We caught up with Monsurat Hanson, Clinical Research Associate, to find out more about the challenges that exist for Black professionals in the pharmaceutical industry today, and why she and colleagues identified a need to set up the Black Pharma organisation.
How did you get into the pharma industry?
I’m currently a Clinical Research Associate and I’ve been in the industry for about seven years, predominantly in Clinical Operation roles. The main challenge I found along the way, specifically in my earlier years, was seeing my non-black colleagues who perhaps started at the same time as me, or even after, being promoted to roles I had already mentioned to managers that I was interested in moving into. For this reason, I usually felt that I had to work a bit harder than others.
Are there still barriers for Black individuals to enter the pharma industry in your opinion?
I personally think the major barrier black people face in entering the pharma industry is the lack of representation, especially at senior levels. People are encouraged by representation and if black individuals can see others in the industry, particularly at that senior level, it certainly will encourage more professionals to move into it.
The major barrier black people face in entering the pharma industry is the lack of representation, especially at senior levels.Monsurat Hanson, Black Pharma
Do you believe that the sector as a whole is doing enough to drive diversity?
I think that the sector as a whole does acknowledge that more needs to be done to increase diversity and I believe the advent of the #BlackLivesMatter movement certainly caused an awakening. Discussions are being had and a number of companies are working to implement strategies to drive diversity, but the industry still has a while to go.
What were the reasons for setting up Black Pharma?
Essentially, Black Pharma was established to see a greater representation of black professionals across the pharmaceutical industry. If the products of the industry are for everyone, surely then the teams in the industry should be just as diverse to better serve these patients.
What is Black Pharma prioritising in the coming year?
Helping more black people get into the pharma industry and to develop further once they get there. We’ll also be holding more events (virtually for now but hopefully we can meet up soon physically)!
Are you positive about the future for Black professionals in pharma?
Very positive! Since launching in August 2020, we’ve been receiving a great number of requests from people wanting to use our service and general positive feedback which was cemented following the feedback from our first virtual event, #BlackInPharma.
What advice would you give to a young Black person who may be thinking about a career in pharma?
Go for it! Speak to as many people as possible that you may already know in the industry, research the opportunities available and contact Black Pharma!
Diversity Network is proud to support the work of Black Pharma, which works to facilitate access to industry jobs and to support opportunities for professional development. For more information, visit their website, send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on social media (Twitter and Instagram – @blackpharmaorg, LinkedIn – Black Pharma).