!

Where would you like your career to go? I definitely see my future in the pharmaceutical industry, but for now, I want to focus on being the best at the role I am in currently, that is always my immediate goal. I want to excel at what I do before looking for the next opportunity. One day, I would love to work more closely with patients, although how that might manifest itself I am not sure.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Finally, I would just like to say thank you to all involved in the Pf Awards for making me feel so welcome. To the judges for making the whole Assessment Day (almost) enjoyable and to both GSK and CHASE for their ongoing support. I would whole-heartedly recommend, to anyone considering entering the Pf Awards 2020, do it! You might just surprise yourself.

Shannon Travers from CHASE is on contract to GSK. She won the Best Newcomer Pf Award 2019 which was sponsored by CHASE. For Shannon’s Winner’s Interview go to