About Oyefunke Jaiyesimi
Oyefunke Jaiyesimi, is a pharmacist by training. She is an Associate Member of the Institute of Marketing, UK. She possesses more than 18 years of professional background in the Pharmaceutical Industry, working with various international companies. She is a knowledgeable business leader who is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations in optimizing resources and fulfilling their ultimate
She is passionate about advocacy programs that foster the strength and confidence of youthful intellects.
In this inspiring conversation with her, she takes us through her career journey, achievements, challenges and nuggets for those coming after her. Read and be inspired.
Can you share an overview of your career journey, specifically how you entered the pharmaceutical industry and your path to becoming a Marketing Manager?
Following my Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, I gained comprehensive experience in the field. I graduated with distinction and undertook short stints in both hospital and community pharmacy settings. I began my professional journey in 2005 as a medical representative with an indigenous pharmaceutical company, promoting various medications across different therapeutic categories in the South-West region. Later, I transitioned to a global company specializing in Insulin production, where I refined my skills in account and stakeholder management as the sole representative in the South-West. Progressing to a Senior Medical Representative role with another global firm allowed me to focus on cardiovascular diseases and its treatment, enhancing my proficiency in business strategy and negotiation due to the competitive nature of the portfolio.
As a Sales Manager at Nigeria’s largest pharmaceutical company, I developed a keen interest in leadership and people management, and I take pride in having mentored a successful group of leaders during my seven-year tenure. I ventured into brand management to complement my sales background with the largest healthcare company globally in my quest to becoming a versatile commercial leader. In my role as a business unit leader, I collaborate across various functions within a matrix structure to achieve business goals while contributing to the promotion of a healthier lifestyle for people.
What motivated you to work in the pharmaceutical sector, and what inspired you to specialize in marketing within this industry?
Pharmacists are the authorities on medications. Moreover, the field of Pharmacy provides avenues for ongoing education and career advancement, which is particularly motivating for individuals like myself who relish intellectual challenges and personal progress. Witnessing people recover and thrive is something I find deeply fulfilling. I am captivated by the world of medicine and healthcare, and I hold a strong commitment to ensuring the safe and optimal use of medications. It brings me great joy to empower individuals with accurate information that can enhance their overall quality of life. The principles of marketing assist in effectively conveying the message of holistic well-being to the appropriate audience.
Can you share some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
Overcoming challenges has been an integral part of my journey towards success. Initially, determining how to forge a career in Pharmacy practice posed a significant hurdle as a new graduate. Despite attending numerous
interviews for roles in banking and other fields, I reluctantly pursued a Medical Representative position, which unexpectedly revealed untapped potentials within me. Fueled by a fervor for learning and professional growth, I successfully completed two separate Masters degrees and now proudly hold an associate membership with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. This path has been demanding, yet immensely fulfilling. Ultimately, the impetus to positively impact individuals’ lives and contribute to the broader healthcare community has consistently propelled me forward, reframing every challenge as an opportunity for learning and growth.
The pharmaceutical industry has unique marketing challenges. How do you navigate and adapt to regulations, ethical considerations, and market dynamics in your role?
The Pharmaceutical Industry places paramount importance on maintaining high standards, with quality as its cornerstone. Handling human lives imposes a significant responsibility on healthcare practitioners to consistently uphold these elevated levels of excellence in all engagements. Even the smallest tasks and activities are governed by established protocols (SOPs). Ongoing education on the Code of Business Conduct, learning and development reinforce the imperative of consistently adhering to legal and ethical responsibilities. It is incumbent upon everyone to hold one another accountable for safeguarding the health of the global community.
In your view, what are the emerging trends or challenges in pharmaceutical marketing, and how do you plan to adapt to these changes in the industry?
Globally, biologic drugs, which are derived from living organisms, are gaining prominence in the pharmaceutical industry. These therapies offer innovative approaches to treating a wide range of diseases, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, and genetic conditions.
In sub-Saharan Africa, access to quality healthcare is a major challenge that requires urgent attention. Health insurance plays a pivotal role in enhancing access to quality healthcare. Firstly, it provides a financial safety net for individuals and families, mitigating the burden of high medical costs. This means that people are more likely to seek out necessary medical attention without the fear of incurring exorbitant expenses. Regular check-ups, preventive care, and early intervention become more feasible, ultimately leading to better health outcomes.
As a woman in the industry, have you faced specific challenges or opportunities, and how have these shaped your career and your perspective on gender equality?
The typical industry in Nigeria continues to be predominantly male-oriented. In addition to meeting the evident qualifications for a position, a woman often needs to demonstrate exceptional competence to be considered for a leadership role. I undertook a position that was linked to a promotion and necessitated a relocation to a different state. While managing professional and personal priorities was demanding and daunting, it was certainly achievable. My experience during that period motivated other women to take a chance on this type of gender-biased privileges at workplace. As there is a growing emphasis on advocating for gender balance and fairness in the workplace, more women are finding inspiration to pursue roles in STEM2D fields, which have traditionally been more inclined towards male representation.
Based on your experiences, what advice would you offer to individuals aspiring to enter your field or profession?
The healthcare profession is a call to service. Regardless of where you choose to practice, the aim remains to bring joy to someone’s life and improve the quality of life of people.
Are there any specific lessons or insights you’ve gained that you believe could be valuable to others?
Fostering valuable virtues like compassion, accountability, self-development, strength of character and integrity of purpose hold significant worth. Being acknowledged by the esteemed institution, 9to5Chick, as one of the recipients of the prestigious top 100 Career Women in Africa during the International Women’s Day 2023 serves as evidence of the boundless impact we, as leaders in our respective spheres, can wield.
Thank you for having me.