by Jennifer Lauria Clark, Director ISPE International Board of Directors

As a student member of ISPE and a Young Professional engaged in the pharmaceutical industry, I looked up to the ISPE International Board of Directors.  I expected guidance, direction, education and strong leadership from this perceived “untouchable” group of industry leaders.

As my volunteering opportunities grew with ISPE, my engagement with some of the board members grew as well.  This group of industry thought leaders were asking me for my opinion. I was included in discussions and events because they valued my background, view of industry and the future needs I saw as a Young Professional.  I was humbled by this invitation to participate in making our industry stronger.

In 2012, I was asked by a colleague to be nominated for the ISPE International Board of Directors. At first, I was not sure about the details and time commitment. I was overwhelmed with the support from the board members, explaining to me the various committees and task teams I could be involved with during my tenure.  Little did I know, I was making one of the best decisions of my career!

Below is a short Q&A on some of the most common questions I’ve been asked about my time with ISPE and serving on the ISPE International Board of Directors.

What was your involvement in ISPE before you were on the Board?
ISPE CaSA Student Chapter Officer
ISPE CaSA Student Affairs Committee Chair
ISPE CaSA President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary
ISPE International Young Professionals Committee Chair for 2 years

How has your involvement changed since becoming a Board member?
My engagement level at ISPE is not more or less, but different. It has given me a new perspective on what it takes to successfully support an organization.

My involvement with ISPE has grown over the past four years and helped me become more of a strategic thinker.  I have had the opportunity to look at budgets, help support creative decision making and work through challenging and successful policies with board members.  My tactical support was minimized, while my strategic support grew.  As a board member, you help determine the direction for the society, which may or may not include participating in the task team to move those events, conferences or decisions forward.

What do feel are the most challenging aspects of serving on the Board?
The most challenging aspect is no stranger to anyone who is busy – getting everyone together at the same time.  We have conference calls and pay close attention to time commitments of all the busy leaders on the board.

Most rewarding?
The most rewarding aspect of serving on the board are the relationships that I have developed and friendships I’ve made along the way.  This makes the mentoring and tough discussions easier, as we are striving to decide what is best for the society and how it will impact the industry.

What does it mean to you to be an ISPE International Board Member?
Being an ISPE International Board Member means you’re a strategic leader in our industry. You do not have to be a CEO or an EVP to bring great value to the board.  Being on a board like ISPE, you learn that diversity makes the board stronger, therefore strengthening the position of the society in which you are serving.  Being a board member makes me feel like I am part of the solution to serving our patients and making sure our industry has the most current and technical education available to run effectively, efficiently and ethically.

How has being on the Board helped your career?
By serving on the ISPE International Board of Directors, I have learned how to manage and evaluate multi-million dollar budgets.  I have learned how to navigate political waters and be a part of a team much larger than me or my organization.  The relationships I have made on the board are not just for a tenure, they’re for a lifetime!  I greatly appreciate the mentoring, coaching and discussions that have elevated me in my current career.

What advice do you have for those who are interested in becoming a Board candidate?
Take a chance! If you believe you have something to offer from a business, technical or relationship perspective then make sure to get your nomination in by 26 February 2016.  The board is a group of elected ISPE members, just like yourself.  There is a need for different talents and viewpoints to make the society run effectively.  If you’re a passionate about your job, not afraid of financials and relish deep strategic thought sessions, then you’re a perfect candidate for the Board.

My time on the board has given me an enhanced perspective of the industry. It has sharpened my business skills and forced me to think and go outside my comfort zone. I have loved every minute of each task and challenge that has been presented to myself and my fellow board members.  Participating in the various teams to support Affiliates/Chapters and the Biotech Strategy Steering Committee have been two of my most meaningful contributions professionally.

If you are looking at possibly nominating yourself or a colleague, I say go for it!  You will never know how influential or how strategic your decision will be for your own career and the success of our industry unless you try.  As I am in my fourth year on the board I have realized, I am not one of the “untouchables” and my colleagues never were either.

Submit your nomination or nominate someone today!  Deadline to submit is 26 February 2016.

Jennifer Lauria Clark, Director ISPE Board of Directors


Jennifer Lauria Clark, CPIP
Director ISPE International Board of Directors
Director, Technical Services, Commissioning Agents, Inc.