ACDM Role: Chair of ACDM Conference Committee
Employed role: Manager, Clinical Data Operations, Phastar
Get to know Nickie
Hi! I’m Nickie Griffiths and I am the chair of the ACDM conference organizing committee. In my day job I am one of the Managers of Data Management at SQN Clinical (soon to become Veristat as we have been bought!). I’ve been at SQN/Veristat (a CRO) for just over three years. Before moving to SQN, I worked at Reckitt Benckiser (Reckitt), a consumer healthcare company and I got to work on all sorts of clinical trials not just on medicines but on medical devices, cosmetics, and even general products! I was lucky enough to be seconded across to medical affairs for a short while and got to see the other side of clinical trials such as protocol designs, clinical study report writing, dossier writing and research (where should our products go next!). While at Reckitt I also worked at a clinical project manager. Before Reckitt I worked at Worldwide Clinical Trials (CRO) which is where I started my career. I started as a data entry assistant (back in the days of a paper CRF and dot matrix printer to create queries) and moved over to project management. I can’t believe I’ve now been in the industry for nearly 20 years!
If you were on a desert island, what three things would you take with you and why?
My husband, we are a team and do everything together, a Swiss army knife, always useful to fabricate things out of (I’ve seen some of the survival programs on TV!) and my casserole pot, I can cook anything in that!
If you were not in the job you are in, what would you do?
My husband and I enjoy brewing our own beer, so perhaps I’d start my own brewery or with my love of skiing perhaps I’d buy a chalet in the Austrian mountains, ski all day and cook food for my guests in the evening.
What do you do to relax / what are your hobbies?
I have a super busy life and don’t know the meaning of relaxing! My husband runs in the British Hillclimb Championship with his single seater racing car and I spend most of my weekends over the summer trekking to different parts of the UK (including Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands) to be his pit crew, caterer, mental coach, etc. One of the skills of a data manager is attention to detail and this comes in very handy as when you are prepping a racing car you need to check for any tiny changes, such as a slight scuff on a wire that could indicate it has got caught, or a slight bit of oil that could indicate a crack or leak.
I prefer something a bit more sedate as I love gardening and growing my own fruit and vegetables, which I love turning into a good meal. I also love hiking, skiing, and yoga. Not content with being on one committee I am also on the committee for my local Women’s institute as their social’s secretary organizing events for them such as beer tasting, theater trips, afternoon tea, murder mystery nights, you name it!
If you had a dinner party, and could invite 1 famous person, who would you invite and why?
Bear Grylls- I think he would have some interesting stories and perhaps he could give me some survival tips for when I’m stuck on that desert island!
What is your favourite food?
my current favourite is homemade pizza including making my own dough and fresh tomato sauce!
What’s your favourite place of all the places you’ve travelled and why?
Through work I’ve been to some interesting places to visit sites of clinical trials. I’ve done studies in places such as Georgia and was taken out for a meal by the head of Cardiology where we got to try lots of local Georgian dishes and I walked out of the restaurant so full I thought I’d never eat again. I’ve been to Russia where after several vodka’s our host at the CRO insisted on driving us back to the hotel as it was snowing heavily. I’ve done studies out in Brazil, where the hotel check-in scared me half to death when he provided me with a map of the local area with a big red line on it and told me that under no circumstances should I cross the line as I was in danger of “a bad death”, to probably my favourite which was to China. I visited all over China through a series of studies we were running out there from Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou to various smaller towns. China is so different from Europe. The people are really friendly, and it was really interesting to learn about their culture. The translator we had throughout our various trips was amazing and took us to some interesting places. I’d love to go back to China for a holiday.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
The best bit of advice I was given (which I believe is a quote from Confucius) “we have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one”.
If you could learn one new skill today, what would it be?
I love baking cakes but I am rubbish at decorating them. I started to learn sugar craft (such as sugar roses) during lockdown. If I had more free time I would love to learn how to make more sugar flowers and how to do really good icing on a cake.
Do you collect anything?
As a child I collected owls and people still find owl things to give to me. I still have a bit of a soft spot for them and if you look closely you’ll just see in the corner of my LinkedIn photo that I am holding a barn owl!
If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you spend the extra hour?
Walking. I love escaping into nature, it clears my head.