Spirit is what Amy VanBuskirk is about, you might say. And she appreciates it in the company she works for, too. "Roche is a leader," she says. "It competes to win but is not a mammoth pharmaceutical company. It's small so it has more heart behind it. You feel that, but you still have to fight to win."
Amy never let the grass grow beneath her feet, coming east from Portland, Oregon, where she grew up and went to Catlin Gabel School. Always interested in science, Amy dove into high school science projects and fairs, including doing DNA lab research on zebra fish. "But I didn't want to just work in a lab. Someone suggested I work in a clinical situation," she says. After graduating from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology in 1996, Amy did clinical research as an intern in California, studying new products in patients. She made sure the studies were conducted safely, that patients were protected and that doctors reported the data accurately. "I loved working for a pharmaceutical company and the values that they bring to patients, so I decided to get my Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke University and got a job," she says. She now lives in Manhattan and works in Nutley.
"I went back to pharmaceuticals with the end goal of marketing," she explains. "I was also interested in Roche as a company. Passion and corporate culture and multi-functional experience brought me to Roche and kept me here." She is in the Leadership Development Program (LDP), which offers the opportunity to spend time in several different departments within the company, such as marketing, production and business development.
Amy started in the LDP as a market analyst, analyzing sales data, doing market research (listening to what customers say about products) and interviewing focus group participants. Now in her second year, she is working on a product for chronic kidney disease. She may move to either another product or another type of job pertaining to her current product. "I hope to end up as a brand director in marketing. I would run a brand--be the mini-president of that brand."
Nonstop spirit and energy are what it's all about for Amy. "The company is shifting and reorganizing itself," she says. "You see that vision and that passion and you feel that the CEO and executives do remarkable things for the company. It transfers down to everyone. It is an amazingly rich and vital organization."