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Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month

Written By
29 Feb 2024

Nancy Smith
Senior Vice President, Medical Writing Services

After I completed my PhD (in biomedicine with a focus on immunology), I was solidly entrenched in academia as a post-doctoral scientist at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. While the rapidly evolving science was exciting, I quickly realized that the “publish or perish” mantra of academia and the long hours dedicated to complex experiments in the lab were not conducive to family life. While looking for opportunities that still encouraged my love of science, but also allowed me to spend more time with my young family, I came across an opening for a Regulatory Affairs Training Academy, which was very similar to the Medical Writing Fellowship Program we have at Syner-G today. The rest is history! Within the space of clinical medical writing, I’ve been able to use my science background in a variety of ways, I’m able to collaborate with colleagues and mentor those who are just starting out, and, with the inherent flexibility of the position, I’m able to make family time a top priority.

My love of science started at an early age and was fostered by great teachers and mentors throughout high school, college, and graduate school. It wasn’t until graduate school that I learned that women have to have strong voices to be truly heard, and we often face unique challenges. I have been very fortunate to have mentors who have helped me to cultivate that strong voice required of women in science and who have gently pushed me out of my comfort zones to be the best leader I can be.

This question is easy to answer: the people! While I’ve worked alongside many of my colleagues within the Medical Writing Services vertical for many, many years, I’ve been able to meet and collaborate with so many new people doing great work here at Syner-G. I’ve learned so much from hearing different perspectives and working with people in all areas of the business. I love the fact that I’m still learning new skills throughout my career and that I can reach out to so many experts to learn even more as we grow as an organization.

I’m constantly inspired by the mentors we have here at Syner-G and how much time and effort they devote to professional development, growth, and learning. Our Medical Writing Fellowship program has trained and developed over a dozen young scientists to be clinical regulatory writers and continues to be a shining example of our core value of #BeBenevolent: to train the next generation of scientists to be the best they can be and contribute to our innovative and science-driven approaches to biopharma product development.

Sudha Gopinath
Program Manager

As a process chemist in training, my love for chemistry drew me toward the pharmaceutical industry. Syner-G BioPharma Group operates across diverse domains, providing abundant knowledge. My scientific journey has transformed into a deep passion, and this industry resonates deeply with me! 

Proud! Not only product to be a woman, proud to be a rising women leader in this industry.

The culture!

This journey in Syner-G inspires me. Everyday is a new day 😊

Velu Heine
Vice President, Regulatory CMC

I chose a career in biopharma to support the development of life saving drugs for patient; I have had the privilege of working in various therapeutic areas including cancer and rare disease where there is a great need to develop new drugs to improve the quality of life for patients. Having the opportunity to participate in bringing new life changing drugs to patients has been a rewarding experience.

Being a woman in the industry is that we have an equal part in developing new therapies for patients. Woman are an integral part of the biopharma success.

Syner-G biopharma provides a supportive work environment to achieve your career goals. The company fosters a culture which values a respectful and collaborative work environment which has been a part of Syner-G’s success.

My family serves as my source of inspiration, offering me strength and great support in both good and challenging times. Over the years working at Syner-G, I have come to view our Syner-G team as an extension of my family as well.

Maria Wik
Vice President, CMC

I had a desire from a young age to be involved with medicine. I lost my little sister to cancer when I was 9 years old, she was 5, this experience triggered a deep interest in the field of medicine and wanting to make an impact. I initially thought that I wanted to be a Doctor but as I grew older, I gravitated more towards engineering classes and started to learn about other opportunities to get involved in the field of medicine. Finally in graduate school, I took a class taught by Syner-G’s own Dr. Scott Rudge and realized that I wanted to get involved more specifically with biotechnology and the development and manufacturing of medicines. I am very grateful I found this industry; I have not regretted my choice and it’s been very rewarding.

I have tried hard to never think of myself as a ‘woman in this industry’.

I grew up being a competitive athlete and I have always been driven by goals. When I started my career in biopharma, I approached it the same way as I had my athletic career. I set up goals and worked to reach them. Whether language was a challenge or being a woman was a challenge, I just viewed it as something that I needed to train harder for. I did not grow up in the USA and language barrier was even more of a challenge for me than being a woman early on in my career.

I was also exceptionally lucky, I realize my journey could have been much harder, but I had the great fortune to start my career in an organization where they strongly valued diversity and actioned this with exceptionally strong programs to really support and leverage diversity. I benefited from numerous leadership classes and mentors to support me. I even think I was blind to the fact that I was a woman in a rather men’s dominated field at the time. One of my male mentors once asked me “don’t you think you miss out from not attending the weekly happy hour that the rest of your peers attend (happened to be all male)”? This had not crossed my mind, but I realized it probably did and this was such an awesome group that they welcomed me with open arms to start joining them for the happy hour and my husband was supportive to logistically allow me to attend when the kids were young. Sure, it was out of my comfort zone to join these happy hours at times, but again ‘train harder’.

The broad exposure to the variety of therapeutics and stages of development that we get involved with as part of working with our clients. I enjoy when we get to work as part of a team of Syner-G experts to serve our clients and the international nature of many of our projects.

The patients and knowing that the work we do makes a difference. My, so far, strongest moment in my career was meeting the mom of a Zolgensma ® patient. Life expectancy for babies born with SMA-1 is less than 2 years. Her baby getting the Zolgensma ® treatment made ALL the difference for that family.

Sai Jayakumar
Program Manager

My career in biopharma was purely a happenstance. Since childhood I have been passionate about animals and my first career choice was to be a veterinarian/animal psychologist where I would be able to work with lots of animals. However, life had other plans for me, and from the different career paths that were presented to me, I preferred Life Sciences involving patient care. I chose biopharma as I could work on patient safety, it was service-oriented, and my work would greatly matter to someone in need be it humans or animals. Biopharma career has made my work invigorating as it resonates with my inner passion and motivates me to give my best, always.

My upbringing always made me feel no different in being a woman or a man. I ensure there are no biases or stereotypes of any type in the ways I do work especially being in a leadership role. I always embrace new challenges, give my best to overcome them, and strive for excellence, and if by doing so, I can be an inspiration to fellow women then I appreciate and value it greatly. Nurturing and Caring are second nature to women and the biopharma industry gives us a great opportunity for us women to make a difference to humanity and in patient lives, so I feel very proud of that fact.

Syner-G is like my second home. All my fellow peers help each other like we are part of ONE family where we can learn and grow. Syner-G gives me a platform and freedom to showcase my capabilities without being judged. The work culture is the best in industry and every day is a new learning. The leadership style in Syner-G is also participative, very encouraging, and open to receiving new ideas. I get recognized for the work done and it motivates me to contribute more and more voluntarily. Overall Syner-G has a very friendly atmosphere backed by a strong value foundation and I love to work for Syner-G.

My inspiration started at home surrounded by plants and animals, I had an innate passion for animals and aspired to always tend to animals in need – that I do to the best of my ability to this day. My greatest inspiration is my parents. They are two individuals who have shown me a great deal of tough and tender love. Their life has shown me that nothing is impossible, there is always a way, and to be pertinacious, creative, self-reliant, self-disciplined, and compassionate. The one piece of advice I got was that no one can control uncertainty, but we must take action anyway and move forward. These values have propelled me to where I am today.
Lastly, an internal urge to grow beyond what I am today is a constant inspiration for me to learn new skills, invent opportunities, and help others succeed.

Stacy Plum

Vice President, CMC and Project Management
Head of Biologics

While I like to believe that I actively chose a career in biopharma, the first time I did basic research, I was hooked and this career chose me. Equipped with a strong sense of curiosity, a desire to untangle complexities and a need to make a positive impact, science was a perfect fit.

As a woman in science, I have had the privilege and honor to contribute to groundbreaking research resulting in scientific and medical advancement. Equally as important, is the opportunity to mentor other young scientists in their careers.

The opportunity to learn each day and contribute to betterment.


Sarah Mohs
Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs

My career in biopharma was inspired by my first job out of college at a contract analytical laboratory working with pharmaceutical clients on many drug development programs. This provided a springboard for a rewarding career guiding the regulatory/compliance aspects of developing innovative drugs while employed at successive pharmaceutical companies and at SynerG.

As one of many women in this industry, I provide what I believe every person does: my unique background, personality, skills and experience to collaborate with colleagues on achieving team goals.

There are many aspects I enjoy about working at SynerG – one of the most rewarding is the opportunity to provide meaningful contribution to the development of life-saving drugs across several indications at many pharmaceutical clients. Each program provides unique challenges that tap into my knowledge from previous work experience, providing a fulfilling environment of new opportunities to both learn and influence.

I am inspired, in both my work and personal life, to continuous learn, do good work, and create positive impact as much as possible. .

Judy Hauser
Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Executive Lead

Since I was a child I have had a keen interest in science and medical research. This gave me a passion to pursue chemistry/biochemistry in college in order to ultimately reach my goal to make contributions to medical research and improve people’s lives. My Regulatory career has provided that and much more. I have also had the opportunity to be a leader and help develop and mentor the future leaders in the industry.

I view my role as a woman in the biopharma industry as an important one. Approximately 5-6 years ago, I was sitting in a global meeting with approximately 25-30 leaders for the company and I looked around the room and recognized I was the only woman. This put my role and the significance of it in full perspective; I made sure I “leaned in” more than ever going forward. I feel it is my responsibility to encourage women to pursue careers in the sciences and the biopharma industry and to develop them (as well as the men team members). I believe one of the best ways to do this is to lead by example and to live by an uncompromising standard of excellence and empathy.

Syner-G is the most collaborative company I have worked for in a career spanning 27 years. For me, it starts with the people I have the privilege to work with every day and the unique culture that our Leadership continues to foster and build upon. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such a knowledgeable and supportive team.

I am inspired by our mission of enabling clients in their quest to bring life-saving and life-enhancing products to patients and what each Syner-G team member brings every day to achieve that. My colleagues consistently demonstrate a commitment to excellence in all that they do and that inspires me to be a part of that. I am inspired by the difference we make for our clients in delivering high quality work and the collective achievements we make as partners in a common goal. I am also inspired by the values Syner-G stands for and the pursuit of performing charitable works such as with the “Making an Impact” initiative.

Caroline Drucker
Senior Manager, Medical Writing Services

My interests have always spanned various disciplines: in school, I enjoyed math, science, reading, language, and psychology. I chose to pursue a PhD in cognitive neuroscience/neurobiology in part because of how interdisciplinary a field it was. While my research combined biology, physics, programming, statistics, and psychology, I realized that the aspect of academia I enjoyed the most was writing and speaking about science. I focused on developing my science communication skills and sought a career that would use those skills to improve lives. This led me to the biopharma industry, and specifically medical writing, where I communicate about clinical research to help sponsors bring new treatment options to patients. My position has “writing” in the name – but it also draws on my scientific background, statistical understanding, and ability to collaborate with cross-functional teams. Biopharma is an industry of continual innovation, and I love that I am always learning something new.

Growing up interested in math and science, I was often in the minority as a girl. I do not take it for granted that both Syner-G and our clients have large numbers of female employees. I am proud to work among these smart women whom I see are respected by our colleagues of any gender. We can serve as role models for younger women and girls who may be uncertain whether a career in science is a viable path for them to follow. At the same time, I hope to see even more women in leadership positions, and particularly executive positions, across the biopharma industry in the years to come.

My colleagues! I am fortunate to work with such bright, motivated, and kind people. I know I can rely on my fellow Syner-G employees to do what they say they will, and to do it well. We all care about each other and support one another. This makes the day-to-day more enjoyable and helps to diffuse stress when things get busy or difficult.

I am constantly inspired by our clients’ dedication to meeting patients’ needs. Developing a new treatment option is a multi-year commitment. Through the many steps in this process, the sponsor teams we’ve worked with have kept in mind the overall goal of serving patient populations. I have seen some of our clients’ emotional investment in their work, both when they celebrate a successful trial or submission, and when they despair over a missed endpoint that means they won’t be able to bring a new treatment to market. The enthusiasm for improving other people’s lives that team members show up with every day keeps me motivated to work hard in support of their development programs.

Melissa Dunne
Senior Director, Finance & Accounting

I have always enjoyed problem solving and working with numbers. Honestly, I didn’t know too much about accounting before I chose that as my major in college, but it seemed to fit my interests and allowed me to do what I enjoyed. As I progressed through college and started taking more advanced level accounting and business classes, I became more and more interested in the business world. A lot of people have an image of accountants as “punching numbers” all day, but there aren’t many other roles where you can learn about the entire business as a whole from the ground up. To be a good accountant and to grow professionally within an organization, you need to understand the business and what makes that business successful.

While women in accounting are becoming more prevalent, female leaders in accounting are still under-represented. As a woman, I am proud to hold a senior level position in the workforce and at Syner-G and I have taken a lot of pleasure in coaching, mentoring and guiding the other women whom I have hired in my career.

I have worked at Syner-G for almost three years. The people and culture are what brought me to Syner-G. It is incredibly motivating to work with such intelligent and respectful co-workers. It is extremely exciting to see how much the company has grown and continues to grow. I feel very lucky to be part of such a great company.

I love being part of a collaborative team and to be motivated each day while also keeping my team motivated and continually learning/developing. It is empowering to have my opinion valued and to have the freedom to work out how to get to the correct answer.

About The Authors