Introducing the newest members of the team

8th December 2020

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been an unforgettable year. Here at the Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), we’ve seen changes to operational activity to support the region’s COVID-19 effort, we’ve launched new programmes of work and have been successful in a number of funding bids. In light of this, we have seen growth across the organisation.

We are delighted to introduce three new members of the AHSN NENC –  Adele Blythe and Chris Howes join the Economic Growth team to support our wide range of innovation and business development work, and we welcome Katherine Forbes to our Executive team to support with strategy.

In true 2020 fashion, we have been unable to welcome them to the office with tea and biscuits, nor have we been able to introduce them to our network in person, so we sat down with each of the new team members to chat about how they are feeling in their new roles.

We’ll be rolling out our chats with our new members over the next few days, so stay tuned to find out more about the newest members of the AHSN NENC.

First up, we sat down with Programme Manager Chris Howes to find out more about him and what he’s most looking forward to in his new role…

Chris Howes

Programme Manager

Welcome to the AHSN NENC Chris! We’re delighted that you’ve joined us. Please tell us a little bit about your background.

For 30 years I worked for two family-owned pharmaceutical companies, both of which were taken over and grew to be big companies. For 20 years, I was a Regional Business Manager looking after a team of salespeople across different geographies and the last four including Scotland and Northern Ireland. I was responsible for delivering all the company’s sales and other KPIs and delivering projects with the NHS. I have been involved in many different therapy areas including pain, palliative, Cardio vascular, gastro, and bone health.

What are you most looking forward to about your new role at the AHSN NENC?

I am looking forward to the challenges of working for a new company in a different role and gaining new skills and knowledge.

As a member of the Economic Growth team, you’ll be working with innovators and innovative projects to help foster a culture of innovation within the NHS in the region. What does ‘innovation’ mean to you?

Getting value from ideas, always having a plan B and C and not being scared of having a go at something.

Starting a new role in a new business during a national lockdown must have been an interesting journey. How have you found the process?

I am used to being out and about with the team and seeing customers, so the whole process of a Microsoft Teams interview was weird, especially as the tech let us down on the day. The first week has been great (and no IT issues!) but the learning curve is going to be steep and without the “normal” interactions.

Finally, and just as a bit of fun – please let us know:

What is your favourite film? It has to be ‘A River Runs Through It’, or ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.

Where is your favourite location for a holiday? That would be Cote d’Azur in the French Riviera, as it’s where we have visited the most. If not there, then Toronto.

Thanks to Chris for taking the time to chat to us, and we hope that this gave you an opportunity to find out a little more about one of our new team members. In our next blog, we’ll be chatting to Programme Manager, Adele Blythe.