employee stories

Life as our Group Professional Development Director

Diane Sutherland reveals her typical day at Fishawack Health and how she ensures every employee has the tools they need to achieve their career goals.

Diane Sutherland

Group Professional Development DirectorAbingdon, UK

What does your role consist of and why were you drawn to it?

As the title suggests, my role involves all aspects of learning and development for our Fishawack Health employees. For individual employees, this ranges from their induction into the company, to planning, implementing, and managing the training specific to their development in their role and as they move through their career pathway. I also support teams with their career pathway evolution – ensuring job descriptions and competency frameworks are aligned and up to date, overseeing the appraisal processes, and supporting the line managers across the business.

Before taking on this role, I worked in different senior positions in the Scientific Services and Client Service functions at Fishawack Health. I always loved the people side of those jobs, so I was delighted when the leadership team asked me to take on and develop a new role dedicated to professional development back in 2012. It continues to challenge and engage me as we grow and allows me to stay involved with partners across the business, old and new.

What’s a typical day like?

My ‘typical’ day changes so much, which is one of the most appealing things about the job, but one constant is the amount of liaison with colleagues. On any day, I might be discussing team training needs with a function head, team lead, or training co-ordinator, organizing and running training sessions with external trainers or line managers, preparing courses for our Bridge learning platform, or promoting our STEPS training program at careers events, among many other things.

Why did you want to work for Fishawack Health?

It was a golden opportunity to be involved in building up a new venture with a very special group of close friends, colleagues, and clients, who had been so influential in my career at my first MedComms agency. When I joined Fishawack Health back at the beginning of 2003, we were an enthusiastic group of 13 people with a shared vision. I can honestly say that in the 18 years that I have been part of the Fishawack Health family, that journey has continued to be a rewarding and fulfilling adventure as we’ve grown and evolved beyond anything I could have imagined.

With all that work, is there time for play?

As much as I love my job, I cherish my spare time! Being a hardy Scot, I’m a great lover of nature and the outdoors – on land and at sea – and I am a keen swimmer, kayaker, hiker, and golfer.

My indoor hobbies are much more sedate. I love cooking, and thanks to some generous gift experiences, I have trained in Raymond Blanc’s cooking school and even had a day in a professional Michelin-starred kitchen, which was amazing!

Socializing and travel are also high on the list – in normal times – and I’ve been very privileged both inside and outside work to visit some truly amazing countries and meet and work with inspiring people from many cultures. When I was a research scientist back in the 90s, I worked in Kenya on sleeping sickness in camels, which gave me a deep appreciation and lasting love of Africa. I’ve been back recently to revisit all the old haunts with my children and was pleased to see how captivated they were by it too.

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