International Women’s Day 2022 – Scientific Update Ltd Leadership

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022  – Helen Spencer (Consultant BDM and Marketer) asked Scientific Update Ltd joint owners and Directors Dr Claire Francis and Hannah May – a few questions about their career journey.

  • Q: Do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
  • A: CF: Yes, for me it is an opportunity to reflect on how far I have come personally in my career and to consider what I can do to support other women. I will be joining an event organised by our bank which will be attended by a variety of business women with different experiences. I enjoy attending these events where we learn from each other though shared experiences and am always inspired with ideas to improve my own career and feel motivated to support others.
  • A: HM: Yes absolutely, it’s important to recognise and great to remember and appreciate all the amazing women who inspire us everyday, whether it’s in business, sport or who assist and support our well being.


  • Q: Who has inspired you in your career?
  • A: CF: Many people have inspired me and for lots of different reasons throughout my career. In 2018, Margaret Faul (#Amgen) and Becky Ruck (#Merck) who wrote an article ‘Gender Diversity in Process Chemistry’ for which they asked me for some attendance statistics for women at our process chemistry meetings. Up until this point, I had not even considered gender diversity as an issue. Working for a small female dominated company in the UK, I had not really been aware of any gender diversity issues but during the research I performed to assist with the preparation of this article, I was astonished by the disparity and was inspired to do something about it. We now make sure that we encourage more female speakers and chairs on our technical programs and we have set up a LinkedIn group for Women in Process Chemistry. We have also tried to raise gender diversity awareness amongst our network and are working on an event to empower more women in organic chemistry. Earlier this year, I was inspired by a young medicinal chemist who despite being early in her own career was actively encouraging university graduates to seek opportunities to explore a career in MedChem through a conference scholarship program. Her passion and motivation to support others was truly heartening, so I am excited to be working with her and support this initiative.
  • A: HM: I have been very lucky throughout my career to have been inspired by many amazing women.  From a lady hotel general manager back in the 90’s which was pretty much unheard of at the time to strong and supportive managers. You know when someone has inspired you when you take and carry on with their values in your everyday life. Every day I am inspired by the amazing team of women I work with at Scientific Update – they are all fantastic!


  • Q: Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman?
  • A: CF: Yes – although I didn’t realise it at the time. I hope that what I have learned will help me to support and mentor other women now and in the future.
  • A: HM: Yes am sure, but these barriers only help you grow as a person and give you tools to cope with any future situations should they arise


  • Q: What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
  • A: CF: You can’t please all of the people all of the time, you can only do your best and follow your instincts.
  • A: HM: Yes as an event organiser – Smile and be like a Swan