Which Cambridge do you work from and how long have you been with F-star?
I work in Cambridge, UK, my time is split between our office on the Babraham Research Campus and home. I’ve been with F-star for just over four years.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in the South Wales valleys, but have lived in Cambridge for over 20 years. I started off life as a research scientist, but retrained as an accountant in my late 20s. I still love science and find it fascinating, and my small amount of retained scientific knowledge comes in handy when supporting R&D teams!
What’s your role at the company? What’s a typical day like?
Finance roles in small companies tend to be very varied and my role at F-star certainly is. There is a lot of regulatory compliance work involved in running the finances of a public company and we are always looking for ways to innovate and make our processes more efficient. We also spend a lot of time business partnering, supporting the R&D and non-R&D activities of the company, and it’s great to get out of the “back office” and help the business achieve its aims.
It's cliché, but there really is no typical day, that’s part of the attraction of working in biotech.
What are you working on currently?
We listed on NASDAQ last year and so we are continuing to refine and improve the new processes that come with quarterly reporting, which has been a great learning experience for the whole finance team. It’s also a very busy and exciting time for our project teams as we now have four clinical-stage programs, so supporting those programs is a top priority for us.
How would you describe the F-star culture?
The culture here encourages everyone to take ownership of the business and be as agile and creative as possible. Things move very quickly and there are great opportunities to learn and develop. The teams are passionate about what they do and work very hard, but there is also a focus on socialising and having fun.
Who had the greatest influence on you in your career?
My parents have an incredible work ethic and are the most hardworking people I know - they have always encouraged me to give 100%. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with some fantastic finance and scientific professionals, and I hope I have taken on board some of their positive influence into my own career.
What do you enjoy most about your work at F-star?
The varied workload and the chance to work with talented, passionate and supportive people that are all working towards one goal – to improve the lives of cancer patients. It’s definitely the people that make this company such a great place to work.
What activities do you enjoy when you’re not working?
Travel has been off the table recently, but my favourite trips have been to Jerusalem and Istanbul, and I would love to go back to both again at some point. I love to visit places with interesting architecture and history, and I have a long list of places to tick off the bucket list.
Apart from that I’m a fan of rugby and road cycling (watching, not participating!) and would love to visit a Southern hemisphere country to follow a British and Irish Lions tour at some point. I also really enjoy getting out and exploring nature when we get nice weather, although sometimes it’s a struggle to tear my son away from his video games.