People are the chemistry: Jessica Shepps
Responsible for a client’s Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Team and several other client accounts in the Pharmaceutical Finished Product Department, Jessica Shepps serves as liaison between clients and a team of eight analysts to ensure open communication, drive productivity and produce the quality results and deliverables that clients expect. As a senior chemist/group leader, Jessica oversees scheduling, technical challenge resolution, data review, staff performance expectations and that the client’s project needs are met.
Members of this team perform a number of different physical and chemical analyses, including both HPLC and SEC methods for a number of stability studies and clinical trial material submission in support of a client’s New Drug Application. Additionally, the team serves clients by performing the analytical work required to support reference standard programs, including the aliquoting, qualifi cation and re-certification of a number of reference materials that are stored and distributed for clients by Lancaster Labs. “Sometimes we can work for years to help our clients generate the data to verify a product’s efficacy,” says Jessica. “What we do here really does have a positive impact on the client, the healthcare industry and ultimately the world. It’s good to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”
With Lancaster Laboratories since 2003, Jessica takes little credit for the people here; they are the best and the brightest. I simply give them the tools to help them do the best job for the client,” she adds. “I view leadership as an opportunity to collaborate in productive and trusting business relationships. One of my most important responsibilities is to make sure my team always knows how impressed I am by them, and how much the organization, and our clients value their contributions.” Here’s a slice of Jess’ life:
Given all of your responsibilities, how would you describe a typical workday?
I think that most people would agree that it is hard to define a day as “typical.” The industry, and therefore the client need, is evolving constantly, so I would say that my days are mostly driven by the immediate need of my clients. If a client has a sudden request from a regulatory agency, an unexpected result that needs investigational testing or a last minute need for the clinic, that always comes fi rst, and you can never plan for it. Aligning resources and making sure analysts have what they need to expedite successfully is a big part of many days. Given the change and how different every day is, I rely heavily on fl exibility, both in my own planning and from my analyst team.
How would you characterize your leadership style?
My leadership style is defi - nitely hands on and collaborative. I really believe that knowing how best to help my team means really understanding what they deal with and how they work. I believe very much in the strength of teamwork and expect it from the group. Also, I try to always make sure that my communication style as a leader builds trust and makes people feel like they are 10 feet tall. I believe that people will set goals higher for themselves if they know and are frequently reminded that the leadership team is impressed by their performance.
And when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I try to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Whether we are at the park, enjoying our family home in the mountains or just sitting around the table in the backyard, I would always rather be outside. As mother to a 6-year-old girl, much of my time away from work is spent participating in my daughter Grace’s already active social calendar, watching soccer games, reading and studying spelling words or multiplication tables. Other than that, I recently picked up an iPad2, and while I’m not the most tech savvy person, I love it! Figuring out all of the great things that it can do is filling any time that’s left at the end of the day.