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Working Life: Amanda Moosa

Published on 18/09/08 at 01:18pm


How did you find your way into your current role?

I came into things via the 'traditional' route. After my biochemistry degree and undertaking some research, I was lured into the industry by the thought of a company car and a decent salary!

I began in sales, carrying the bag until 1999 after jobs with Innovex, Pfizer, Lundbeck then Wyeth. I made a decision to move away from big pharma and started working at Bio Products Ltd (BPL) in 1997, firstly as a hospital specialist and then my first marketing job in 1999 as product manager in a highly specialised area. My marketing experience has therefore all been undertaken within the specialist arena.

Following BPL I moved to a biotech company which was absolutely fascinating, my role including managing a Shanghai-based sales and marketing team from the UK, which was as interesting as it sounds!

I moved to Nycomed in February 2004 and was the fourth person to join, and was involved in helping to develop the company in the UK. Since then, I have seen more changes in the NHS and within Nycomed than any other time in my career.

How is your field changing?

I think we need to ask why things are changing to get a full picture. Certainly, within the NHS changes are occurring due to ever demanding cost pressures and also, of course, in order to meet targets set by the Department of Health (DOH) with limited resources.

The bigger issue is that the NHS was originally set up to serve a completely different population and country compared to today. The NHS is expected to behave like a business when it wasn't originally set up to work in that way. The NHS remains a political hot potato that no Government has tackled to any great extent and it will be very interesting to see who does and what will happen in the future.

What are the most enjoyable things about your role?

For me it is being able to make a difference and change perceptions. To be able to spot opportunities and then go on to make the most of them is exciting. At the moment the pace has changed in the NHS and identifying opportunities to work in partnership is one of the things I enjoy most about my role.

And the least enjoyable?

Unnecessary process! Also, the challenge we face in our industry is the way we are still viewed with suspicion by certain stakeholders in the NHS. We probably haven't done ourselves any favours in the past as an industry so it makes for a challenging working environment. In Nycomed we are genuinely interested in improving healthcare and forming long-term partnerships within the NHS so the good thing is we can turn this around to positive opinion when we can spot partnership opportunities.

What are the most common misconceptions about your field and the people who work in it?

As I've mentioned above, the NHS is still suspicious and often believes the industry are just after a transactional rather than a long-term relationship, which is certainly not the case.

Is there an individual in your field who has inspired you or from whom you have learnt a lot?

Absolutely. My manager at BPL, Jane Martin (marketing director) was a big inspiration. One of the things she taught me was how to cope with 'the grey'. By nature I am a very black and white person and Jane helped me to see things are not always black and white and that there is a lot of ground in the middle that you have to work with. She also taught me to take a step back to see that it's all about achieving the long-term strategic objective and not to be caught up in the minor issues along the way.

Similarly, is there someone (or something) outside your field that has been a big influence or source of inspiration for you?

There are two people who I find very inspirational. The first is Nelson Mandela for his incredible strength of character. Despite being incarcerated for so long he kept his belief and passion about the rights of black South Africans. Even now at 90 years old he has an extremely active role in both South African and World politics. After being jailed for 27 years and then given freedom, it must have taken a unique strength of character to continue fighting for what you believe in.

My second person is Dame Ellen MacArthur because of her achievements in sailing mainly down to her dogged determination to succeed. All the things that I admire about her character were translated on Top Gear where she got the fastest time on a 'Star in a reasonably priced car', even though she hardly every drives!

What is the secret to a happy working life?

For me it is all about balance. The balance between work and home and also within my working life between the challenge, reward and recognition.

If you had advice for anyone starting out in your field now, what would it be?

Firstly, listen to all your customers (internal and external). Ignore them at your peril. Secondly, close your ears to anyone who tells you about how things used to be. The world of pharma and the NHS is a very different place now. Finally, be excited and passionate about the changes and the opportunities to be creative.

How do you relax and forget about work?

With difficulty sometimes, however when I do it is with family, friends and usually includes red wine and sailing (not at the same time, clearly!). My daughter is 13 and has an incredible knack of summarising seemingly complex situations in a very simple way, which puts everything in perspective and gives me a fresh outlook on life.

In an alternate life, what would you do for a living?

If money was no object I would love to work for a human rights charity. We all know about human rights issues and the world's inequalities. If we were all honest we could do more about it if we wanted to.


Amanda Moosa is senior brand manager in the surgical division at Nycomed UK.

Previously she has worked as marketing manager at GeneMedix Plc and product manager at Bio Products Laboratory, where she also worked in hospital sales.

Before joining Bio Products Laboratory she worked for Wyeth Laboratories, Lundbeck, Pfizer and Innovex as a sales specialist.


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