Valerie Mulligan

VP Global Specialty Regulatory Affairs, R&D, Teva

2019 Teva Rising Star

With Teva: 9 years

We believe in the power and promise of enabling, developing and recognizing women in becoming exceptional leaders at Teva. As the premier catalyst for development of women in the healthcare industry, the Healthcare Business Women’s Association (HBA)’s Rising Stars program honors top talent who exhibit exemplary leadership and are role models who have made notable contributions. We asked this year’s Teva Rising Stars to share their career journeys and advice. These are their stories.

"The pendulum of your career will always be swinging, so it’s important to ensure its arc includes what makes you happy, as well as what makes you successful.”

How I got started in my career:

I was born and educated in Ireland and started my professional career with a pharmaceutical company. A few years later, I was presented with an opportunity to move to the US to establish a lab for a newly established unit for another large pharma company. I made a bargain with myself to try it for two years before I would make a long-term decision. My path has taken me from large and small-cap companies, consumer products and pharmaceuticals to biologics and devices, as well as several different functions in R&D, Quality and Regulatory. I’ve never regretted the decision – and have been in the US for over 30 years!

The best advice I ever received:

The best advice I received applies to most decisions in life, not just career decisions. We regret most of the things we don’t do, so don’t waste time on regrets – just go on and embrace the challenge!

Most memorable achievement at Teva:

There are three product approvals for which I am very particularly proud to have made significant personal contributions. Each product had its unique challenges on the road to approval, and I believe each has had a significant societal or patient impact.

Biggest influence on my career:

I’ve had the opportunity to work with many talented and positive individuals over the course of my career, including peers, supervisors and colleagues. But truth be told, it’s my husband who has had the biggest influence on my career. We have each pursued careers in the pharma industry, and have to make trade-offs between the professional and personal that occur in most dual-career households. I’ve had his unswerving support and good humor throughout it all, which has enabled me to embrace each new challenge, even if it meant the family took a backseat at times. A successful career requires sacrifices for you as an individual and for your family. If you’re successful, the pendulum of your career will always be swinging, so it’s important to ensure its arc includes what makes you happy, as well as what makes you successful.

Biggest career risk:

When I emigrated to the US from Ireland. The ink was barely dry on my driver’s license, and I knew no-one in the US to help me navigate workplace practices, taxes and more! I dedicated my free time to exploring my New Jersey neighborhood, while driving on the ‘other side’ of the road. 

This experience has given me the confidence to navigate and explore new territory, whether in my personal life or career. There are few feelings as satisfying as successfully tackling something that, at first blush, seems daunting, but that yields to you once you turn into it.

Advice I’d give to my 22 year old self:

Life will present opportunities to you if you are open to receiving them, so pursue what interests you even if you’re not sure where it will lead. The unpredictability of life has to be experienced, not viewed from a distance.

What I wanted to be when I grew up:

An educator in a scientific field.

My professional motto:

Establish your values - and be true to them.