A new generation of life sciences leaders

Arelette Priestley of GSK describes how she benefited from a life sciences leadership masterclass

Last year, I had the privilege to be part of the first cohort of the Life Sciences & Chemical Sciences Leadership Masterclass. The Masterclass provides the opportunity for SMEs and global organisations based in Scotland to identify and develop emerging leaders that have the potential to become key business influencers of the future. The purpose of the Masterclass is to develop a strong leadership capability and network, that maximises the impact of leaders in Scotland and ensure the Life Science and Chemical Science strategies are realised.

The Masterclass begins with a self awareness 360 exercise, supported by individual coaching sessions to identify personal development areas. The 360 is followed by formal workshops, which focus on increasing knowledge of the life and chemical sciences strategies and building capability in useful leadership tools such as change management and the creation of high-performing teams. Part of each workshop is also dedicated to guest speakers to support experiential learning through the sharing of insights from their personal leadership journeys.

After completion of the Masterclass, participants are able to access ongoing development interventions including ‘lunch & learn sessions’ focused on specific leadership development discussion topics. Attendees can also access further resources to support career path development and formal mentoring.

From a personal perspective, I learned a great deal from attending the Masterclass. In addition to building my capability in useful leadership tools such as how to move from operational management to strategic leadership, how to communicate effectively with leaders who have different styles, how to lead effectively in a dynamic complex environment, I also met a fantastic network of peers that I can connect with – both to learn from and to share experience with. I have also been given the opportunity to become a member of the Life and Chemical Sciences Manufacturing Strategy Steering Group, and shape the strategies that we deploy to support the growth ambition for Scotland.

Arelette Priestley is Business Capability Lead, Global Manufacturing and Supply, for GSK. She will speak at the Life Sciences Scotland conference, Moving Forward Together: To 2025 and Beyond on 12th November