Lynn White, Pharmaceutical Sector Lead

Interview with Lynn White, Partner & Pharmaceutical Sector Lead, Afiniti

Share Button

There are exciting times ahead for Afiniti and our pharmaceutical clients as we announce the addition of Lynn White to the team as Partner and Pharmaceutical Sector Lead.

With over 25 years’ pharmaceutical experience, garnered through working in a variety of roles encompassing the whole clinical trial development process, and a number of major, strategic change projects, we can’t wait to start working with Lynn – delivering the added value that her experience and insight will bring to our clients.

We talked to Lynn about her decision to join Afiniti, making the move from pharmaceutical practitioner to consultant.

Tell us a little about your career history to date

I trained as a scientist and got a degree in pharmacology from Glasgow University.   My first foray into the pharmaceutical industry was as a medical representative which was a great learning experience and introduced me to the areas of sales and marketing. I then started working within clinical research and all areas of clinical trials. Over the years I was involved in many different therapeutic areas and all aspects of the clinical trials process from writing protocols, running the studies, right through to the clinical study report.

As a pharmacologist I was totally immersed in the clinical trials, and loved it, but over time I began to realise that the thing which I most enjoyed, was around continuous improvement – I was always driven to ask ‘why do we do it this way, how can we do things more efficiently and more effectively?’ I realised that what made me feel like I was making a difference was working with teams to deliver better ways of working for the benefit of the organisation, its people and patients.

Throughout the years my role naturally evolved and I gravitated towards driving systems, process and business changes where I was able to harness these key drivers into leading big, cross-functional change projects.

Why did you choose to move from industry to consultancy?

Pharma is at a turning point as there are so many pressures on the industry right now; from competition associated with clinical trials and getting drugs to market quicker, to cost pressures where the current model is just not sustainable from an industry, payer or patient perspective.  There are also challenges and major disruption on the near horizon associated with data, accessibility, digitisation and technology all allowing much greater automation.  This will touch all areas of the industry and many different roles from sales and marketing through to clinical development.  The impact of this will be felt by everyone, including clinical development “partners” regulators, investigators and even patients who are going to be affected by these changes now and in the coming years.

It was a natural step to move from driving change within one organisation to consulting where I can focus on sharing my knowledge and experience, helping more organisations (and teams) bring about the transformation needed for a sustainable future.

What attracted you to Afiniti and what do you bring to enhance the offering?

The combination of my operational subject-matter expertise coupled with Afiniti’s business change know-how made for a really successful team. Now I’m part of Afiniti I think we can take that further and offer something very exciting for our pharma clients.

While I was Global Head of Functional Excellence at an international pharma organisation, I worked with Afiniti on a large, TransCelerate-related change programme and developed a great working relationship with the team. The combination of my operational subject-matter expertise coupled with Afiniti’s business change know-how made for a really successful team. Now I’m part of Afiniti I think we can take that further and offer something very exciting for our pharma clients.

Why are niche, specialist change consultancies like Afiniti important to the pharma industry right now?

Although the rate of organisational and technological change is going faster than it ever has, fewer and fewer pharma organisations are establishing their own infrastructures around specific capabilities such as project management, change management and communications.  Yet leaders need to bring about swift and cost effective change, where business goals and ROI are met as quickly and effectively as possible.

Afiniti provide the ultimate solution to these organisations. As a pure change consultancy, we have a unique blend of operational industry-based experience, business change expertise and a pragmatic, agile team who build each solution entirely based on the organisational goals and its affected people; there’s no off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all approach here.

We’re are able to offer expertise across the whole change journey and tailor the right blend of leadership strategy and advisory, project management, change management, communications and training to bring about effective change. We can flexibly work on a project/programme basis: partnering with clients, bringing continuity whilst openly transferring knowledge and building the internal capabilities to ensure that change sticks.

What are you most looking forward to, working at Afiniti?

Being able to bring my common sense and real life experiences to help more companies who are struggling with what I’ve struggled with over the last five years!

I think the need is great but companies don’t always have the answers (or resources) themselves, so the opportunity to understand the challenges, share my knowledge, and help our clients “join the dots” will make a big difference.  And I really do understand the changes; I have experienced many different types of  change as a leader and as an individual. Workforce transitions, projects/programmes, systems, processes and organisational restructures – I understand all this not just from an organisational perspective – but personally too.

Imagine if we could bring about transformational change for this industry – what would that really mean for patients?

The pharma industry often gets a bad rap but my experience from many years of working in clinical trials is that the major motivation for the majority of people is to get more life-saving medicines to the patients that need them.  I can see that many companies are dealing with similar challenges.  My hope is that I can do more to help these changes land better, not just for the benefit of the organisations, but for the people who work within the industry and ultimately the patients who need these medicines.


We frequently post our thoughts, ideas and tips on: change management, learning and communications, PPM, employee engagement and culture.

Subscribe here to start receiving a monthly roundup email from our Insights blog.