Regulatory Affairs in Chr. Hansen
The food and health sector is one of the most regulated markets in the world, which makes compliance a delicate issue. The complexities of the topic require a combined skill set of law expertise and technical understanding to apply legal requirements into practice in the whole value chain – from insourcing raw materials to commercializing products, globally. It is in this complex field that our regulatory experts work.
The employees in Regulatory Affairs therefore hold many different educational backgrounds, for example food engineers, chemical engineers, pharmacists, veterinarians or lab technicians. Generally, the educational background relates to the business areas of Chr. Hansen. Common for the different employees is their understanding of very large volumes of information, having the customer in focus and an analytical mindset.
Opportunities in Global Regulatory Affairs
Over the past years, several opportunities have been made available for students and other young talents in the Regulatory Affairs departments across different regions and business units. This broad field makes it possible to specialize within everything from product registration to regulatory databases, internal projects and many more. Three of those young talents are Chaza, Tirzania and Olivia.
"It is highly satisfactory to see approved products on the shelf – it makes it clear how relevant my job is."
Chaza Chehabi began her career in an internship in Human Health’s regulatory department and will be promoted to regulatory specialist April 1, 2021. Her interest and talent for the field, combined with her fluent Arabic language skills quickly took her to customer meetings and the sales area. Her great work has taken her to the position of regulatory lead in work streams that were before covered at senior manager level.
“I especially enjoy working in regulatory affairs because of the interesting product portfolio and the lovely colleagues I work with. Due to the close collaboration with other functions, I have great colleagues across the whole organization that I can always reach out to and have a good discussion with when needed. It makes me really happy to see my colleagues and customers getting our developments approved after many hours of planning, discussing and compiling documentation. It is highly satisfactory to see approved products on the shelf – it makes it clear how relevant my job is,” Chaza explains.
"Although we were separated by distance, I felt confident that they were accessible when needed."
Tirzania Frannetta Sopacua came to Chr. Hansen shortly after finishing her master’s degree in Food Science at University of Copenhagen. After training in both Natural Colors and Human Health working at headquarters, she did a maternity cover for the regulatory manager in Malaysia. Returning to headquarters, Tirzania continued as regulatory specialist in Animal Health, and among other tasks helped build an instantly available overview of which countries the different Animal Health products have access to and timelines for new market accesses, highly appreciated by all stakeholders. Tirzania has a growing interest for Food Cultures & Enzymes and with the efficiencies she created with global master files for Animal Health, she liberated time to work for Food Cultures & Enzymes and learn and grow in that area. In only three years, she has gained experience from three business areas and worked in both Asia and Europe.
“As a newcomer and expat, I had some worries about navigating in a new country with new job responsibilities, and with my line manager in Singapore and support manager in Denmark. However, these worries were soon eased by the reactivity and professionalism that was demonstrated by both managers. Although we were separated by distance, I felt confident that they were accessible when needed,” Tirzania notes of her time in Malaysia.
"It motivates me to work together with R&D, BS and Commercial Development as I learn from experts from various fields around the organization."
Olivia Greulich began as a part-time student worker during her bachelor’s degree. During a six-month period between her bachelor’s and master’s degree, she worked full-time and among other things created an instantly available database for Natural Colors products with more than 9000 assessments – on a very limited budget. She has been in charge of meetings with IT directors and IT super users and is now part of the finance software ‘Power BI’ super user team herself. Olivia now works as a student worker in EMEA Regulatory Affairs.
“Working in Regulatory Affairs is really interesting as the field allows you to use food technology knowledge from your education while expanding your horizon with regulatory intel such as relevant regulations, standards etc., which is not usually acquired at university. It motivates me to work together with R&D, Business Support and Commercial Development as I learn from experts from various fields around the organization. Also, the regulatory team is a great diverse combination of people with different perspectives and educational backgrounds. This makes the everyday work a pleasure while discovering the importance of the field.”
Recognizing the individual and leading the way for growth
As the field of regulatory affairs is not taught specifically in universities, the skills needed to work in this space are learned along the way. In Chr. Hansen, the leaders are aware of this: “As leaders we provide training, coaching and one-on-one meetings to make sure that our young talents are guided towards the right opportunities for them,” says manager Fabio Marques Itami. Manager Ditte Arltoft adds:
“I am very proud to witness a strong team spirit and desire to share knowledge and help each other improve. The experienced employees are always ready to mentor the young employees, who are eager to learn and develop in their roles. I find that knowing of their interest in professional growth and giving them assignments that touch upon that area motivate them a lot. Sometimes I might give them a gentle push towards a new area, where I can see their potential – sometimes before they can themselves. When they experience their own talent in practice, they often want more and are inspired to grow in that direction.”
"I am very proud to witness a strong team spirit and desire to share knowledge and help each other improve."
Learning goes both ways
Managers Ditte Arltoft and Aliah Wahab agree that the regulatory departments can also benefit from the young employees’ tech-savviness and ability to adapt fast to new systems and roles: “Having young employees train the more experienced team members in different tools creates a two-way learning situation, where both parties can contribute, as opposed to a one-way learning path from experienced to new employee. In my experience, this also strengthens the teams immensely,” Ditte comments, and Aliah adds: “They are eager to share their knowledge and skills within IT, which is a great benefit to all of us. Moreover, our young employees are adapting very fast to Chr. Hansen, and they quickly learn to find their way around the work in Regulatory Affairs.”