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Tell us more about ‘Head of Industry’…

As part of our day in a life series exploring the different team roles here at ICHP, Head of Industry, Gemma Gerzon shares her day with us.

I first open my eyes…
I always wake up around 7am without an alarm. My first priority of the morning is my coffee machine and then I put on the Today programme. I train and tube to work in whatever viable combination and count myself lucky that I usually can get a seat (for at least) the first part of the journey. I subscribe to The Times and Economist so read through those on the journey, the business and politics section are my favourite.

I’m responsible for…
All things Industry and also playing a key role in liaison with our externally funded projects. One of the key drivers for Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) is creating economic impact so at ICHP we have a role to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the sector. In addition to bring innovation to the sector it is important to form relationships with industry partners which may benefit the wider NHS. As the scope of industry is so broad and AHSNs are still relatively new we are still developing our approach to this community. Most recently, I have been developing our engagement with the investment community to understand their approach to investing in health start ups.

My path took me…
I’ve always worked in the health sector in both public and private sphere. I was a Graduate Management trainee at Bupa, moved into the NHS in Senior Business Development roles, then to the Department for International Trade as an Assistant Director for China at Healthcare UK. I went to China initially on a British Council Programme straight after university for a year. During that year I learnt to speak Mandarin and travelled all over the country – it was great to have an opportunity to learn it. I also lived for about 8 months in Beijing whilst I was working for Bupa, seconded into the new business there. I saw this current role advertised on NHS jobs and my intrigue about AHSNs and NHS roles with a commercial focus (not just contracts!) led me to apply.

My daily calendar looks like…
Mixture of meetings, phone calls and desk time (as well as reminders). I balance multiple projects so I need to be reasonably flexible with my time. I also like to build in time for networking internally and externally as these opportunities often yield the best source of intelligence for supporting my work.

My most memorable work moment…
ICHP value a healthy balanced culture – for Christmas this year we got to go to the Crystal Maze! It was only my second week and I was given the honour of being a team captain… not sure if they trusted my leadership or it was an early test…

My biggest groan about my job is…
The constant changing landscape means that sometimes original priorities or initiatives can get overtaken or subsumed. The NHS is made up of multiple organisations so stakeholder management can be very complex.

My best part of my job…
I love the constant learning opportunities that ICHP brings, that combined with working with great people on really exciting impactful projects, keeps me coming back!