Mechelen, Belgium

From sample management technician to project management supervisor: meet Yentl

Yentl was working in a call center for the Flemish government before she started a sample management role with Covance Mechelen in 2011.

She didn’t have a medical background and shared that she initially didn’t even know what a clinical trial was, but she was looking for something different – and the sample management role offered her a new opportunity that she very much enjoyed.

“I was really at ease in my position, coming to work with a smile and going home with a good feeling. But after five years, I thought, maybe I have some more in me,” she said.

That’s when Yentl moved into an investigator support role and eventually started working under Irina, who is currently a senior team manager in the global project management organization and who inspired her to apply for a regional study coordinator (RSC) or associate project manager role.

“At a certain point in your career, you need to have someone who believes in you to make things happen,” Yentl said. “My manager believed in me. She woke me up and made me believe that I could do so much more than I thought I could.”

Yentl said that this was when she started to notice how much she liked to support others and take on leadership roles. She started taking external courses to build her leadership and coaching skills and pitching in by helping her supervisor with team management tasks.

“All of our project management supervisors at the time were in Geneva so I started acting as a representative for our new Mechelen project management hires, making sure that I was onsite to welcome them on their first day and guide them,” Yentl said.

The leadership team noticed how Yentl took initiative to participate in regional and global projects and started to go to her for additional needs. In May 2018, she was able to go to Bangalore, India, to train a new client coordinator team for one week.

In July 2020, Yentl had the opportunity to take on a supervisory role managing a team of RSCs. She currently has two teams with 17 direct reports. She’s also functioning as a hiring manager for new study maintenance roles.

She said that most RSCs were working at least 50 percent from home prior to the pandemic so this has not had too much effect on her role, but she is looking forward to having one-on-one meetings face-to-face at some point.

She plans to grow in her current role and hopes to advance into a manager role with more responsibilities in the future.

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