Opportunities within Site Intelligence and Activation
Natali Bravo Fernandez is a senior Site Intelligence and Activation (SIA) team manager, working from PPD’s offices in Madrid, Spain. Below she describes her career progression, experience and why you should consider PPD for your next career move.
Interviewer: Would you provide a brief overview of your group within the SIA department?
Bravo Fernandez: I work in the SIA team management (STM) group within the SIA department, which is part of global clinical development at PPD. This department takes care of the start-up phase for all PPD projects. We are involved from the beginning of the study, through feasibility and site activations.
Interviewer: What is your role within SIA as a senior SIA team manager? What do you?
Bravo Fernandez: As a senior SIA team manager, I manage the start-up portion of the projects I am assigned to and direct the technical and operational aspects of site startup across countries.
I work with project managers, clinical team managers, SIA country managers, feasibility managers, regulatory managers and contract managers to identify, assess, coordinate and oversee site activations. This includes providing accurate projections, reporting and ongoing risk assessment.
I manage a large team of SIA country teams — SIA contract research associates (CRAs), submission specialists, contract specialists, project assistants — in each of the countries participating in my studies. They are the heroes of the SIA department. My job is to help facilitate their jobs, make site activations possible and act as a liaison with our clients. I also work with and attend business development meetings.
Interviewer: Where are you and the SIA department located?
Bravo Fernandez: I am based in PPD’s office in Madrid, Spain, but I work with teams all around the globe. I have worked with colleagues and sites in Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America and Africa. It is one of the things I love most about my job.
Interviewer: How has your career developed since joining PPD?
Bravo Fernandez: Although it feels like yesterday, I joined PPD four years ago as an associate SIA team manager and progressed to the senior SIA team manager role. This seniority has been reflected in the assignments I receive, and my responsibilities. I now act as a global SIA team manager for many of my studies and have the pleasure of working with regional SIA team managers.
Interviewer: What do you enjoy the most about being a senior SIA team manager?
Bravo Fernandez: One of the things I enjoy the most is the possibility to work with people all around the world. I also enjoy the direct contact with our clients, and earning their respect is a great feeling. Being in startup means that my involvement in a study has a defined end date, then I move to the next challenge. Also, everything moves quickly in startup, so we always have a milestone: first site approved, first site active, first patient in.
What I like the most is being part of the drug development process, and ultimately helping patients. I had a meeting with a client once who told me that “We are making history.” I cannot think of a greater motivation to come to work.
Interviewer: Why do you enjoy working for PPD?
Bravo Fernandez: I worked for several companies before joining PPD, and I have come to realize that PPD is the place I want to be. A few of the many reasons I love working for PPD are career development opportunities, recognition and flexibility.
Interviewer: Finally, what advice would you give to someone interested in being an SIA team manager at PPD?
Bravo Fernandez: I would definitely encourage them to join us. The day-to-day work is challenging, and they will never be bored. Our team is growing and offers a lot of opportunities. We have the tools, we have the systems and we have the people. PPD is definitely the place to be, and if it is with SIA, even better!
If you are interested in a career with PPD, please visit ppdi.com/careers