Take Ten with Team HPNE: Meet Shannon Flanagan

Shannon Flanagan, Operations Manager of FlexConnexx™ sat down with us to share her journey to leadership and the biotech industry.

In school, you received your undergraduate degree in engineering physics, then went on to earn your MBA and are about to earn your Masters of Science in applied business analytics. How do you believe these studies eventually led you to the biotech industry?

I landed in biotech completely by chance; there was no clear path to get here. Sometimes life just leads you down a road very different from the one you had planned, and you adapt accordingly. Every job and educational opportunity I’ve been fortunate to have has allowed me to develop or grow skills that continue to serve me today in biotech.

Could you tell us a little bit about the professional post-collegiate roles you held before HPNE, and how they led you to your current position?

My first job out of college landed me squarely in the quality field as a QC lab tech, and it turned out that quality was a great fit for me. All of my roles since have started as strictly quality roles that ultimately branched out to encompass other opportunities and allowed me to learn about all aspects of business. I’ve been in or managed every functional area in a manufacturing facility except sales and marketing.

Many of your professional roles were managerial. How did you discover your passion for leading others?

When I was growing up little girls with strong leadership personalities were always told they were “bossy.” I’m pretty sure that showed up on every report card throughout my schooling, so it was a pretty good clue that leadership could be in my future. There were times early in my career that I looked at managing people as somewhat of a chore or a burden (thanks for all the paperwork, HR!), but when I opened myself up to learning from my direct reports and accepted that I would make mistakes along the way, I really started to enjoy it. Most of what I’ve learned about managing and leading people has been from my teams; they’ve challenged me in ways that have forced me to reflect on myself and grow as a person.

As the current Operations Manager of FlexConnexx™, what is the most rewarding part of your role? What is the most challenging?

The most rewarding part of this role has been the development of the FlexConnexx™ team. I’ve been privileged to work with several high performing, successful teams in my career, and when a team starts to click you just have this great sense that we can accomplish anything! The most challenging aspect has been navigating the constant movement of the single-use market as we launch a revolutionary new service offering for our customers.

Within your role, what is an area of manufacturing that you are most passionate about?

Quality management is the area of manufacturing that I’m most passionate about – it probably takes about a 5 minute conversation with me to figure this out! I’m a longtime member of the American Society for Quality and volunteer on the Rhode Island Section leadership team as well as at the annual conferences. I’m passionate about growing the organization and supporting young professionals in the industry.

Could you tell us a little bit about the most recent BPSA Summit you attended? What were your major takeaways?

This was my first BPSA Summit, and it was quite an educational experience. What struck me most was the amount of information sharing and a sense of partnership amongst so many competing organizations; it was clear that the focus was advancement of the industry as a whole. I have been sharing 3 major focus points in the industry with my colleagues: the pursuit of sustainability objectives, the development of an appropriate scientific approach to PFAS chemicals, and the advancement of X-ray sterilization.

What is something you are passionate about outside of work?

I do a lot of DIY projects around the house so you could say I’m passionate about being independent and learning new things. I’ve laid hardwoods, tiled a backsplash, put up crown molding, built a paver patio, etc. I honestly never thought I would own so many different types of saws and other power tools! I’m also pretty obsessed with HGTV – the two things might be related! I also enjoy watching sports, particularly baseball, soccer, Formula 1, and tennis.

Is there anywhere you have traveled in the past five years that you loved? If so, where and why?

My favorite travel destinations as of late have been places with natural beauty. Recent trips have included Yosemite, the Northern Lights in Alaska, and the Grand Canyon. My family will be visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton in the fall which I’m sure will be amazing.

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About HPNE

As the industry needs grow, High Purity New England, Inc. continues to supply the biopharmaceutical industry with a range of innovative products, from drug discovery and development to fill-finish, including their flagship product, custom single-use assemblies, as well as pumps, sensors, bioreactor systems, storage and handling solutions and other single-use solutions. Along with their own manufactured products for the global market, they are also a distributor for more than 18 brands in North America.

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