Career close-up: Alessandra Dorigo

Pf talks to Alessandra Dorigo, who was recently appointed General Manager UK, Ireland, Baltics and Nordics at Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA), a Novartis company.

Tell us about the roles that led you to being General Manager?

After I graduated from the University of Milan with a degree in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies, I began my career in pharma at J&J Diagnostics in a junior marketing role. I didn’t know much about the world of pharma or marketing at the time, but curiosity motivated me to accept the offer and I’ve never looked back.

In April 2001, I joined Novartis Oncology and worked in the field of oncology for over 15 years, before moving to a role leading Novartis’ Neurosciences franchise for five years, which involved managing chronic neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis and Migraine.

Having been with Novartis for over 20 years and having worked in the oncology division for over 15 of those years, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to return to the field of oncology when I was offered the role of General Manager UK & Ireland, Baltics and Nordics at AAA. Together with my new AAA colleagues, I am excited to be pioneering a new and exciting pillar of oncology treatment with an innovative form of precision nuclear medicine.

What do you love most about being a General Manager?

I love leading a diverse team, working together to go the extra mile to transform the lives of patients and society as a whole. Our mission at AAA is to develop innovative radioligand therapies and precision imaging products for the benefit of cancer patients in the UK and beyond, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to support all my colleagues with this mission in my new role.

Do you think the role of General Manager in pharma has changed over the years?

I think the role has changed, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that innovation today will help to build a healthier tomorrow. Now more than ever, leaders in healthcare and pharma need to be adaptable, forward thinking, and open to collaboration across health systems to ensure patient need is met not only now, but beyond the pandemic.

How would your team describe you?

Driven, energetic, inclusive and an inspiring leader.

What inspired you to want to work in the field of oncology?

I lost my father to a rare form of cancer called malignant Schwannoma when I was 14 years old, and this drove me to want to have a positive impact on the lives of people with cancer. The potential to improve the lives of patients is still what drives me today and, as a leader, I strive to keep this at the heart of everything I do.

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

Be authentic and be yourself!

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

Moving to the UK for the first time and learning the culture, along with my entire family, is the biggest challenge and adventure that I am about to embark on!

Do you have any rituals or habits you need to do to have a productive day?

I try to start my day in a positive way by waking up each morning and repeating a quote from Gandhi to myself: “you must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

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