Interview with Valentina Simoni – MS&T Head SUANFARMA Italia

MS&T Manager

What does an MS&T Manager do?

The MS&T Manager is a role that I would define as interdepartmental, collaborating and interfacing with all the departments within SUANFARMA Italy, but also with the outside world. As MS&T Manager I analyze the progress of processes, verifying their performance and investigating any deviations from the standard, all the while collaborating with the various Manufacturing Operations functions and with the Quality Unit. I also organize and coordinate improvement projects, involving most of the company roles to ensure their success. I am most recently also collaborating with the new R&D department, with which we are laying the foundations for new exciting projects.

What is the training and career path necessary to become an MS&T Manager?

I am a biotechnologist and my studies gave me a sound scientific knowledge: subjects such as chemistry and biology help to better understand and interpret our processes, while statistics are necessary for the analysis of the data produced by them. A path that I have instead undertaken in the workplace is that of Lean Manufacturing, which is very helpful in my role. Also, an understanding of basic finance is useful to understand how to calculate the cost and value of what we produce. It was missing in my university studies, but I am working to recoup.

What challenges do you face in your role at SUANFARMA Italy?

I’m just starting out! But one of the challenges that for the moment is putting me to the test is managing the unexpected, for which experience and decision-making skills are required in addition to a good level of knowledge. Another important challenge is related to having to deal with so many people: often people request “extras” that are difficult to fit in with day-to-day needs, or you are faced with situations that have different needs. The challenge is to be able to do what is best for the company by involving everyone.

What are skills are essential in your job?

The qualities that cannot lack are collaboration, organization and a pinch of working flexibility!

In your opinion, what more could be done to encourage women to take up STEM disciplines?

For my experience, many women are already approaching STEM disciplines: I experienced it in the university courses I attended, but I also see it on younger girls who increasingly choose technical-scientific courses. However, in my opinion what should make us reflect the most is that women often remain in the university and research fields, or in the field of teaching, rather than pursuing a corporate career. They are certainly different and equally satisfying career choices, but it does makes me question: is it women who do not take this field into consideration, or are they not chosen for this career, because preference is given to  a male colleague? The future is in technology and therefore in the STEM disciplines, and for this reason women will surely have to take more and more part in them, but for this to happen it is necessary to overcome well-rooted cultural prejudices, which often are a difficult obstacle to overcome (for both parties ). It is necessary to demonstrate that protections exist, that prejudices are now a distant memory and that a career can be obtained thanks to the skills, knowledge and determination of a person, regardless of gender.

Three words to describe SUANFARMA.

Collaboration, determination, optimism

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