Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 9, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Pharmascience Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017):
- Pharmascience helps university students gain work experience through the Next Generation Leadership program which includes an opportunity for students to participate in a company-wide project that they research, plan and present to senior management
- Pharmascience created a Business Leadership Rotation Program to help employees develop the necessary skills for management-level positions -- the 3-year program features 3 different rotations of up to 12 months in various areas including the Chief Operating Officer's office, corporate development, sales and marketing, global operations and international business (which may include an international assignment) -- the program is open to recent grads with a background in business, sciences, engineering or a related field
Get a fast-acting dose of leadership at Pharmascience
Less than two years ago, Mylene Cousineau-Lavigne was working as an intern on the Public Affairs & Communications team of Pharmascience Inc. in Montreal. Today, she reports directly to the company's Chief Operating Officer as Project Lead of the COO Office Rotation Program.
"I'm on track for a management position, which I'll assume after only three years with the company," says Cousineau-Lavigne, who graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Quebec and just received her master's degree in marketing from École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Montréal (HEC).
With more than 1,500 employees, Pharmascience has grown since its founding in 1983 to be the largest pharmaceutical employer in Quebec. In addition to conducting R&D, Pharmascience Inc. is a leading manufacturer and marketer of prescription and generic products as well as FDA-approved, Canadian-made injectables. The company commercializes nearly 400 product families in 20 different dosage forms for over 2,000 products.
With its head office in Montreal, Pharmascience recruits and develops young students and employees like Cousineau-Lavigne through its unique development programs, while allowing them to gain work experience in their field.
For example, the company helps university students gain such experience through its Next Generation Leadership program, which enables students to participate in company-wide projects that they research, plan and present to senior management. For promising talent like Cousineau-Lavigne, the company also administers a Business Leadership Rotation Program so they can develop the necessary skills for management-level positions.
The three-year program features three different rotations of up to 12 months each in the COO's office, corporate development, sales and marketing, global operations and international business, which may include an international assignment.
Like Cousineau-Lavigne, Ben Lemelin began almost immediately after he joined the company seven years ago to make a significant contribution to its success. At the time, the federal government was taking steps to regulate prices in the generic drug industry, and Lemelin added his voice to the warnings that the company needed to make adjustments.
To weather the disruption to its business, Pharmascience placed greater emphasis on its branded and international activities. It now operates in more than 60 countries, and has focused in particular on emerging markets.
"International operations used to be a small part of the company," says Lemelin, Vice President of Human Resources and Public Affairs & Communications. Now global markets account for a much larger share of the company's $700 million in revenue.
As a private company, Pharmascience can support its young employees with an eye on their long-term contribution to its growth. Since 2010, multinational companies in the industry have closed offices and consolidated operations within their home countries as the industry adapts to regulatory pressures, maturing markets and a series of global mergers. But with its head office in Quebec and a strong presence as an employer in the province, Pharmascience continues to create good-quality jobs for qualified young people.
"Because we're private, we don't have a quarterly focus," Lemelin says, "so we can focus on the long term."
That long-term focus also enables the company to administer programs over periods of several years that prepare young employees for leadership positions.
"Young people now want to have an immediate impact," says Lemelin. "They say, I want to do this. We say, go ahead and try it. You don't have to be 30, 40 or 50 to make your mark here."
Thanks to the company's emphasis on cultivating leadership skills through its youth development programs, Cousineau-Lavigne works on strategic business issues that directly affect the company's future.
"I'm an integral part of the project teams working on these files," she says. "I feel valued because Pharmascience has invested in me."