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Growing Your Career in RA/QA with Jessica Beaver

The FDA Group’s CEO, Nick Capman, sits down with Jessica Smith Beaver, PhD, President & CEO of Verinetics to explore various career trajectories within RA/QA.

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In a recent episode of our podcast, The Life Science Rundown, The FDA Group's Nick Capman spoke with Jessica Smith Beaver, PhD, President & CEO of Verinetics, to explore various career trajectories within the quality and regulatory space in the life science industry, the advantages and challenges of different paths, and the crucial role of personal reflection in career development.

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Dr. Beaver's career trajectory is a testament to the diverse opportunities in the life science sector. Starting as a pharmacist, she transitioned into a contributing scientist role in a large pharmaceutical company, eventually moving into regulatory affairs and quality space. Her story highlights the dynamic nature of careers in this industry, where one's path can take unexpected but rewarding turns.

A few key points from the discussion:

  • Specialist vs. Generalist: One of the pivotal decisions for professionals in this field is whether to specialize in a particular area or adopt a generalist approach. Specialists, with their deep knowledge, become sought-after experts in their fields. However, generalists, with their broad experiences, are often more adaptable to industry changes. This choice significantly impacts career trajectory and opportunities.

  • Large Pharma vs. Startups: The discussion also delves into the pros and cons of working in large pharmaceutical companies versus startups. Large pharma offers structured learning and career growth opportunities but may come with bureaucracy and instability. On the other hand, startups provide a platform to wear multiple hats and be part of a growth story, albeit with higher risks.

  • The Managerial Leap: Transitioning from an individual contributor to a managerial role is another critical career juncture discussed in the podcast. This shift requires a different skill set, focusing more on leadership and team development. It's a transformation that demands understanding that as a leader, you serve your team.

  • Self-Awareness: Throughout the podcast, the importance of self-awareness in career decisions is emphasized. Understanding personal aspirations, industry dynamics, and individual strengths is crucial in navigating the complex landscape of the life science industry.

Dr. Beaver is a skilled pharmaceutical industry executive with experience at all stages of R&D for product candidates in discovery, early and late-stage development, and marketed products. Drug candidates/marketed products have included both small and large (biologic) molecules. Beginning as a product team scientist in the industry, her roles have evolved to include functional area experience in regulatory affairs, healthcare compliance, quality assurance, risk management, corporate investigations, and other business operational functions required for the distribution, marketing, sale, and promotion of pharmaceutical products.

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