Women in Biotech Mentoring Programme: Helen and Kathryn's experience

Helen and Kathryn for Blog WiB.png

In this interview, Kathryn Simpson and Helen Bartlett reflect on the BIA's Women in Biotech mentoring programme, their motivations for joining the scheme and how different aspects of their lives have been shaped by this experience - both as a mentor and as a mentee.

Tell us a little bit about your background

Kathryn: I’m a consultant, mentor, and best-selling author of “Leading for Change”. I have over twenty-five years of consulting and line experience with leading organisations such as KPMG and GSK. I partner with leaders at all levels to help them achieve growth and sustainable success.

Helen: I’m a senior associate and Patent Attorney at Potter Clarkson. I work with all types of clients in biotechnology and life sciences to protect their IP in the form of patents and to make sure they have the best IP strategy to support their commercial goals.

What was your motivation to join the Women in Biotech mentoring programme?  

Kathryn: I wanted to share my experiences and the lessons learned. I enjoy challenging people and organisations to help them achieve tangible success. I also wanted to learn from my mentee and understand what it is like in their world.

Helen: I wanted to broaden my network outside my organisation and be challenged by someone with a different perspective. 

What do you consider the main benefits have been to you personally? 

Helen: I appreciated being challenged to think deeper about my goals and how I could achieve them. Kathryn was great at asking the right questions to make me think about positive actions I could take to achieve those goals. It was also good to discuss our shared experiences of being a woman in this industry!

Kathryn: It’s wonderful when I see the impact conversations can have. Helen used our time to explore different angles and then took away some clear actions that she followed up on.

What impact did it have on your career?

Helen: With the support that Kathryn and other internal mentors provided I was able to secure a promotion by the end of the year. Aside from this, Kathryn has helped me see situations differently and more confidently and provided an all-important perspective on things from outside of the firm. 

Kathryn: Helen made this happen, all she needed was more confidence and time to reflect on how she was maximizing the chances of this happening.

Would you recommend the Women in Biotech mentoring programme? 

Kathryn: Absolutely. I appreciated the connection with Helen and with the wider mentor community.  The resources that BIA provided were great and Helen used the agenda structures to progress our discussions more broadly than her original goal.

Helen: Definitely. The value of having a mentor with a different perspective was validating and insightful.


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