Women in Science – Clare’s story

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I was excited by science, by its nature it’s dynamic and nothing stands still – you’re constantly making new inventions, discovering new things you didn’t know, and what you end up doing is creating a lifetime of learning for yourself."

 

Do you think it’s important to celebrate women and girls in science?

Absolutely! There’s a lot of social discussion at the moment about gender equality; the importance of women in the work place should be recognised and celebrated, and this goes for science too – most of the people I have worked with have been women.

Historically it was a male environment – when people talk about physics in the past, they think of men. It was the same when I was at school; the boys did physics and the girls did biology, if they did science at all, because more often than not it was cooking or sewing on the lesson plan! That was very much the attitude, doing science was tougher back then, you didn’t want to be in a classroom full of boys – but it’s fantastic that that’s just not the case now, we are seeing more and more females join us in the labs.

 

 

Why did you decide to choose science as your career path?

Honestly, I wanted to save the world! I wanted to cure cancer! I was excited by science, by its nature it’s dynamic and nothing stands still – you’re constantly making new inventions, discovering new things you didn’t know, and what you end up doing is creating a lifetime of learning for yourself.

I’ve been working at Boots within the science department for 25 years, and I can hand on heart say that I learn something new every single week.

 

 

What has been your career journey with us?

My role at Boots is unrecognisable from where it first started 25 years ago; I started on the bench as a Chemist, making recipes and mixing ingredients – it sometimes felt like cooking! And then over the years I’ve progressed through the business, managing a team and developing as the business develops too. Now that we’re part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, my role has gone from focussing on a tiny part of the world and a tiny part of science, to being part of a global centre of innovation.

I’ve gone from servicing a limited pool of Caucasian women, analysing their skin and requirements, to servicing the world. From a scientific point of view that’s incredible; I’m learning about so many different types of skin and how skin health changes, and how age affects people from different environments – it’s a never ending journey.

 

 

What’s been the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

The most exciting work has to be the work that we do with our academics, really understanding skin health and age – it supports what I set out to do at the beginning, my goal of wanting to help people. Skin health is so important, both psychologically and to enable people to live long and fulfilled lives, our skin needs to be functional for as long as possible – that’s what excites me the most, knowing the difference that I make here. The real science, you know, going where no man, or woman, has gone before!

The thing that I’m most proud of is that I invented the technology behind the 5 star UVA rating on our Boots Soltan products. It stemmed from an idea that I had, that transformed into a technology that is now on all of our packs today – I must admit, I am pretty proud of that.

 

 

What would you like to say somebody interested in joining Boots?

Look into the amazing work that we do, we like to be humble, but there are some amazing things happening behind the scenes! We make real science, with real proof of what goes into our products, all under a roof in Nottingham. Just because we don’t shout about it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

 

If you’d like to have a conversation about opportunities within Global Innovations, please contact our recruiter Sam Shakespeare on LinkedIn

Clare O'Connor Skin Science Technology Innovation Manager