Meet the Team – Q&A with Katarina Eghan, Director of TMQA Central Europe

Having joined in 2013, Katarina is one of Tower Mains’ longest-serving team members. With over 14 years of experience in GCP and GMP, she began her career as a Pharmacy Technician/Production Manager in an early-phase research unit before moving into QA and completing her MSc in Quality Management in Scientific Research and Development.

Here, Katarina tells us what initially attracted her to QA, her career highlights, and what makes her tick outside of work.

What initially attracted you to a career in QA?

I started my career in clinical research working in the pharmacy department of a London-based early-phase research unit. The early-phase healthy volunteer trials were being run by great teams of professionals such as research nurses and physicians, laboratory, pharmacy, and volunteer recruitment staff, clinical physiologists, and others (some of my dearest friends worked alongside me during this time). The unit also had an internal QA department which was an excellent source of knowledge and support in all matters related to compliance and process development and improvement. I loved the buzz of the place, brought about by the abundance of activities from early mornings through, at times, late evenings. I remember being super excited when there was an announcement of a regulatory inspection, internal QA, or external client audit as these activities allowed us to formally assess our department’s compliance status (and as we strived to always be at the top of our game, we welcomed the opportunities for external assessment of our work). It was interesting to watch how quality and compliance professionals approached these assessments and, subsequently, I realised that I wanted to join this community. I achieved this goal by taking up the role of QA Manager at another London-based early-phase research unit, as well as completing the MSc in Quality Management in Scientific Research and Development (run by Cranfield University, in collaboration with the RQA), which gave my career a great footing. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my QA journey ever since.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

I’ve been fortunate to work at large and small Contract Research Organisations as well as large pharmaceutical organisations before joining Tower Mains in 2013 (yes, I’ve been part of the Tower Mains gang for nearly a decade!). Following the birth of my son, I came back to work on a part-time flexible basis. I am grateful to be able to arrange my work commitments around childcare and flexibly juggle work assignments with my home life.

Do you have any tips for those wishing to progress in QA?

QA very much suits my personality and I’ve been able to grow professionally as well as personally over the years. It can, however, be a bit lonely at times and one must be able to make independent decisions that have to be infallible. This can be tricky given the ever-increasing complexity of clinical trials and the related processes and systems as well as the fast pace of audit activities. Nonetheless, the knowledge that you help assure quality and compliance of clinical research, underpinning innovative medicines being brought to patients, can be rewarding (and working out the intricate details of complex processes or trials can be fun)!

What makes you tick outside of Tower Mains?

Even though I have a young family and a job that takes me away from home regularly, the flexible work arrangements and support of my family have allowed me to take regular art classes and enjoy theatre plays, concerts, and art exhibitions. I love being surrounded by family and friends, and we have loads of fun going on trips or simply spending time together whenever possible.

To find out more about what Katarina and the Tower Mains team can do for you, click here, or email us at info@towermains.com.