Rippon’s big What if? question is:
What if we spearheaded the life science industry to become synonymous with big thinking, challenge the status quo, and execute fast and sharp ideas?
How it started
Rippon’s journey to the role of General Manager for Sanofi UK and Ireland Specialty Care started following the completion of her degree in Clinical Psychology at Aston University. She entered the industry with the intention of utilising her optimism and eagerness to collaborate, whether that be for patients, healthcare professionals or peers. The lessons she learned and the hurdles (what she calls ‘cuts and bruises’ that built her character) which she overcame at the beginning of her career laid the foundation for her self-determination and resilience in accepting roles outside her comfort zone. Rippon’s motivation stems from her fear of complacency and her excitement to overcome complex challenges.
One such complex challenge was when Rippon took on a position in Osaka, Japan, (after 10 years of UK & Global Pharma leadership roles), which turned out to be a real defining moment in her career and one which tested her resolve and informed her appetite to continue pushing boundaries. In the first of her international moves, in unfamiliar and new surroundings, she had to quickly adapt to a new culture, language, and norms. This eye-opening experience forced Rippon to question her ability to lead and handle pressure. She answered these questions by immersing herself in the cultural and business experience and demonstrating her willingness to improve. Both of these elements were influential to gaining confidence in herself and capturing the trust of those around her. Trust was one of her core principles along with honesty and respect, so Japan was ideal to set these principles in stone that further strengthened her leadership approach across the globe.
Her next big international move was to the United States where she worked across Respiratory and Oncology. It was these roles that allowed her to truly test her operational skills and put her scientific knowledge to the test. Her time spent in the US enabled her to define her approach in being led by purpose and people, something that Rippon carries as a north star. She excels at creating meaningful connections, driving synergies and collective solutions.
“I would say my time in Japan is where I grew the most, professionally, and personally… that was an eye opener because what it meant for me was ‘can I handle this?’, ‘can I test my own leadership?’. I went to it with a blank piece of paper, removed any pre-conceptions and made the decision to carve out a new path into unknown territories!”
How it's going
After 17 years working across 3 major economies – UK, International/Japan, United States - Rippon made the jump to Sanofi as General Manager for Specialty Care UK & Ireland. This decision was guided by her head and supported by her heart as another opportunity to push herself to new heights. It is a position that presents more complex challenges to solve and allows Rippon to consolidate her experience across global, strategic, and affiliate operational roles.
Bringing the lessons she’d learned from an eclectic background of roles, Rippon understands that Sanofi’s ambition to chase the miracle of science is not a hollow one, but rather a vital and collaborative pursuit. She is outstanding at spotting opportunities where others cannot see them, so imparting her experience and critical thinking skills are important for enabling her teams to think big, co-create, and establish open and positive mindsets.
Rippon manifests the belief that her team’s work is not just about tackling one element of one conversation: it’s about striving to achieve widespread advancements by translating into action how much Sanofians care. It is the shared mindset of embracing the unique and challenging the conventional that has allowed the relationship between Sanofi, her colleagues, and Rippon to flourish.
“With the General Manager role, I’m doing something I’ve never done before and I’m loving it. I’m growing and at times I’m scared but it’s a good scary, the journey right now is one I’ve wanted for a long time, and it doesn’t stop here.”
Moving forward with passion and purpose
Rippon is keen to make a sizeable impact in Sanofi UK and Ireland and has the drive to achieve her ambitions. She has identified four key areas that she is most passionate about:
- Using Sanofi’s experience to make a real difference to our external impact on patients, healthcare professionals & Government.
- Her people and their talent journeys across the globe – those that make the magic happen – the gems as Rippon calls them!
- Harnessing a ‘we can, and we will’ mentality.
- Innovation – don’t keep looking back, think 5 years ahead and work back and let the future guide us.
Each of these four unique areas of focus for Rippon cannot be achieved without the other three elements being successful. This understanding is reflected within Rippon’s approach to teamwork: no one individual can be successful without the help of those around them.
“When it comes to pushing the boundaries, I’m not going to sit back. Our role is to throw big thinking out there and catch the miracles of science. My job is to enable my teams to do that successfully with passion and purpose.”
As General Manager for the Specialty Care business, which focuses on the areas of rare diseases, rare blood disorders, neurology, immunology, and oncology, Rippon will continue to build a reputation within this unit of forging close relationships with the healthcare professionals and patient communities. By leveraging science, innovation, and co-creation, the business unit continues to progress towards its ambition to become the industry leader. Rippon believes that there is so much more that can be achieved and by continuing to bring her best self to work for our patients, we will continue to unlock solutions that improve people’s lives.
What if Sanofi inspired? is a series exploring the people pioneering our ambition to chase the miracles of science. By showcasing Sanofi leaders, their talent, and their experiences, we hope to encourage you to similarly be bold in the questions you ask and, ultimately, inspired to join our pursuit of eureka moments.