Tessa Clarke, Risk, Governance and Compliance Lead
“If I were a superhero, I’d definitely be the Juggling Queen”, says Tessa Clarke, Risk, Governance and Compliance Lead at Aptus Clinical. Fortunately for Tessa, her close colleagues all presented something similar when asked to draw their superhero talent at a recent training day. “The fact that Debbie drew a plate spinner made me chuckle because it just confirms how we think along the same lines. We have a similar approach to problem solving and when under pressure we both revert to process, to check everything we are doing is compliant and logical.”
This attention to detail is critical in all aspects of Tessa’s job and having full confidence in her team makes her job extra rewarding. “Fundamentally, I have three jobs and I love the variety this gives me. I also love working across departments, from our Board of Directors down. I gain a great deal of job satisfaction being part of a highly talented team, where we all focus on improving efficiency and adding value to our clients.” Having recently overhauled their Quality Management System, one of Tessa’s jobs is the day to day management of it. “We look at how our documents and templates can be improved, both to make life easier for our colleagues and to make our auditing processes more efficient.” This means that Tessa has regular catch ups with other functional teams and department heads to make sure they are properly supporting each other, anticipating changing needs and checking that compliance training for everyone is up to date. “We are currently strengthening our model of risk management to ensure visibility at all levels of the company with clear communication pathways to and from the board, so that is also keeping us busy.”
The second part of Tessa’s job is audits. “We have one a month at the moment so much of my working week is focussed on preparing for an audit, having an audit or following up after one!” It’s a critically important function and although it is Tessa’s team that work closely with the auditors, the process really does involve the whole company. “Our clients obviously need to have complete confidence in us, so it is always rewarding to come through each audit successfully. Having said that, as we constantly strive to improve, it is helpful to be challenged by different auditors and know that they are rigorously testing our processes. When the audit is completed, it is always helpful to receive any recommendations and spend time reflecting on them to decide how best to implement any improvements.”
It is clear that Tessa and her team are very good at what they do, and this is increasingly being recognised by their clients. “My third role is advising clients on their processes and providing guidance on their standard Operating Procedures and helping ensure they have a robust Quality Management System. I sit on several project teams as a governance and compliance specialist to make sure that every clinical trial we run is properly set up from the outset and continues through to completion. “
Aptus Clinical has been operating since 2014 and is continuing to grow exponentially. Consequently, Tessa is regularly seeking to expand their talent pool, recruiting experts in areas such as technical writers and clinical research associates. As Tessa reminds me “I said, I juggle lots of things in my job!” Then at the end of the day, Tessa goes home to start juggling some more!