Mini Series on an Approach to Career and Professional Development in FSP Models

Life Sciences, Clinical Trials, Pharmaceutical, Drug Discovery & Development,
  • Friday, October 15, 2021 | 11:30am EDT (NA) / 4:30pm BST (UK) / 5:30pm CEST (EU-Central)
  • 30 min

Part 1 – Reaping the Benefits of a Pro-Active Approach to Career and Professional Development in Functional Service Provider (FSP) Models

Part 2 – Panel Discussion: Reaping the Benefits of a Pro-Active Approach to Career and Professional Development in FSP Models

The rapid rise and success of the embedded (Functional Service Provider, FSP) solution in the pharmaceutical services industry has resulted in large-scale, enterprise solutions. Many of these models have been in place for well over a decade, with large blocks of hundreds of provider employees dedicated to a single customer. While it is tempting to consider these as static models with a fixed number of resources, the reality is that these models reflect a dynamic flow as staff continue to develop their careers; hence an equilibrium must be maintained.

However, in the absence of proactive career management and opportunity within a model, too often, this career progression is achieved by the employee leaving the model and possibly, leaving the provider company, resulting in much of the turnover plaguing the industry today. Despite significant attempts to stem the tide, turnover rates have remained a consistent difficulty for the industry. As a result, we question whether this turnover is actually a consequence of how these models are managed and by contract constraints that may restrict a provider’s ability to provide appropriate career progression for staff while in the model.

This webinar mini-series seeks to consider the root causes of this turnover and, equally important, aims to develop solutions that can extend the time staff will remain in a role or within ‘roles‘ while assigned to the customer model. Our focus will be on the clinical monitoring (Clinical Research Associate [CRA]) function, but we believe the findings are relevant to any long-term embedded model. We focus on clinical monitoring because it is one of the most mature and largest embedded functions yet remains the function with the highest turnover rates across all models.

We identify problems causing an imbalance in the equilibrium and provide a range of practical, testable, operational and training solutions to restore a balance that ensures concurrent benefit to both provider and customer, with successful career progression for CRAs achieved with reduced turnover.

Register for this mini-series to learn how employee retention can be improved in organizations with an FSP model to reduce the risk of staff turnover. Part 1  will focus on reaping the benefits of a proactive approach to career and professional development in functional service provider (FSP) models. Part 2 will feature a panel discussion on how participants can improve their own particular circumstances.


John Barry, ICON plc

John Barry, Senior Vice President, Strategic Solutions, Global Strategic Solutions, ICON

John Barry joined PRA Health Sciences, newly acquired by ICON, in 2020 and serves as the SVP and Chief Strategy Officer for the company’s Strategic Solutions Division. In this role, Mr. Barry is responsible for managing the division’s consulting practice and providing strategic oversight on key opportunities and customer models.

Mr. Barry has extensive experience in the drug development industry and has worked as an executive leader in a variety of functions, including alliance management, business development, clinical operations, contracts, proposals and legal. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Barry was the Chief Operating Officer at a mid-size CRO after 4 years as head of portfolio sourcing and relationship management and a member of the senior leadership team for Merck Research Laboratories’ Global Clinical Trials Organization.

Mr. Barry has managed a variety of delivery models, including functional, full-service CRO, single service and sole source relationships. He is well versed across a variety of contract structures, including value-based contracting and has significant experience negotiating innovative commercial and capital models.

Prior to joining Merck, Mr. Barry spent over 20 years working for two of the top five global CROs.

Message Presenter
Sara Brannon, ICON plc

Sara Brannon, Executive Director, Quality & Training Development, Global Strategic Solutions, ICON

Sara Brannon has over 21 years of industry experience, including roles such as Clinical Research Associate/Principal Clinical Research Associate in both the CRO and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as various positions within Quality and Training. In her current position, Ms. Brannon is responsible for overseeing development of effective Training solutions as well as the quality oversight activities for the global division. As part of her role, Ms. Brannon oversees the global execution and delivery of Strategic Solutions’ Academy training programs in support of employee development and upskilling to meet business needs. Additionally, Ms. Brannon provides expertise and consultation to internal and external customers related to the development of proper metrics to track productivity, compliance and quality, as well as define effective training solutions.

Message Presenter
Nicole Duffey, ICON plc

Nicole Duffey, Senior Vice President & Strategic Advisory Partner, Global Strategic Solutions, ICON

Nicole Duffey is an oncology and home health care nurse by education and background who joined the clinical research industry over 23 years ago with a vision of broadening her impact for patients globally. With over 17 years’ organizational tenure, Nicole Duffey, Senior Vice President & Strategic Advisory Partner, has been instrumental in the build of ICON, Global Strategic Solutions, from early client relationships to market differentiation to the transformative models they have in place today.

Serving in a number of different roles within the leadership team, she has been part of GSS’s foundation, a key contributor to the development of ICON’s culture and tremendous business growth during this time. Working in close collaboration with General Management, Regional and Functional Leadership, their Enabling Functions and the Global Strategic Solutions Executive Leadership teams, she has supported the growth and success of her client remits as well as their broader GSS portfolio; leading and enabling progression of today’s partnerships whilst developing deep relationships with their key client executives.

Leveraging her empathetic and compassionate nature, Nicole also leads a variety of DE&I, patient and community centered initiatives at ICON. Her work is centered first and foremost on people, and she’s passionate about amplifying the voices of patients and her colleagues to improve patient care and access to healthcare.

Message Presenter

Maria DiPietro, Vice President & Strategic Advisory Partner, Global Strategic Solutions, ICON

Maria DiPietro, Vice President and Strategic Advisory Partner is responsible for transformational partnerships across the Global Strategic Solutions Division of ICON plc. In her role, she has been responsible for large scale partnerships inclusive of stand-alone Japan operations. Maria provides the overall strategic, operational and fiscal management of these large scale global partnerships with a focus on driving innovation and transformation.

As Executive sponsor of the Global Strategic Solutions Innovation Pillar, she has developed revolutionary commercial models and has evolved operational delivery for ICON and her partner sponsors. Her expertise in driving organizational change, highly performing teams and developing customer-centric transformative strategies drives results. She is passionate about the patient and bringing new therapies to those with unmet needs by continuing to move the needle and improving the drug development process. Through optimized governance and alliance management, she has helped her partners meet their corporate financial and operational objectives with a passion for bringing new treatments to market.

Maria joined the organization in 2003 and was a key member of the leadership team responsible for the development and growth of the Global Strategic Solutions Embedded Model creating market differentiation in the biopharmaceutical life science space. Maria has held several key leadership positions within the organization including Vice President and General Manager, Vice President, Global Alliance Management and Vice President, Strategic Development leading the business development function. Prior to joining ICON, Maria held various operational roles of increasing responsibility across the clinical development, healthcare and technology sectors.

Message Presenter

Nigel Stenner, Vice President & General Manager, Global Strategic Solutions, ICON

Nigel Stenner joined ICON in 2018 as Global Lead for the largest program in the Global Strategic Solutions (GSS) Division. He has since moved up to General Manger and is responsible for global oversight, delivery and continuing improvement for one of GSS key programs. The program has been part of GSS for over 14 years, currently has over 3,900 resources and delivers services from study monitoring through to digital health.

Dr Stenner has over 30 years’ experience in the both Pharma and CRO sides of the drug development industry. He started as a bench scientist before moving into monitoring of studies and on to managing both projects and programs. Prior to joining ICON he worked for a biotechnology company, in a pharmaceutical company and for four global CROs.

He has extensive experience of program, project and client management having supported the development of many pharmaceutical products through all stages of development. He has extensive therapeutic area expertise and supported the development of a small Biopharma Company through to set up and initiation of their first clinical trials.

Dr Stenner has a Ph.D. from the University of Bath, M.Sc. from Birmingham University and B.Sc. from the University of London, St Marys College.


Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

This program will be beneficial for:

  • Project Associates, Clinical Trial Assistants, In-House CRAs
  • People thinking of becoming a CRA and pursuing a career in clinical operations
  • CRAs of all levels
  • Line Managers of CRAs
  • Clinical Operations Directors and above, including department heads
  • Financial Directors and above, including department heads
  • Recruiters
  • HR Directors and above, including department heads

What You Will Learn

In this two-part webinar, participants will learn about:

  • The importance of career and professional development for employee retention
  • The predictable danger zones for when staff decide to move to a new organization
  • How to ensure top talent is proactively managed within the entire talent management framework
  • Practical, testable, operational and training solutions to mitigate the risk of staff turnover
  • Answers from the expert panel on how to improve your own particular circumstances

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ICON plc is a world-leading healthcare intelligence and clinical research organisation. From molecule to medicine, we advance clinical research providing outsourced services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and government and public health organisations. We develop new innovations, drive emerging therapies forward and improve patient lives. With headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, ICON will operate from 150 locations in 47 countries and have approximately 38,000 employees as of July 1, 2021.

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