Mark Lipscombe – Managing Director, S-cubed Ltd & S-cubed Pharmaceutical Services ApS
I set up S-cubed Ltd in the UK, 10 years ago, after meeting Scott (MD, ApS), while we were working on a project together in Copenhagen. In some respects, I think this was one of those ‘being in the right place at the right time’ moments. Stephen Thompson (Director of Regulatory Affairs) was looking to do something new and he joined me after about a year and then other members of the team arrived, as we contacted old friends and colleagues. Stephen and I knew we wanted Nicola Wright (Director of Regulatory Affairs) on the team from the beginning, but it took us about 4 years of persuading until the timing was right – we are persistent! S-cubed is about building the right team of people, so a combination of good timing and knowing many of the people we were working with has ensured our success.
My working day is never the same. The variety of work and the different challenges are really exciting, and I enjoy it. Of course, over time your job develops, changes, and my ‘to-do list’ is never ending. But there is a flow to the business year now, we can predict the peaks and troughs and the business is lively and demanding. One of the challenges of my work is retaining and recruiting people. Retention is not too tricky, as S-cubed focuses on providing a balance between working on interesting projects and individual flexibility, and that’s rewarding. However, as the business has grown, finding the right staff can sometimes be difficult, as individuals need to fit in with our unique culture. When I look across all of the various parts of the business, I am still impressed by the great people that we have working for us, and that we continue to recruit.
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was at school. I went on to study Psychology at University but even then, I wasn’t too sure what I’d do afterwards. My first job certainly wasn’t an indication of where I’d end up either, as at 14 I was working with a friend of my Dad’s, who had a lighting company. I spent Saturdays travelling around with him in his van delivering lightbulbs! He was a lovely bloke and basically we did what we wanted. It reminds me of my first job as a Clinical Research Associate, where I drove all over Belgium collecting CRF data in an old Rover. Enjoyable days. I worked at a CRO during my holidays from university and that’s when I started to consider a career in clinical research. I spent some time in data management and then moved into clinical operations, first as a CRA and then a Project Manager. But I was also really interested the way business works and went to study an MBA at Henley Management College. It gave me a fantastic grounding in the fundamentals of management and I moved through a number of positions until I ended up working in Denmark as a consultant on an eClinical project, where I met Scott.
Since then, S-cubed Ltd has grown significantly and now we have expanded our operations in Copenhagen to support Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance work in the Nordic region. I want us to continue to grow and to have the same work ethic we have now: good conditions for staff and ensuring the balance between an enjoyable job and a great family life. The flexibility for myself and the staff is so important and it’s what makes S-cubed such a great place to work.
When I am not occupied with work, I am happy being with my family at home. I like taking the kids to the beach and life in Denmark is focused on having time with your children. I enjoy travelling, although I do worry about what the world will look like in the future. I do try to get out and do some exercise, running or going to the gym.
Five words that people would use to describe me? That’s really hard. Probably open-minded, thoughtful, encouraging, supportive, and funny … and you can take that any way you want!