Originally published in January 2015

Over the past few months and especially at parties over the holidays, the innocuous sounding question came up several times “What is it that you do”? Now, as you know, I am not a doctor nor a teacher. My husband is a teacher so when he says “I am a teacher”, he usually gets asked what subject he teaches and at what level. For me…not so easy. I have had this discussion with colleagues and ex-colleagues. They have similar issues to answer succinctly…pharmacovigilance, clinical operations, clinical quality assurance, regulatory affairs…It sometimes feel like another language!

When some adventurous soul asks me, I usually answer I am a Compliance expert. Ah, compliance, what does that mean?  Badabing…another zinger! So I prepared what I call the 5-cent tour of what it is that I do. But, in order to answer what I do, I need to cover a little bit of what I did.

I wear three hats, really, and sometimes they overlap. Over the years, I have always worked in Pharma and regulated industries. Depending on the job or the year or the country I was in, I was in quality/compliance, in project management and/or in operations.  I have always enjoyed taking the best aspects of these hats and wearing the parts I needed. My favorite part is adding value to compliance by incorporating project management concepts so that we plan well, we execute well and we get it right the first time.

So, the 5-cent tour description? I work for a small growing company that specializes in making Plants and processes run better. I use my compliance, project management and operations background to find the best and most efficient solution. So, in short, I help make things run better.

When I told my 9 year old boy about this, he said “oh, you are like duct tape and wd-40”…no surprise where this came from (I have four brothers) so he has heard this quotation before. He then went on to say “you know, if it moves and it should not, you need duct tape. And if it does not move and it should, you need WD40”! I looked up this quotation and found this fun article where the author states “Distinguishing when you need to use duct tape and when you need to use WD40 is vitally important”1.

Tip: It is vitally important to figure out if you need duct tape or WD-40 (or both!)

  • If you have all kinds of practices but you have not yet identified and captured best practices, you might need a little help to focus so you can be more efficient. This is the “duct tape”.
  • If you are not moving and always doing things the same way, you can bring a little “WD-40” to your processes and enhance them and get things moving successfully!

Skillpad help clients in Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & other regulated industries to reduce costs, increase profitability and improve efficiencies. 

Nathalie Bourgouin, PMP – Vice-President Compliance, Skillpad Canada Inc. is a leader in project management and a subject matter expert with an extensive background in risk-based quality assurance processes and training in manufacturing and clinical trials areas.

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