Interview by N-SIDE's Life Sciences Marketing Coordinator, Mégane Noirfalise
I recently had the opportunity to visit our US Office in Cambridge, Boston and sit down with some N-SIDERs to talk about what it is like to work in the heart of a powerful pharma and biotech industry hub. Now supported by more than 15 people, the East Coast team has recently recruited some new additions to its ranks. Let's take a look at what a few of them have to say about working for N-SIDE on the other side of the ocean.
Meet some members of the N-SIDE US Team
What is it like working in the pharma/biotech hub that is Cambridge?
Francesca: I really like that it's very "science-y" here. When I came out of college and moved here, I felt that everyone was really involved in sciences-related fields, which I thought was really fun. Meeting people around here, everyone would talk about their research which helped me really enjoy that environment. A lot of people from my PhD class moved here because there were so many opportunities in the industry.
Kathleen: I moved here for my studies but I stayed because there were some many opportunities in the pharma and biotech sector. To have such a professional network and a framework already existing locally is really nice for a young person wanting to learn about the industry in general. It really positions N-SIDE well to be here.
Jake: Being that the city is such a hub, we have affiliation with organizations like CIC and MassBio, which allows us to better network in a very close proximity. It gives us access to a lot of opportunities. For example, when walking to get lunch, you might run into someone from a partner company or a client. It happens here more than in any other place and it's really great. It's nice because we are within walking distance from most of our clients.
Krista: Yes, one of the main focuses of the US Office is to grow our brand and participate in more networking events. These are either in our very own building at CIC or with organizations we are affiliated with such as MassBio. To me, it's really fun to meet lots of people from the pharma and biotech space. It's inspiring to work for N-SIDE because we are making a difference from both a sustainability perspective and within clinical trials. We are an absolute game-changer in the industry which motivates each of us everyday.
What do you like about the N-SIDE US Office in particular?
Jake: The best part of the US office is we all get along very well and each of us enjoys coming to the office everyday. The beauty of it stems from the fact that we're all so different and being that the team here is so small, we get to promote those differences. Being that we are a smaller group at the moment, this has helped everyone create a solid bond.
Kathleen: Although we are growing, it's still a small enough team that I feel like I know everybody personally. It's very different working here compared to a larger company because we have all become friends with each other.
Francesca: Yes, I feel comfortable asking anyone anything, really. But the fact that we're so few and close also means we're more approachable and personable with each other! Here, everyone's got your back. We'll easily see when someone is having a hard time and we'll go to that person and ask what is wrong and how we can help.
Krista: It's really exciting. For the longest time I did not see the office because I was working remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions but we've been coming in for a few months and it's really great. There's this energy, and not just from our team, but also from the other companies around. Being that we have a chance to be involved in the growth of our team and development of our culture it gives us a chance to be integrated on multiple levels. I find this to be of huge value at N-SIDE.
Which of the N-SIDE values do you relate to the most and why?
Before asking them this question, I quizzed our 4 N-SIDERs to see if they remembered the core values of our company. No surprise here, they were able to name all seven of them (with just a little bit of help from my side). However, which among passion, fun, diversity, transparency, commitment, innovation and collaboration do they most relate to?
Francesca: For me it's passion. I like it that people want to feel good about the work they're doing. N-SIDE really emphasizes that they want to help people.
Kathleen: Yes, like Francesca, it's passion. When I joined and started working on projects with more senior members of the departments you could feel that people really care about their work. This is not just because they're supposed to, but because the mission of N-SIDE is really built into the work and everyone identifies with it.
Jake: In my experience, in order to have the most trustworthy relationships, you need to be transparent. So transparency correlates with me the most. Transparency leads to trust. The second you're able to build a trustworthy relationship with the people around you, that's when you're able to do great things and impact the world much greater than without trust. Being transparent maximizes your potential.
Kathleen: Exactly, everybody here is really supportive and believes that any individual success is also a success for everybody else. The collaboration also ties in here. It's all about collaboration and not competition.
Krista: I related to all of them and all are very present. But the ones I relate to most and that are the most unique from other companies are both fun and passion. Even though most companies try to do that, at N-SIDE it's not just something Marketing or HR says, but it's very much ingrained in every aspect, every conversation I have with someone. Even if it's a more serious or stressful conversation, there's always room to be friendly and have some fun.
You all went to Belgium for your onboarding. What was your favorite place there and most importantly, your favorite Belgian food?
Francesca: Smoked salmon. I know it's not from there, but the one I had in Belgium was better than anywhere else I've visited. It's just smokier and amazing. But more on the Belgian side, I really liked Samouraï sauce. For my favorite place, I thought Ghent was really pretty.
Kathleen: Flanders is beautiful, I liked Leuven a lot. My favorite food is moules frites, it's so good! What's also amazing is that you can get really good pastries in Belgian grocery stores, which is not the case in the US.
Jake: I liked a bunch of places and foods, but I think my all time favorite was the carbonades. I also really like the Grand' Place in Louvain-la-Neuve.
Krista: My favorite place was Bruges but mainly because when we went there, it was during the pandemic so the streets were empty. It felt surreal and so cool, like we got an exclusive private tour of the whole city.
To close off our interview, I had a last question for our US-based colleagues. Although it did bring up some debate between them, 3 out of 4 agreed that the correct way to eat string cheese is to actually peel it, not bite straight into the stick. So fellow Europeans, beware. Always peel your string cheese if you get the opportunity to visit our US Office some day!
I would like to thank Kathleen, Jake, Francesca and Krista for taking some time out of their busy day to sit down with me and give us some insights into what it is like to work for the N-SIDE US Office. The passion they all demonstrated for their work and the strong team spirit they built is energizing and I hope to go back there pretty soon to share more great moments (and snacks) with them. My time with them showed me that even all the way across the ocean, N-SIDERs always thrive to work with a purpose by positively impacting the world.
About the team