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A limitless clinical career – from CRA to clinical operations lead

Meet Santa Sile – a former nurse and mother of two, who is sharing her career journey from clinical research associate to clinical operations lead.

At IQVIA, we are pushing the boundaries when it comes to career exploration so colleagues can experience career flexibility with unlimited possibilities and a wide variety of ways to grow.

Santa Sile’s journey at IQVIA is a testament to our commitment to career growth and development, and highlights the benefits of working at a growing, global organization.

Here we sit down with Santa – former nurse and mother of two – as she shares her career journey from clinical research associate to clinical operations lead.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am Santa - a clinical operations lead at IQVIA. I have a master’s in health sciences, was previously a nurse and I am the mother of two boys.

I live in Alūksne, Latvia, roughly 200 kilometers from our capital, Riga. When I am not working, I love to read and spend time outdoors with family, walking local trails and riding bikes.

What is your role at IQVIA?

Since March 2022, I have served as a clinical operations lead for Nordic and Baltic countries. My team designs, plans and runs Phase I – IV clinical trials. In my role, I monitor a clinical trial’s performance, including metrics, finances and staffing, ensure quality and delivery, and develop the clinical trial's operating strategy.

I interact with teams from various departments, including clinical science, clinical quality assurance, data management, biostatistics and regulatory affairs to ensure that data is received and can be used to determine whether a trial is successful.

Describe your path to your current role.

Throughout my career, I have been part of IQVIA’s Functional Service Provider organization which has given me the opportunity to support multiple sponsors across various therapeutic areas.

  • • I started at IQVIA in May 2011 as an associate CRA, and was quickly promoted three months later to a CRA.
  • • In December 2012, I was promoted again to associate dedicated line manager, but maintained a small CRA role on a device trial.
  • • In October 2013, in addition to my existing management responsibilities, I was asked by the client to become a certified trainer to train new CRAs. Having CRA experience, I was able to put myself in new hires’ shoes and answer their questions. 
  • • From April 2015 to March 2017, I served as the dedicated line manager in Nordics and Baltics.
  • • In March 2017, was promoted again to regional lead, serving as the main counterpart for the client and working with the Clinical Operations teams to ensure adequate communication and follow up on relevant operational topics, action plans in the region and continuity across the global model. 
  • • From 2018 to 2022, I was in and out of roles at IQVIA as I raised my two children.
  • • I have been back at IQVIA since March 2022 in the clinical operations lead role. 

What is your best advice to someone looking to advance their clinical career?

At IQVIA, you can observe a position before taking it over. My advice is to network with colleagues that are in the desired position so you can learn about their responsibilities and the soft skills that make them successful. It is also important to take time for personal development and leverage IQVIA’s tools and resources to help you achieve your professional goals. 

How do you maintain work life balance as a mother of two?

Whenever possible, I walk to pick up my children from school. This 15- to 20-minute walk helps to shift my mind from work to family. Additionally, outdoor activities help me clear my mind.

I aim to make the most of every day and be as productive as possible as there is always the unknown of the next day with children – illnesses, childcare challenges, etc. 

What inspires you to work every day?

It is never boring! I am a big fan of IQVIA, as you do not have to change companies to take on a new position – you can stay in one place and have limitless possibilities. I love my team, the departments I work with and finding the best solutions for our clients. 

What tips do you have for someone looking to join IQVIA?

Be open-minded, be flexible and ask questions – everyone is happy to support you. Enjoy your role whilst thinking what you want to do next because you will be asked! 

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