A Conversation with our Team Members
For the next addition of our Careers at CatSci series, we spoke with another two members of the team to find out all about life at CatSci. This time, we caught up with our Senior HR advisor, Julia, and one of our Senior Scientists, Maks. We asked them all about their daily role at CatSci, what they think of the working environment at CatSci, and what they anticipate the future will hold for CatSci.
Julia Collier (She/Her) joined the CatSci team in August 2020 and is our Senior HR Advisor. Julia is a Chartered Member of CIPD and has a Level 7 CIPD HR qualification, as well as ILM Level 7 in Executive Coaching and Mentoring. She is TAQA qualified, which means she can also teach and assess ILM and CIPD qualifications. Julia is also a qualified mental health first aider and is currently studying for the next chapter of her personal development, which includes L3 AET and MHFA Instructor. Once she has completed this, she will be able to train others to become mental health first aiders.
Maks Jevglevkis (He/Him) joined the team nine months ago and is one of our Senior Scientists. He got his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Bath, and has previously worked as a Medicinal Chemist and a researcher. Prior to joining the CatSci team, he worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher for Cardiff University, before starting as a Senior Scientist in February 2021.
Describe a typical day in your role
Julia: I don’t think there is a “typical” day! Dealing with people every day makes each day so different. Depending on what our priorities are, my day can be spent in assessment centres, inducting new recruits to CatSci, preparing or delivering training sessions, working on development projects like our “reflect and grow” programme, or organising employee wellbeing events. I enjoy my working week, and each day goes by quickly!
Maks: Every day is different, and that’s what I like about this job. Typically, I start the day by checking my calendar and then plan my day accordingly. I’m always involved in process development, and I learn something new every day. We normally do something fun after work too, such as yoga, rock climbing or going for a meal.
What is the working environment at CatSci like?
Julia: As cheesy as it may sound, I love being a part of the CatSci team! I was recruited during lockdown, so hadn’t been on site or even met anyone in person, but everyone was so friendly, open and eager to help me whenever I needed. Even working remotely, we have opportunities to connect with colleagues. We launched our Wellbeing Committee at the start of 2021, which includes talks, virtual lunch breaks, fitness events and even a monthly quiz tournament. We also have Yammer, where we have specific groups set up. For example, if you’re a book worm, a movie buff, love the outdoors or fancy yourself a gardener, there’s a group on there for you to connect with your colleagues about shared interests. There is always something for everyone.
Maks: I am very proud to be part of such an amazing team. Everyone is very friendly and supportive; I felt very welcome and part of the team from my very first day.
What element of your work do you enjoy most?
Julia: I enjoy being able to help others, working collaboratively and seeing other people progress.
Maks: I enjoy working on challenging chemistry to create processes that the customer is happy with, as well as continually learning something new.
When did you realise you wanted a career in this sector and what steps did you take to get there?
Julia: I didn’t start out in HR, but I’m a strong believer in things happening for a reason – I started out in Media Production and Business Studies! Having fallen into a HR role, I went back to my studies in my own time to study HR, Learning & Development and Coaching. This has helped me progress through the years.
Maks: Chemistry always fascinated me; it’s a discipline that allows you to convert simple building blocks into complicated molecules with useful properties. Process research and development is an essential part of this process.
What are your career aspirations?
Julia: I am a strong advocate for continuous learning, and so I would love to be able participate in growing the CatSci development programme. It’s exciting to be involved in a company who has such exciting plans.
Maks: I would like to continue to develop my skill set in process development to deliver the results that our customers expect from us.
What are some of your career highlights or your most proud moment to date?
Julia: There are a few highlights for me. Some are recognition awards, but then I love seeing other people develop and progress, so I would have to say teaching CIPD and watching how those students have developed is incredibly gratifying.
Maks: I feel privileged to work for an organisation that supports self-development, so that I can continuously get better at what I enjoy doing. Furthermore, it is extremely rewarding to be involved in the process of developing very much-needed therapeutics.
What advice would you give to someone considering a similar career path?
Julia: We spend a lot of time in work, so think about your values, what you enjoy, and what type of work interests you. When you’re looking for a job, try to align yourself with a company whose purpose and values you relate to.
Maks: Be ready for a challenge, and don’t hesitate to go out of your comfort zone.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Julia: Keep an open mind and listen to your gut instincts.
Maks: Think about what it is you want to achieve, and then do everything you can to achieve that.
CatSci is celebrating its 10th birthday. What do you think is in store for CatSci in the next 10 years?
Julia: The opportunities are endless! The next generation of talent and opportunities make it very exciting.
Maks: I am really excited about the next 10 years. The company is performing really well and it will continue to expand. It is a great time to join the team and help sustain its incredible growth.
Do you want to be part of the CatSci team? You can find our current vacancies here
Take a look at the rest of our Careers at CatSci series here.