Premier People: Wambui Kungu

Premier Cultural Anchor: One Team

I have had a roundabout life. I was born in Oakland, California, but as a child moved back to Kenya, where my parents are from. I then lived in Germany, Belgium, and then back to Kenya before moving to North Carolina in 2000. My background was in public health, and my first job was working on a contract that the American Social Health Association had with the Centers for Disease Control. When the contract ended, I moved to a large contract research organization (CRO) recruiting patients; that introduced me to the world of clinical research.

I wanted to transition from public health to the research side of trials, so I went back to school and got degrees in Public Health and Health Services Management—but then when I tried to get a job, lots of CROs told me I was either underqualified or overqualified. Why is Premier special? Because they were willing to hire me as a project specialist, even though I wasn’t necessarily a classic fit.

I’m currently a project manager within the dermatology franchise, working on three to four studies. I’ve been fortunate to work with the same sponsor since I joined Premier; that helps establish a high level of trust and a speedier workflow. Premier also tries to maintain the same teams from study to study. We know what the client liked on a previous study, and can incorporate it into the next study, so there is a level of consistency as well as opportunities for process refinement. 

When I joined Premier, I wasn’t worried about being overqualified for the position I applied for. I had done my research; I knew that Premier promotes from within, and I was ready to find ways to grow within. Since joining, I’ve been promoted from the role of a project specialist to now a project manager within 18 months. I thrive in an environment where I’m stretched, and leadership at Premier grows people as they aspire to grow. My managers trust me to make the right decisions. They also support my career development. Recently I needed to take a clinical project management certification, and the only available course time conflicted with the weekly internal team meeting for one of my projects. For 10 weeks one of my managers owned that meeting series, then would provide me with study updates prior to my weekly sponsor meetings, so it was seamless to them. That’s Premier for you.

Premier also really cares about us as individuals. They are constantly checking in to make sure everything is alright. They gather teams to discuss challenges, and to bring people together as a community, even when we are working remotely. If you have a question, you don’t have to go to your managers; you can ask your peers. Management doesn’t micromanage us—there is no one looking over your shoulder as we are empowered to be accountable—but they do watch out for us.

People here enjoy what we do, so we don’t even look at the clock. To be clear: we have a work-life balance—it’s not like you are working all night—but sometimes your manager will say, “Okay, you’ve been logged in long enough. It’s time for you to sign off.” I try to model that in my management style, too. If someone is having a tough time, I’ll send them a message to say, “Hang in there. I have your back.” It must be working; as I have noticed most of the project specialists I’ve had the opportunity to mentor have been promoted.

It all comes down to the One Team approach. When people congratulate me on something, I always reply #OneTeam. It’s more than a cultural anchor. It’s the Premier way.

If you are interested in working for a company where support and connection is a priority, Premier Research could be a great fit. See open positions here.