Meet Lindsay Abbatiello, who works at Teva’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) unit for generic medicines. Backed by a team of scientists, Lindsay and her sales team help hundreds of pharmaceutical companies develop new medicines, working around the clock to provide them with the essential ingredients needed to make the products a reality. When it comes to the pandemic, Lindsay says “we haven’t stopped!”
I sell the most important ingredients that go into medicines to make them work effectively. Medicines are made up of many ‘active’ and ‘inactive’ ingredients and our portfolio contains over 400 active pharmaceutical ingredient products.
I’m constantly amazed by the breadth of customers we serve. In addition to supplying ingredients for Teva’s medicines, we also sell our products to many of the leading global pharmaceutical companies and serve over one thousand third party companies in over one hundreds countries. The customers range from large corporations through to start-ups. Each project is different, but the goal is the same: to get new medicines developed and out to patients.
I’m selling science. My job is a commercial role but it does require technical knowledge too. As a part of the sales team, I am the link between the customer and our specialist scientists. There are many different groups of experts in our company, so it’s my job to find the right people with the right skills to ensure we deliver high quality products when and where they are needed.
There is often a personal story behind why a company creates a medicine. This is especially true for my emerging-growth customers, who are often start-ups. Some of them have told me that they were motivated to make medicines available for an under-serviced community or because of something that has impacted their family’s lives. It is extremely humbling to work with them along the way and share in their passion for progress.
Selling lemonade was my first taste of business success. When I was a kid, I had a lemonade stand and held garage sales. I drove a hard bargain! I always wanted to be my Dad when I grew up and was fascinated by his sales job. He has worked hard for over 30 years in sales and continues to mentor me to this day. I didn’t think twice about going on to study business at college.
My passion is patient health. I’m not selling lemonade any more, I’m selling ingredients for medicines that can make a difference to people’s lives. If an issue comes up, whether its market shortages or supply delays, for example, I work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible for the benefit of patients. Outside of our organization, I also have a constant eye on gaps in the market. If we can’t provide something, I’ll find out who else might be able to help.
Building trust is a key part of my relationships. Business is business, but I’m a people person. We are all working to highly pressurized timelines, so communication is key. Being helpful to my customers through the tough times is the right thing to do and it helps strengthens our relationship too. People don’t forget how you treat them during tough times.
Like everyone else, I’ve had to adapt to the new realities that COVID-19 has brought. Teva has retained its employees during this time – I’m now working from home, we haven’t been furloughed. Patients who relied on their medications before the pandemic rely on them just as much today. It’s been incredibly rewarding to be part of a team that has worked to keep the production of essential medicines moving. It’s time like this that really brings home the value of what we do.
We haven’t stopped! I might not be able to see my customers in person at the moment due to the pandemic, but I speak with them regularly on video conferences or on the phone. I do miss the travelling that comes with a sales role, but that will return in time when it’s safe to do so.
I’ve had some excellent mentors during my career. I’ve felt consistently supported since I arrived fresh out of college and have learnt from highly successful women in particular. I’ve had lots of exposure to the wider business, training and visited our manufacturing sites. My mentors have put together development plans that have helped me reach this point in my career. I’ve felt really supported.
You don’t have to be a scientist to work in pharma. I’d definitely recommend looking into the broad range of opportunities the industry has to offer. No day is the same and every job helps patients.