Portraits

Priscille Pingault : An adventurer in the land of innovation

When she turned 43 years old, Priscille Pingault was appointed Head of the Brussels sector for Aktehom, a consultancy agency for the bio-pharmaceutical industry. She joined this company in 2005 and now her new position confirms her conviction that the world of science and innovation is every bit as much a human adventure as a field for achieving technological feats.

Priscille Pingault : An adventurer in the land of innovation

Occasionally, human relationships prove more important than technical considerations. This distinction became very clear in Pricilla Pingault's mind when she was appointed in 2014 to head the new Brussels subsidiary of the consultancy agency Aktehom.

The contrast was that in 1995, after completing her engineering diploma at UTC (elective major: biotechnologies), she observed during a placement in Columbia that the scientific and technological aspects of the mission were not the most important. "Indeed, the lab. work seemed rather monotonous", says Priscilla in retrospect. "Life and the context of an international research lab in a country like Columbia constitute a source of some amazing discoveries."

Very rapidly, it became obvious to her that the world of innovation extended far beyond a purely scientific and technological viewpoint and called for integration of inescapable human, cultural and social dimensions. After a few years at Pharmaplan as a process engineer, Priscilla moved to a position of consultant with Assystem Agency.

Diversity of actors and considerations

Constancy is a job where you professionally meet lots of people, discover different scientific and technological contexts and where you are constantly confronted with new problems and issues", explains Priscilla Pingault. Not only are human relationships primordial but the job itself, as it is seen at Aktehom, requires that you be interested in the variable aspects of any question and try to come up with original answers that integrate a scientific, technical and human vision.

"An industrialist is often a pinned down to the way he or she usually tackles questions and the potential actions envisaged often reflect the corporate culture", adds Priscille Pingault." The role of the consultant is to offer an external assessment that takes into consideration a wide-ranging set of considerations (regulatory, scientific, technological, human and societal ... ), providing at the same time an expert opinion that opens new paths for development adapted to the situation. "Consultants can bring a global knowledge about the domain, and benchmarking of other practices in the same sector by drawing on their experience and skills", explains Priscille Pingault.

Rising to meet the challenges

The new head of operations for Aktehom Belgium agrees that her new consultant role suites her perfectly but admits that her early moves in the pharmaceutical sector were due more to chance than to deliberate decisions. As the saying goes, Lady Luck can do wonders, and so she decided to specialize in this profession 20 years ago. "Important techno-scientific innovations and rapid changes in this field make it a particularly attractive sector which offers numerous challenges", she adds.

Did you say 'challenges'? As a qualified engineer, then consultant and now< operational manager for a new agency, Priscille Pingault effectively seems to love challenges. "When I attended courses at UTC, I leaned - as did the other students - to meet all sorts of persons with all sorts of backgrounds and to acquire a wide-ranging corpus of knowledge. Today my job is to establish and structure networks of industrialists in Belgium and to build, organize and develop a team of consultants capable of responding to new as yet unexpressed needs, and to demonstrate the same capacity used to gain an open, multidisciplinary view of the world, just as we learned to do during our undergraduate years", underscore Priscille Pingault. Pingault.

and adapting to new cultures

Now aged 44, the new Operations Head for Aktehom Belgium is fully aware that her new Brussels challenge can not only make heads turn but it also serve to assuage a high degree of curiosity, always on the lookout for novelties. If Belgium sometime seems close to France, the way people work in Belgium differs to quite a large extent. Consultants must be ready and capable of rapidly taking into their stride the specific cultural features of international corporations.

BIO

  • 1995: Graduated from UTC with the elective specialty Bio-Industries
  • 1996: Hired as Process Engineer at Pharmaplan
  • 2000: Consultant at Assystem
  • 2005: Senior Consultant at Aktehom
  • 2015: Appointed Head of the Brussels sector for Aktehom