Interview With Tarita Qveflander
Tarita Qveflander is the Head of Strategic Sourcing and Direct Procurement at Sobi – Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB. Tarita has 18+ years of pharmaceutical operations, supply chain, and procurement experience. She also has extensive knowledge of global API/drug substance, drug product, and finished goods supply chain, including hands-on technical expertise and a deep understanding of quality and GMP regulations.
Tarita has a natural networking ability expanded through living in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland and working in multiple countries and cultures (Europe, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and the US). Tarita is fluent in six languages (Native Finnish, Native Swedish, Full Professional English, German and Danish, and Limited Working Italian).
How do women get a seat at the table?
- By asking for it. In my experience, if you want to be part of a discussion or get a seat at the table, make sure to be prepared and don’t be shy to ask for it. In many cases I have encountered, I have heard my friends say “they should ask me if I’m interested” but I rather say “you tell them that you want it”.
What do you wish that you knew early in your career that would have been helpful?
- That there are females out there that are willing to support and push for you to succeed. I was not fortunate in my early career to have females around me that wanted to support but rather the opposite. This created an unwillingness from my side to continue certain paths. Had I known and been able to find support groups and inspirations, I might have been in a different position today.
How have opportunities for women in the Pharma Industry changed over time?
- I think in Europe it has changed quite significantly over past years. Several companies have hired female leaders and diversity is looked upon as something natural. In my company, especially in Technical Operations, we have three of the six director positions filled by a woman (Sobi, Swedish company, based out of Stockholm). In my previous company (Biogen, American company, Zug European HQ), there was also lot of focus on diversity. Since COVID, it’s also possible to work part-time, work from home, share jobs, 100% or other opportunities, which allows females the opportunity to combine home and career.
What role has mentoring played in your career, either as a mentor, mentee, or both?
- This has been crucial for getting guidance on topics that has been/are challenging when working and thinking about your career. For me it has been crucial to have both a male and female mentor at the same time to get a calibrated view on different topics, whether its career related or how to handle difficult situations. I have also been a mentee for people in my career, both in the same function and other functions, both male and female. This has helped my listening skills and trying to understand what they really are looking for. Sometimes the question asked is not always the question they want answered.
What is the one piece of advice that you would give to women in the Pharma Industry that will help them become better leaders?
- Don’t be so “boxed in” on the path you need to take to become a leader. There are different paths out there, each specific for your own choices. Inspiration to grow can come from everywhere, does not have to be an MBA or a special course in leadership, it can be as simple as volunteering for sailing training for young kids.