At Work With: Ashfield Healthcare's Denise Tenerelli

Denise Tenerelli, SVP operations for clinical and commercial, Ashfield Healthcare
Denise Tenerelli, SVP operations for clinical and commercial, Ashfield Healthcare

What was your biggest break? 

I can't put my finger on one big break. I would say I worked hard, developed strong relationships, took on every stretch assignment I could. When I was told I couldn't do it, I just drove harder to prove I could. I had mentors along the way who helped to shape me professionally and personally and I mentored many people, which also helped me grow—you can learn from everyone. I believe you need to love what you do, work really hard at being the best you can be and treat others always the way you would like to be treated and good things just happen.

What's the best and/or worst part of your job? 

The best part is our vision to be the number one CSO in five years, the strategy around it and the investment in the right resources to get us there. The worst part is my work commute, but it's better than it was for my previous company and I find ways when I'm in the car to make it productive.

Who is the person you admire most in your area of work? 

I admire our current CEO—Nigel Mansford, who understands the business, has strong ethics and integrity, has built a strong strategy, hired and put in place great talent and understands what we need to do to build on our success. He appreciates our clients, the need to build and serve their needs and ensure our offerings are quality. Nigel respects and values his leadership team.

What's the view like from your office/work area? 

The people I work with every day here at Ashfield are great to work with. Everyone has a service/support mind-set and is a positive can-do type. They care about doing a great job for our clients, they collaborate, think innovatively and creatively and care about a job well done.

How long is a typical meeting with clients? 

The length of meetings with clients depends on the topic and purpose. Prep for the meeting is important to ensure we are effective in our meeting management and that we are clear on objectives, decisions that need to made and what will be done by whom and by when. The more preparation we can do, the quicker the meetings can be.

Does your office have a favorite lunch and/or after-hours place? 

There isn't really a favorite lunch or after-hours place that I am aware of. I'm still relatively new to Ashfield—two months—so I'm learning every day.

Where did you go to college? Did it help you prepare for your career? 

I received my BS from Drexel University in business with a concentration in administrative systems management, which very much prepared me for my career—it was basically a computer science degree in the business college. My MBA is from Saint Joseph's University and it's an executive MBA in pharmaceutical marketing. I also have an Executive Leadership certification from Wharton University and Executive Leadership certification from KPMG.  I believe in ongoing education and development to keep all skills sharp and keep current with advances and developments in the industry.

What books are you reading? 

Honestly, I have a pretty busy schedule with my career demands and being a single mother of twin 15-year-olds with whom I'm totally involved precludes my reading right now, which is focused on daily Internet news on the industry, world and country.

What was your greatest professional challenge? 

I've had a lot of career challenges, which have all helped to develop and shape who I am today, but if I had to pick one I would say when I joined Shire Pharmaceuticals nine years ago. That was a unique and growing experience. Shire was growing like crazy, we were launching three products—with three new sales teams—and we had no processes or systems, so basically I had to create everything and support all of the launches and develop and hire my team. It was a lot of hard work, extreme long hours but an incredible growth experience with a lot of success. I really enjoyed the opportunity to build and that is why I targeted Ashfield Healthcare as my next career opportunity. Pharma is coming under tighter cost constraints and is needing to think more innovatively about their sales and marketing models and look for cost-effective methods. With my expertise in building effective pharmaceutical operations and the growth potential at Ashfield Healthcare, I saw it as the perfect next step. Here I can apply all that I learned from the Shire growth experience and help Ashfield develop its future growth in the Service and Operations area, which I am very passionate about.

Where will you be in five years? 

I really want to continue to grow and advance. I love operations and service and I really enjoy dealing with customers and exceeding their expectations. I'm excited about the growth strategy at Ashfield and all of the opportunities it presents. Ashfield's focus on quality, expertise, partnership, ingenuity and energy aligns with what I value in an organization. I'm open to further growth opportunities—such as leading a business unit or country—but it's important to do the job I'm in really well and exceed the expectations I have for myself and my team before focusing on next career steps. I'm here, I feel I'm already making a great impact and I look forward to growing much further and growing my team!

What are your favorite industry-related websites? Non-industry? 

My usual industry-related websites include First Word daily, then Fierce Pharma, LinkedIn, Pharmaceutical Executive, Med Ad News PM360 and sometimes Pharmalot.  Non-industry: Financial and CNN websites.

If you were to write a book, what would its title be?

Great question. The first thing that came to mind is Margie. That was my mother's name. She physically made me who I am and all of my life experiences shaped the final product: mother, successful business women, caring mother and lover of life!

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