Meet the Team – Q&A with Nicole LeBlanc QA Associate
Hailing from Canada, Nicole moved to Scotland in 2016 after graduating from the University of Alberta with a BSc in Agriculture and a Major in Animal Science. She began her career as an animal technician in 2017 before moving to a large global CRO where she worked her way up to Quality Assurance Auditor II and then finally, joined Tower Mains as QA Associate.
Here, Nicole 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?
When I first started working in GXPs I didn’t realise that QA existed. In university, GLP didn’t come into any of our modules, even when I had been volunteering in different labs on campus to try and find out what type of job I might like! Working in animal rooms and the pathology department, I became aware of QA (mostly because data would go to QA and come back with sticky notes or Track wise observations that needed to be answered). I thought that sounded like an interesting job, because able to look at the study data from start to finish, rather than only seeing the inside of an animal room or a PM room. I knew that the samples I collected went to the lab, but with the workload, there wasn’t time to really look into what those samples were for, or really read much past the tissue collection table. I saw that the QA department was hiring, and by this point, I had a fairly good idea of what good data recording was supposed to look like, so if I could do it, I could audit it, right? QA was just as fast-paced as the operations side, but now I was able to see the entire process, the different study types, and help work on continuous improvement projects within QA and with Operations. After I got the job and was describing it to my dad, he translated my description into ‘nit-picker in the corner’ but also said ‘it sounds like the perfect job for you.’ I chose to take it as a compliment!
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
It might be cheesy, but I honestly think it’s been moving to Tower Mains, but also having my old manager support me in my move and acknowledge was a great opportunity it was for me was really nice. I really like that I can now travel widely for work, something I have always wanted to do, and learn more about all the different GxPs. Being able to see how the regulations work in so many places other than just my corner of Scotland is so satisfying to me.
You’re fairly new to the team at Tower Mains, what have you enjoyed the most so far?
I’ve really enjoyed getting into the vendor audits, and how supportive the team has been when I have questions. I like that Tower Mains is truly flexible with working (even if it has taken me a bit to get used to it!) I can work from home when I want to, but when I don’t, the office is there for me to use.
What makes you tick outside of work?
I really like being outdoors, so I’ve been trying to get out more with the local hillwalking group and I try to go to parkrun as often as I can. I’m currently taking tennis lessons to try something different, and when I need to try and relax, I like to read. I’m currently reading The Sixth Extinction, which is fairly bleak.