“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow”

Introducing Paul

Hi! I’m Paul and just to clarify the title of this blog, I am in no way saying that I am a ‘mighty oak’ just yet, but I like to think that my journey to date has seen me grow from a little acorn in to something at least a little more…perhaps a seedling, or even a sapling!

So, allow me the indulgence of sharing with you my path to RubyDuke, from my Birmingham roots as a football-crazy child, to a proud ‘grow-your-own’, watermelon-loving Yorkshireman that is always obsessing over the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of the world…

Roots – Shoots – Fruits

Any gardener knows that for the first roots to grow and for the seedling to emerge, it’s all about the environment. Although I spent most of my non-school time in a field kicking around a football, there’s no doubt that I picked up my dad’s inquisition, practicality and (although I do say so myself!) aptitude for science. I remember well learning to use power tools or taking apart anything electrical from a young age. This was coupled with a creative flair that definitely came from my mum (still proud of my A* in GCSE art!). Looking back, it is easy to see how these creative and scientific qualities have propelled me to a career in Medical Communications.

It was perhaps, then, an obvious choice for me to study Biology at University. And, although it is almost cliché for any Medical Writer to tell of how they really enjoyed the writing element of their degree, and not so much the laboratory element, it is certainly true for me. Give me a literature search over a Gilson pipette any day! Unfortunately, I just wasn’t aware of careers in scientific writing and, as a poor graduate, leapt at the first opportunity of actual paid employment. After a short stint in the lab, thankfully I moved into a Medical Science Liaison role. It was here that soon became available and it was here that I really learned a lot about communicating science to a range of expert and non-expert audiences. The seedling, or shoot (I really am labouring this metaphor!) of scientific communication was nurtured through mistakes, ill-experience and naivety, but I kept learning and I kept being teachable.

Paul data viz

My next role was my first role in an agency – a definite up-shift in pace. But I loved it. I loved feeling like I was a part of scientific discovery, seeing new data, and then communicating that to others. I worked across a number of therapy areas and further honed my skills. Through years of training and experience, the fruits of my labour (back to that metaphor!) started to show. I have a real interest and aptitude for data visualization and publications. I guess it’s the story-telling element that I enjoy – imparting knowledge in the most accessible way.

When a former colleague told me of the wonders of RubyDuke, I threw myself at the opportunity to work with a small collective of dedicated writers with the same passion that I have. I’m excited to apply myself across new therapy areas and, most importantly, to keep learning.

Outside of the science world, you may not be overly surprised to hear that I love to garden – there’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own food! I’m also an enthusiastic (but not very good!) photographer and love exploring the local wildlife wherever I travel. Owing to age, lack of fitness and a knee injury, my football-playing days are sadly behind me, but I still get on the badminton court whenever I can as well as playing snooker!

Paul and wife 3

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