Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

TOPRA is a signatory to the Science Council's Diversity Declaration. This commits us to putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of all we do as an organisation, and to consider the importance of D&I for the regulatory affairs profession. Maintaining this commitment is a key element of our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, in which we pledge to continue to proactively promote a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion.

A diversity of hands

Key diversity areas for TOPRA

  • Actively promoting regulatory affairs as a profession that welcomes people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Ensuring that our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion is clearly visible and actively supported.
  • Ensuring we collect information on equality, diversity and inclusion issues that relates to our membership for the purposes of our role as a member organisation and to our staff for the purposes of our employment role.

If you would like to find out more, or become involved in the TOPRA Diversity working party, please email our Volunteering team.

Diversity Committee

Our Diversity Committee, whose chair is appointed by our Board, collects data, evaluates our position and decides on steps we need to take to improve. The committee updates TOPRA members on new initiatives throughout the year in our monthly InTouch newsletter. TOPRA has many initiatives aimed at improving access in the regulatory profession and ensuring equal opportunities for all. We've begun research to identify where there are issues, and members will be asked to contribute.

Committee members

Cheryl Hall (Chair), Aman Khera, Ifty Saiyed, Andrea Sisneros, Lynda Wight, and Keira Ledger.

“For me D&I in TOPRA means: I want  to be open to all others, share experiences, to listen, check for understanding, reflect and act on what I learn to create an even deeper inclusive professional organisation and community; whether though formal learning, networking, or the experience of volunteering or being the important continuity team in the office, and by advising our Board.” – Cheryl Hall
“I am on a Diversity and Inclusion journey and am committed to play my part in this conversation because ultimately medicines and treatments know no barriers, and people involved in this industry should not feel barriers either.” – Aman Khera
“I guess for me Diversity and inclusion reflects the ‘status quo’ of society and is necessary for the peaceful co-existence of civilisations who mutually depend on one another. We can learn from one another, but first, we must extend our level of understanding about each other.” – Ifty Saiyed
“My life and career journey continues to be an enriched and diverse experience which I share with everyone I meet.” – Andrea Sisneros
“After a lifetime career in regulatory affairs, much of which was spent in developing a profession that I am very proud of, I want to see opportunities and support available to everyone who makes RA their career choice.” - Lynda Wight

89% of TOPRA members believe Diversity and Inclusion is important to them. – Diversity Survey 2019

Kevin Pay, TOPRA Chief Executive, on diversity and inclusion:

Kevin PayTOPRA is an open organisation and wants to be sure that all regulatory professionals, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, geographical location or physical capability, can take advantage of our member services and training or volunteering opportunities. We will identify any areas in which there are barriers and address them, and hope that our members will feel able to tell us where we could do better.”

Recent activities

Watch our Diversity and inclusion webinar – hosted exclusively for TOPRA Members  on 2 June 2020:


Articles

Cultural diversity – tackling workplace biases
In the June 2019 issue of our Regulatory Rapporteur journal, Aman Khera, TOPRA Diversity Committee member and Chair of the TOPRA In North America leadership team, addresses diversity and tackling biases in the workplace.

Download the article

Why diversity matters
Read what Aman Khera, a member of TOPRA’s Diversity Committee, has to say about diversity and inclusion in regulatory affairs being a driver for advancing healthcare.

Read the article online

Case studies

We asked some of our members what diversity means to them. Click on their names for more in-depth insights from each about this topic. 

Diversity Case Study: Alix Alderman

Alix is a Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs, at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical

How did you get into regulatory affairs?

The simple answer is, "from the ground up". When my passion for a career in biotechnology became clear, I reached out to anyone and everyone in my network who could potentially shed light on the industry. It took an extensive series of informational interviews to open my eyes to the field of regulatory affairs back in 1999. Based on my interests in novel science, medicine, strategy and teamwork, it became increasingly apparent that working in regulatory affairs had the potential to be a wonderful fit. I set out to obtain an entry level role in the field, which proved difficult to secure; it took much energy, application and patience.

I worked temporary and contract jobs across just about every field in the industry until I was finally offered a contract role to support an IND filing in regulatory affairs at InterMune, Inc. (a small company focused on orphan medicines in the San Francisco Bay Area). My initial role was copyediting a new US Investigational New Drug application (as well as literally making copies of every volume of the paper IND). I worked long hours, learning as much as I possibly could from the many experienced mentors in the RA department and within the company, and gradually secured a full-time entry-level role as a Regulatory Affairs Associate.


What is your current role?

I am currently a Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, a small company that transforms good science into great medicine for rare genetic diseases.


What challenges/opportunities did you face advancing up the career ladder?

The challenges inherent in advancement include: growing from a technical expert into a skilled manager and mentor, and adapting effectively to change and gaining a balance between career and family. I am grateful to have worked for wonderful companies throughout my career, though some grew too quickly, downsized, and/or significantly reorganised — all of which can result in a variety of emotions and tensions across teams as they settle into new responsibilities and roles. Some of the opportunities that have always come with change, in my experience, are the openings for self-growth/learning and new prospects to both add value and strengthen connections within an evolving organisation and industry.


What does diversity mean to you as a regulatory affairs professional?

Diversity to me is more than simply equality across races, cultures, genders; it is bringing a range of different backgrounds and ideas together in order to strengthen a working team or organisation.


What tips do you have about utilising diversity to improve business performance? How can focusing on diversity impact business outcomes?

A well-diversified team is better able to flex in their roles, understand differences of opinion or perspective, and to effectively use these differences as assets. Building a culture that embraces comfortably challenging each other and allowing freedom in thinking and speaking can ultimately result in a competitive edge – during brainstorming, strategic product development, recruitment and retention of personnel, commercial activities, and in preparing for diverse agency interactions.

No content found

No content found

No content found

No content found

No content found

Contact us

If you have any suggestions or feedback on TOPRA’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, please email membership@topra.org.