Mylan UK's Katie Sewards on what it means to make a difference

Amy Schofield 24 April 2017


Katie Sewards, Brand Manager at Mylan UK, on what it means to make a difference.


What do you do?

I am currently managing the Hormone Replacement Therapy portfolio at Mylan UK, offering women a complete range of options to improve their quality of life through their menopause. I am responsible for developing and delivering on brand strategy, marketing plans and the financial objectives, as well as collaboratively working with all aspects of the business and supporting all sales functions.


What does Mylan specialise in?

Mylan is one of the largest generics and speciality pharmaceutical companies in the world, manufacturing and marketing more than 2700 different products to retail, wholesale, government and institutional customers. With a workforce of more than 35,000, we market our products in over 165 countries and territories. Mylan’s commercial presence in the UK includes branded medicines, hospital, generic and over-the-counter products.


How did you get to the position you’re in today?

I fell into the pharma world five years ago after joining a consumer advertising agency in Leeds and working on various healthcare projects. I was then asked to join their healthcare division in London and was heavily focussed on digital across a number of therapy areas. I was lucky enough to be offered an in-house marketing secondment with Boehringer Ingelheim, to deliver on a specific project. It was there that I got the taste for brand management and knew it was an area I wanted to pursue. I went on to join Boehringer’s sales team and carried out a primary and secondary care hybrid sales role, before joining Meda as a junior product manager. Mylan has just acquired Meda.


What are your career highs and milestones?

One of the things I am proud of is the diverse range of experience I have gained in the last few years. I’ve worked on consumer TV campaigns, award-winning digital initiatives, been part of a number one sales team and managed a product which has delivered strong growth. When I got into brand management I started as a junior, quickly proved myself and was promoted. More recently I presented at our sales conference and delivered the 2017 strategy to our integrated Meda/Mylan team of over 100 people, ranging from sales representatives to senior management team members.


What drives you?

I am naturally a passionate and ambitious person, but one of the reasons I have stayed in pharma is the feeling of making a difference. I love hearing stories from customers about improving a patient’s quality of life and knowing I’ve had a small part in that. I’ve also used my experience to volunteer my time to a women’s health charity over the past 12 months. Being part of a company such as Mylan – whose mission is to provide seven billion people with access to high-quality medicine – helps provide sense on a daily basis. So, in a way, I am very proud to provide better health for a better world.


What’s the best piece of careers advice you’ve ever been given?

While on secondment I was keen to get into a marketing role, but was advised to gain experience in sales before pursing any options. At the time this wasn’t what I wanted to hear, however, it turned out to be invaluable advice. I had 12 months in a sales role and, during that time, I learnt more about the environment, NHS challenges and the reality facing pharma than I would have done in any other role. I also managed to get my ABPI qualification in the process.


How do you turn challenges into opportunities?

A challenge gives you a starting block for transformation and new avenues to pursue. I find that being honest and getting different perspectives from different people also helps.


How do you see industry evolving in the future?

The pharma industry is on a journey of change and the challenges which we face are only increasing. I believe that in order to be sustainable, companies need to be more innovative, adapt quickly and become healthcare partners who add value and solutions to the healthcare industry. I think this process will continue – we will have to be creative with our approaches and move away from traditional means of communication. Digital will be pivotal moving forward.


Where would you like to be five years from now?

Due to the integration, my career with Mylan is only just beginning and I am very excited about what that may look like. Ideally over the next few years I’d like to increase my brand management experience across a number of therapy areas and potentially branch out into a European or global role. Who knows what may be around the corner!


What advice would you give to a person entering the pharma sales industry now?

Embrace all opportunities because you don’t know where it may lead you. Believe in your products and talk to as many people as possible, because you never know what nuggets of information you could get. Ultimately, hard work always pays off.  


Go to mylan.co.uk





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