Marlin Frechette is the chief quality and compliance officer at FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific. But she has another role. Frechette is also a member of Phacilitate’s Women in Advanced Therapies program, and was formerly a mentor, and she tells us here how the program supports women in executive level life science roles.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFrechette takes up the story.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAs part of my role as chief quality and compliance officer for FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific, I help to oversee the global compliance of our range of advanced cell culture media solutions across quality systems, global regulatory, corporate compliance and environmental health and safety. Having worked in this industry for over 30 years now, I have had to overcome many of the challenges that women still face within STEM, and even more so when trying to reach executive-level positions. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI have a great passion for science, and being a woman in the advanced therapies market has been a wonderful experience for me, however it is my vision to see more women joining me at leadership levels, and so I joined Phacilitate’s Women in Advanced Therapies (WIAT) initiative.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhacilitate’s WIAT initiative was created to provide a community support network from all areas and experience levels across the advanced therapies industry. Despite the rapid advancement seen in this field, such as cell and gene therapy, in recent years, there still remains a substantial gender skills gap across all levels of the industry, from entry-level to board positions. Phacilitate’s WIAT was formed on a belief that recognizing and addressing diversity and inclusion are pivotal to realizing the true potential of our industry, retain the best talent and remain ahead of the competition. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBy creating this network, Phacilitate’s WIAT aims to facilitate a safe space to support, share experiences (good or bad), and provide the best possible springboard from which to promote the next generation of female leaders. As a member, I participate alongside other women, sharing stories and discussing the difficulties they have experienced, and how those experiences can best help others achieve success. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBeing an organization that encourages members at all stages of their career, there are always new challenges, opportunities and viewpoints to discuss and it is a fantastic learning experience.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI have been fortunate enough to take on a mentorship role within the organization for a period of time, which was a fantastic opportunity. As a mentor, I was able to utilize my industry experience to help guide my mentee through the early stages of her advanced therapies career, to provide her with insights from someone who has been in her position, whilst also taking the opportunity to learn many things from her. As a highly driven, passionate and intelligent individual with a strong desire to advance her career within the industry, I am very proud to see the big changes and progression my mentee has achieved.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Phacilitate’s WIAT program is a supportive forum that promotes open and honest conversation on women’s experiences within the Advanced Therapies industry. Not only does it allow those of us that have reached leadership positions to share best practices, but it also gives us a fresh perspective of those who are currently working their way through their careers, providing an inspiring opportunity for all of us.