An Interview with Clinical Trial Manager Shanna Cobble
Today's bitch forces me to remind you that I was in a sorority in college. It's funny, when you go through sorority rush, you hear over and over how these girls will be your friends for the rest of your life, and in my case, it turned out to be true. I met Shanna in 1997 when she joined the sorority I was in.
When I was still running, I coached a Couch to 5K group every summer for East Nasty. One summer, Shanna showed up in my group and we were both like, "I know you!" Nashville, the biggest small town in the world. I'm glad Shanna agreed to be a bitch for many reasons, but mostly because I have never understood what in the hell her job is. I thought she was a professional Predators game attendee who spent a lot of time in airports. Meet today's bitch, my friend, Shanna Cobble!
What is your job title and where do you work?
I’m a Clinical Trial Manager at ICON Clinical Research. ICON is a Clinical Research Organization. Pharmaceutical companies come to us to conduct whatever part of a clinical study they don’t want to run. Sometimes it’s only one thing and sometimes we conduct the whole study. I’ve been with ICON 11 years this month and started off as an Assistant and then a traveling Clinical Research Associate. I became a manager over a year ago.
When did you first learn about this field of work? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
A woman came and spoke to my Pharmacology class when I was in nursing school. She was a Clinical Research Associate (CRA), which is a person that visits sites conducting the studies to ensure compliance with the protocol. The position sounded so cool and glamorous. I was set on becoming a nurse though and didn’t think much about it. It wasn’t until I switched my major back to Biology and then after college that I remembered her speech and started researching the position and industry more.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
You have to be able to turn off and separate yourself from this.
After seven years of being based in an office, I went home-based. It is so easy to just check emails really quickly at night and then wonder where the last hour and a half went. Being able to turn my computer off and not think about work at the end of the day really helps to not get burned out.
Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned or that helped improve the way you work?
I’ve really learned time management and organization through this job. I have also learned MANY travel tips and could tell you the call letters of most US airports.
What would you do with 2 more hours a day?
Read or watch TV (horrible, I know). I feel like I don’t have much time to just sit anymore.
What is your greatest success, or something you’re most proud of related to what you do?
It’s always a great feeling to see a commercial for a drug for which you worked on a study. I love knowing that we are actually helping people with what we do.
How do you decompress at the end of the work day?
As I said, I work from home, so I tend to either walk the few steps to my couch and watch something from TiVo really quickly or take my dog, Bella, for a walk. I like to get out and see friends for dinner and/or drinks for human contact. I also have season tickets for the Nashville Predators, so that takes up a lot of my time during the long hockey season!
What’s a fear that keeps you up at night?
What DOESN’T keep me up at night? I wouldn’t necessarily call it a fear though. My mind tends to turn on at night and I overthink every single thing that happened and every single thing I said that day, both work and personal.
What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?
Everybody always think I work in a lab. When I traveled as a CRA, people thought that I went to different labs. They also thought that I was seeing the world. I HAVE been fortunate to go to many places, but a lot of times I only saw the airport, hotel, and doctor’s office.
What does self care look like in your life?
It’s not as good as it should be. I have been trying to eat clean the past few months and have been more successful with that than anything I’ve ever tried. I try to walk everyday, but I HATE cold weather and that tends to not happen when it’s cold.
What helps when you’re stuck? Do you have a motto or quote that inspires/motivates you?
I don’t really have a motto or quote. I just step away for a bit and take a break. Maybe go for a walk (if it’s warm!).
Are there any women who helped pave the way for your success?
I learned so much from a friend and former manager, Jill Colabella. I was a CRA when I was on a study with her, but she always gave me things to do to help me get the experience I needed in order to become a manager. She would also always be real with me with what the position entailed. When I was interviewing for the position she was so great and kind to help me prepare and to help remind me of all I had done. She’s so awesome!
Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?
My favorite TV show is Outlander. My favorite snack that I rarely eat is Plain Ruffles with Purity French Onion dip. My favorite snack that I let myself eat is a banana and either peanut butter or Nutella. Also chocolate milk!
All photos courtesy of Shanna Cobble