Meet the Evaluate Team: Christina Kay

Behind Evaluate’s data and insights about the biopharma space, there are people who work to make sure that our clients have everything they need to make their lives a little easier (at work, at least). In the latest of our Meet the Team blog series, we speak to Christina Kay, VP, Global Customer Success about voice of the customer, the importance of understanding culture and marine biology.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give a biotech CEO?
For anyone senior in the industry – in fact, any industry – time and resources are always tight. It can also be hard, particularly for founders, to let go of some elements of the business. However, finding partners who can do some of the heavy lifting for you can free you up to focus on what really matters. From an Evaluate perspective, for example, that means letting us handle the data and analysis while you focus on the clinical and commercial decisions. As the kids say these days; you do you.   

How do you see the role of data in the pharma industry?
Data underpins every decision. One common issue I’ve seen is companies combining data from multiple sources in an attempt to get a clearer picture but in the end, they end up comparing apples and oranges. One of the things I work with clients on is helping to find ways to ensure data sets not only meet the needs of their business but are delivered in a way that ensures consistency. The way your business ingests data is almost as important as its quality so I always encourage clients to be vocal about their needs to we can support them. 

How did you end up working in this industry?
I’ve covered a lot of ground in my career. I started in sales and went on to lead sales teams. After I had my kids (twin boys, followed by a daughter – and a whole other story) I shifted roles and was more involved in the CRM and systems side of things. This was a great way to learn how systems can create efficiencies that allow teams to focus more on customers. By that stage, customer success had become a “thing” in the US and was just coming to the UK. I worked at Forrester Research and set up their European & APAC customer success teams, systems & processes, which gave me a chance to learn loads about best practices in customer experience, particularly around putting the customer at the heart of decision making across the business. 

Other than working for Evaluate (of course!), what’s your career highlight to-date?
It’s a little while ago now but I launched two sections of the paper whilst working at The Times & Sunday Times newspaper; the Best Companies to Work For and Career supplements which I was really proud of (I have framed copies at home). More generally, it’s been wonderful to travel around the world with work and experience different cultures. One of the huge advantages of travel is that it really helps you to understand how to best work with people – customers and team members - in different countries. It’s much easier to understand how to talk to people, get the best from them and help them when you’ve been immersed in their culture, even briefly. 

What’s the best thing about your role?
I love working with our customers and making sure they are heard across the business and that we understand them and their needs well enough to help solve their challenges. I also genuinely love my team, they’re amazing professionals and are totally focused on making our clients’ lives easier. They’re also just fun to hang out with. 

What’s your favourite drink?
Easy. Champagne. 

What really irritates you?
Lack of urgency drives me mad. If something is causing a problem for a customer now, there’s no point saying you’ll look into it in a month, or even a week. If you combine lack of urgency with a lack of accountability, there’s a decent chance I’ll become irritated and…direct which isn’t pretty. 

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I was a national level competitive swimmer and off the back of my swimming, I was offered a scholarship to study marine biology in Florida. It might sound mad but I turned it down. I’m still mildly obsessed with marine biology though – I scuba dive and recently went whale watching in San Francisco and saw humpback and blue whales off the coast. One day, I might find a way to combine marine life and customer success, but so far that eludes me…
 

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