Global Healthcare Quality Director, Yusen Logistics: Marloes Seesing

Marloes has an extensive background in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, particularly in the Latin America, Asia Pacific region, Europe, and the USA. In March 2017 she became the first non-Japanese female leader at Yusen where she is helping to grow and develop global GDP standards across Yusen Logistics’ network.

Why did you pursue a career in (pharma) logistics?

After setting up the Global Quality Department at Fagron, I was looking for a new challenge when I was recruited for the Global Healthcare Quality Director role at Yusen. I knew that setting up a global department within a Japanese company and in a new business sector would be a welcoming challenge for me.

What has been a career highlight for you, so far?

Starting a new role at Yusen as the first female, non-Japanese Global Director (not even based in Tokyo) within a business in which I did not have any experience has been a highlight. If I look back at the last two years and see what has been accomplished in that time, I am very proud. I started all by myself and now there is a fully functioning Global/Regional/Local HC Quality department. We have developed and implemented many global projects - even more than in the original business plan. During this period a lot of traditions have been broken and some battles have been fought, but it has all been for a good cause.

What challenges have you (also as a woman) experienced, and how did you overcome them?

I have not experienced many challenges as a woman, but that might be because I have some male elements to my personality. My age was more of a factor when I became Global Quality Lead at Fagron at the age of 32. But if you have a strategy, passion, and energy, then the rest will follow.

Pharma logistics is considered to be quite a male dominated sector. How are female leaders changing that perspective?

It is quite a male dominated sector, but I have never considered this as a challenge and I like to work with men because they can be less complex. I think that with a rise in female leaders, this sector will become more approachable for women who are making career choices.

What makes a great (female) leader in pharma logistics?

Self-assured, direct, passionate, energized, and not avoid conflict situations. Some knowledge of human nature is also very helpful, not only for good people management, but also to quickly assess what kind of person you have in front of you.

What advice would you give to someone/ Young women considering a career in pharma logistics?

First of all, they have to be honest with themselves about what they are good at and what they are really not good at. Furthermore, they have to find out what brings them energy. You can only stay energized for a long time if the work you do also gives back this energy.

How are female leaders in pharma logistics different to their male counterparts?

I think women have a better knowledge of human nature and can better predict how to move people in the right direction. I also think that male peacocking in this sector is becoming less acceptable. In general, women do this less and, as a result, are seen as more trustworthy.

Why is pharma logistics a good sector for women to rise into leadership roles?

Why not? I look for a personality match rather than a gender match when considering a sector to work in.

Do you feel an enhanced level of responsibility as a female leader?

No more than if I would be a male leader. I like to be in control, but this is linked to a high level of feeling responsible and being in charge.

What is the future of pharma logistics? What changes are you expecting?

More visibility and live tracking (4PL/Global Control Towers). More specialised and expensive pharmaceuticals that will have different requirements for transport than we are currently familiar with. Also, the Amazon model will eventually enter the pharma logistics sector, although as a pharmacist I’m not a fan of this approach.