Queenie’s journey to Chief Executive Officer of one of the leading associations in Cell and Gene Therapy Research began with an education in Pharmacy which led to a Director Clinical Pharmacy role in a major teaching hospital, where her interactions with Patients, Providers (MDs, RNs) and pharmaceutical companies fueled her initial interest in the business model of drug development for unmet patient needs. This ultimately led to receiving an MBA at IVEY School of Business. Armed with a Pharmacy Degree, clinical pharmacy experience, and an MBA, Queenie was readily recruited into industry working in the marketing and commercialization arms of GSK, DuPont and finally as VP Marketing and Strategy with Sanofi.
She joined ISCT (International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy) as the Deputy Executive Director in May 2011 and quickly ascended as the Executive Director in January 2012 and the CEO in July 2017. In 2012, she started overseeing international meetings and events.
Queenie was part of my Hosted Buyer group at IMEX America where I was able to learn about her story and role at ISCT…
JN: As the Chief Executive Officer of ISCT, what legacies are you creating at your association?
QJ: One of my key legacies is the creation and development of “ISCT,” International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy, as a global brand with visibility and immediate recognition across all stakeholders in the cell and gene therapy (CGT) industry and broader healthcare markets. The CGT market segment within the life science sector is the most innovative area of clinical research and has kicked into exponential growth this past year as a result of the approvals and commercial launches of the first gene mediated products in the US starting in August 2017. With this vision to serve a rapidly growing sector and a disciplined focus in building quality driven global brand equity for the past five years, ISCT is now recognized as the undisputed leader in fostering the growth of the global CGT clinical translation field and is now well positioned to capitalize on this explosive market growth going forward.
Another very important legacy has been working with ISCT leadership to transition the Society on July 1, 2017 to an independent organization with its own head office, management and staff located in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. Recruiting and developing fully dedicated head office management and operations teams have allowed the Society to continue to expand its global reach and offer “state of the art” international Annual and Regional meetings for its global membership and stakeholders. Another source of accomplishment is implementing a business model for this independently managed Society that has made it financially sustainable, to grow in alignment with the market and to offer its members value added services and educational programs to address their many challenges going forward.
JN: What are some of the rewarding benefits (professional/personal) that you’ve experienced in your career thus far?
QJ: I would say that building a high performance management team and staff for ISCT has been one of my most rewarding experiences. The other rewarding experience is the very genuine and invaluable relationships cultivated with KOL clinicians and researchers working in the cell and gene therapy field. Their passion and unconditional commitment to the medical field, patients, and for the Society’s mission to advance cell and gene therapies for the benefit of patients worldwide, inspire me every day. Their day job alone would fill a 24 hour day, but they find the time to volunteer their time, leadership and expertise for the Society, mentoring young members, presenting on behalf of the Society, often travelling on weekends and on personal time. Truly inspirational and rewarding every day to be working with champions of this caliber!
JN: With a background in Pharmacy and an MBA, how has this helped in transcending your role at ISCT?
QJ: My background in clinical pharmacy, coupled with my MBA, has allowed me to rapidly grasp the medical/scientific concepts, their relevance to clinical opportunities, and the related market opportunities in cell & gene therapy product development. My executive experiences in the BioPharmaceutical Industry reinforced the critical importance of team building, collaboration and global reach for accelerating progress. In addition to this experience, being comfortable in communicating and working with the science, clinical, and business communities helps me see potential bridges and facilitate building them. All this led to me becoming CEO of ISCT, where I’m am involved in working with very talented CGT sector leadership to help enable this exciting CGT industry to grow.
JN: What is your favorite quote?
QJ: “I’ve learned that the common goal of solving unmet medical needs to salvage patient lives, is a powerful rallying force for bringing brilliant dedicated professionals and healthcare stakeholders together, from all over the world, to cooperate for progress, regardless of their individual situations.”