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A new era

Sarah May, Deputy Chief Executive of the IBMS, welcomes the new Chief Executive to the Institute.

This month we’re starting a new era – the last major lockdown restrictions are being lifted, we’re going to begin picking up the threads of our pre-COVID lives and a new Chief Executive, David Wells, will take up the reins at the Institute.

For those who may not know, David is a biomedical scientist – a very successful biomedical scientist – and for that reason I am filled with optimism to the point of excitement. I am trying to steer clear of a pseudo homage that would make this piece read like the ramblings of a management groupie; instead I want to convey the significance of having one of our own in such a position of responsibility.

There can’t be a person among us who hasn’t at some point felt themselves to be the poor relation in the professional arena or who has felt that insidious little worm of insecurity that is imposter syndrome. I have to confess, albeit resentfully, that in the past I have felt both, but not any more. There is a saying that goes “what doesn’t break you makes you stronger”.

Fifteen years ago Modernising Scientific Careers was poised to change the entire scientific landscape in healthcare and there were genuine fears that it could mark the end of our profession as we knew it. The prospect of a future in the pigeonhole of practitioner with the status of scientist forever denied, irrespective of how many qualifications we achieved, was a nightmare scenario that played upon every one of my professional insecurities. However, that did not happen and we are in a very different position today from where I had feared we would be.  

We are poised on the threshold of a new era that will open opportunities for those who want to rise to levels previously inaccessible to all but the very few. Over recent years we have produced the managers and consultant scientists who are now changing pathology and who are changing the way our profession is viewed, one of whom is David Wells. Our professional body is about to be steered by someone who understands our profession, its pressures and the subtle interplay of power and influence. David is a realist who understands the healthcare landscape, the key players and the pressures. He knows what is achievable and its difference from what is simply desirable and he sees opportunities and solutions, not barriers. I’m certain there will be difficult and possibly unpopular decisions along the way, but, with David at the wheel, I think I’m going to enjoy the next stage of our journey. Buckle up everyone, this could possibly be the start of the ride of our lifetime. No pressure, David.

Sarah May, Deputy Chief Executive

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