Wendy Stewart embodies the qualities of an exceptional leader, having dedicated more than two decades of her career to IQVIA. Wendy traces her professional trajectory from her early days as a Project Management Assistant to her current role as the President of Clinical Operations, R&DS.
As Wendy sits down with Senior Recruiter, Elena Lopez, she shares her pivotal moments, transformative experiences, and the development opportunities that have shaped her into the leader she is today. Wendy also unveils her secret to balancing professional responsibilities with personal commitments.
Career path at IQVIA
If there’s anything my path will teach you, it's to leave no stone unturned. I started at IQVIA in 1997 in project management. From there, I held roles within business development, moved to Singapore and then back in Scotland where I joined our Lab business – back in project management.
That’s when I had a breakthrough career moment… without having technology experience or having worked on lean processing or change management, I was approached by a leader with an opportunity to move to North Carolina to help develop IQVIA’s project planning and resource management system. I think people often don’t see their own potential and need to trust what others see in them. So, I decided to put my faith in this leader’s hands.
From there, I headed up the Global Site Activation team, moved into Clinical Project Management to lead Central Nervous System and then Oncology. More recently, I was tapped as the Global Head of Project Leadership which led me to my current role as Global Head of Clinical Operations, R&DS, where we have a team of just over 16,000 employees. It's a tremendous amount of responsibility, but also a job that makes me feel extremely proud of what our team members do every day in terms of developing new medicines and supporting our customers.
Key milestones or learnings
What is your proudest professional moment?
I think the proudest moment was seeing our teams deliver some of the largest COVID vaccines, changing the way we worked to operate at breakneck speed all the while experiencing the pandemic on a personal level.
What development opportunities or resources would recommend?
I’ve always had a good mentor and I think that at different stages of your career you need different things from a mentor. You need to be real with yourself and question your weaknesses, and find someone that can support you in those areas. You should evolve your mentor based on your current developmental needs.
Another resource I recommend is “360 feedback programs,” using the feedback received to determine how you can adapt or adjust. I've also done a lot of on-the-job learning and coaching, watching how others perform in certain situations and then using their approach to influence how I handle future situations.
What roadblocks have you faced professionally and how would you advise others to navigate similar challenges?
You often find yourself with a task or a goal and are not sure where to start. I am a big believer that if you've got a problem or a barrier, you can break it down into small chunks and find people who know the answer or can give shared experiences to help you formulate a plan.
In short, my advice: Plan. Connect with your network. Break things down into small chunks. From there, anything's achievable.
Any advice for balancing stress?
You must be organized and able to compartmentalize things. Lots of people ask me: “how can you switch off at the end of a day without taking everything that's happened that day home?” Over the years, I’ve learnt to take what's happened and put it into a ‘virtual box.’ I try to dissect the lesson learned or what I could have done better/differently. The only time I allow myself to reopen the box is if I can apply that lesson learned to a similar situation.
My advice is to spend more time thinking of what you have accomplished versus what you haven’t.
The IQVIA difference
IQVIANs are driven by our passion to make an impact. What excites you about working at IQVIA?
Undoubtedly, it is the people and our collective passion to work hard and intelligently accelerate innovation for a healthier world and improve patient lives.
Ready to discover a career with a greater purpose? Explore a job at IQVIA or join our Global Talent Network.