Katharina Gasser - the first woman to lead Roche Pharma Switzerland

In this short interview we ask Katharina, our General Manager, to tell us more about herself:

Katharina, you are the first woman to head Roche Pharma Switzerland. What has been your career so far, what motivates you?

As a teenager, I was already fascinated by the question of how we can help sick people. That's why I studied medicine. After graduating, I worked as a doctor for several years and also led clinical trials in this role. In the process, I became aware of the potential of developing new medicines to treat or even cure diseases even better. This led me to become a specialist in pharmaceutical medicine and later to work for various companies in areas such as clinical development, regulatory affairs, commercialisation and strategy development. Since last September, I am now General Manager at Roche Pharma Switzerland and I am very happy to be able to work in this role to ensure that innovative medicines reach patients in Switzerland.

How would you describe yourself?

I am a very curious person, both professionally and privately, and I like to learn. So I am not one to shy away from challenges. On the contrary, it is precisely the challenges that have helped me to learn a lot - also about myself. It is important to realise that professional challenges are often an opportunity to take responsibility, to improve and to create something. That's what entrepreneurial thinking means to me: taking responsibility and always striving for improvement. I would also like to pass this attitude on to younger colleagues, because the promotion of talent is very close to my heart. I really enjoy motivating and accompanying women on their career paths.

How would your family describe you?

They would describe me as an energetic, adventurous person, fun to spend time together and a good listener. Moments with my family are very important to me.

How do you deal with weaknesses?

The first thing I do is listen carefully when people point out blind spots to me and reflect on the feedback very consciously, also in conversations with trusted people. This has already helped me in the past to question and adjust my reactions in certain situations.

What values are important to you personally?

The first thing that comes to mind are the Roche values: courage, integrity and passion. I can identify with these very well. These values are the basis for our responsible, entrepreneurial actions and for innovation that benefits society. For me personally, integrity also means treating people equally, regardless of characteristics such as origin or gender. A person is a person.

What do you look for when hiring, what is important to you in employees?

Of course, the person must fit the position with their experience, expertise and future plans. They must also fit in with our collegial Roche culture. Furthermore, it is important that a new colleague complements the new team well. I am a fan of diverse teams because they can achieve more and in such teams, each person should bring a good portion of openness and willingness to collaborate. In addition - and I have already mentioned this - the ability to think in an entrepreneurial, forward-looking and proactive way is very important to me.

What "fun fact" about yourself would you like to share with us?

The carnival recently came to an end in Basel. And I have to confess that I lost a Fasnacht enthusiast. I thrive on theme parties and like to dress up sometimes.

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