How long have you been at Medicago and what brought you here?

I joined Medicago four months ago but have been working in the healthcare industry since 2003. I began my career in the industry as an IT director for one of the biggest hospitals in Colombia. After that, I moved to work with Johnson & Johnson as a business analyst and oracle consultant, overseeing the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for their Consumer Health Division in Colombia.

what puts the me in medicago logo

Once I moved to the United States, I had the opportunity to continue working with pharmaceutical companies such as Zoetis, a division of Pfizer for Animal Healthcare, Siemens Healthineers as an IT/ quality control manager for their Medical device manufacturing plant in Delaware, and Thermo Fisher helping to establish the organization for their new Microbial Manufacturing Services facility in Carlsbad, CA.

Medicago being a plant-based biotechnology company was very attractive to me. Learning about the production process of medicines from living organisms is fascinating. As an industry, though biotechnology is relatively new, it is full of potential. I am looking forward to seeing our innovative technology make a difference in local and global communities.

What do you consider to be the top qualities for professionals in your field?

As an engineer, my job is to help resolve problems, where it is essential to have strong communication skills. Part of my job is translating business needs into technical processes and vice versa, while communicating those processes in a way the business can relate to.  Additionally, engineers need to have both a solid analytical aptitude and have the ability to be creative and think outside the box. Sometimes it is imperative to rethink questions and problems, challenge the basis, and remember that solutions do not need to be complex.

The trait of adaptability is also an important trait for engineers to have. Technology is evolving so fast that handling disruption should be part off the company’s strategy and organizational culture. If we want to create a space for ourselves in the market, we need to be prepared to respond to new challenges effectively.

Even though engineering remains a male-dominated industry, working in this environment has never been an issue because I grew up in a family with more males than females. I have learned a lot over the last few years and would encourage younger women to join the field as it is very rewarding and needs more representation.

Sandra Smyth – Ce qui Me rend Medicago

Medicago’s mission is driven by the values of innovation, integrity, collaboration, adaptability, and ownership. Do these values reflect your spirit?

I identify with the values embraced by Medicago, as I am passionate and serious about the work that I do. Integrity, collaboration, and ownership are values that are an inherent part of my style and methods. Whereas adaptability and innovation inspire me. I am always excited about the future now that newer technologies are emerging, opening endless opportunities.

Besides Medicago, what defines you?

When I was in college, I enjoyed swimming and water polo. I now love to play tennis, and because of my husband, I have become a scuba diver, which gives me a big thrill. I have always enjoyed sports not only because they are fun but, but because they also challenge us in different ways, making us both physically and mentally strong.

I am a proud Colombian American who was born in Cali, the global capital of salsa, so I definitely enjoy dancing. My native language is Spanish, with English as my second language. I also can understand some basic Portuguese and Italian. French was not on my radar, but now that I work with the team at Medicago, I now have a place to practice the language. I have already started taking French classes, which I’m quite excited about.