Meet Carlos Lebret: Manager, Clinical Operations (UK)
"Parexel has always been open to inclusivity, regardless of age, race, sexuality and gender identity..."
Carlos Lebret has worked for Parexel for over 7 years. While he currently works as a Manager in Clinical Operations, he started his career with Parexel as a Clinical Research Associate I (CRA I), and then eventually progressed from CRA II to Senior CRA. Carlos openly talks about being gay and how and how he feels the company supports him and the LGBTQ+ community within Parexel.
- Please introduce yourself and your role at Parexel.
Hi, my name is Carlos Lebret (my pronouns are he, his, him) and I am currently a Manager in Clinical Operations for UK and Ireland. I manage a team of 15 people with different roles and experience: CRAs (Clinical Research Associates) and COAs (Clinical Operations Assistants).
- What does a day in your job look like? What are your core responsibilities?
I look after the team. As a manager, I want the team to be fine, happy and comfortable in all they do. I am available to support them with new technologies available in Parexel, with any issues at their studies or sites, and if required and they request it, support them in non-work-related items.
Also, I need to look into their metrics, workload, allocation, and performance… I understand that all these things will go better if they feel the support from me as their manager.
- When did you join us, and why did you choose Parexel?
I joined Parexel in 2013 as CRA I. A friend from university was already working in Parexel Spain, and she told me it was a great place to work. She referred me for a position in the UK, I got the job, and since then here I am!
- What traits and/or skills are needed to be successful in your role?
As a line manager, you need to be able to communicate with a very different range of people. Each member of your team is different, as we work in a diverse environment, and you need to adapt to each of them in the way you communicate and the way you work with them.
You need to be a “change champion” and lead by example; there are a lot of changes in clinical research and as a manager, you need to support your team and ensure they accept the changes and embrace them in a positive way. Being supportive and empathic, but also ensuring the company goals are met by each of them.
- What would you like people to know about your job or department?
We are in between the Sponsor and the sites, representing the Sponsor and Parexel. Sometimes there is a lot of pressure from Sponsors for sites to complete tasks and we get caught in between. This can be very stressful, but ultimately rewarding! We confirm the safety of the patients and the ensure integrity of the data has been maintained through the study.
While we check that sites perform all their tasks as per GCP (Good Clinical Practice), regulations and protocols, and within the timelines of the clinical trial (which sometimes is very tricky). It’s really important we have a good relationship with the site staff. This is sometimes difficult as sites are too busy and they might not have time for our study, and we need to ensure that they understand the importance of the studies we run at their site.
- How has Parexel supported your career development since you joined?
Since I started, I have had great managers who supported me. Starting from CRA I position (in a new country) and in my current role, my more experienced colleagues and line managers supported me and mentored me to progress within the different roles.
Most of the CRAs want to progress into a COL (Clinical Operations Lead), but I soon realized that I wanted to progress into management. My previous line manager worked with me to further develop the skills required for that role and when the opportunity was available, I felt equipped that I could apply for that position.
Those skills, and new ones, have been further developed thanks to my supportive line manager and colleagues.
- Are you “out” at work? And if so, are you comfortable being “out” at work?
Yes, I have been always out. My desk has currently a few elements with the colors of the LGBTQ+ flag and a board with different LGBTQ+ flags (for information to everyone), so everyone passing by my desk will know. In addition, I have participated in the global (EMEA and APAC) panels in Pride month where I introduced myself, commenting on my sexuality and my pronouns.
- How do you feel Parexel demonstrates its inclusivity to LGBTQ+ colleagues?
Parexel has always been open to inclusivity, regardless of age, race, sexuality, and gender identity…
We currently have the Parexel Pride committee, which is sponsored by the Executive Leadership Team, and some of them have even participated in the Pride month panels and shared very personal stories, showing their support to the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, a lot of offices put the LGBTQ+ flags during June and there have been a few contests where employees can “show their colors,” by posting pictures of themselves, their families, or pets with the rainbow colors.
Recently in the UK and in other offices around the world, we have started to have neutral gender toilets, which is a way to support peers who are non-binary or transgender, who don’t feel comfortable using male or female toilets. A simple gesture, but very meaningful. Unfortunately, not every office can have it, due to shared buildings, but the discussions are there, raising awareness and inclusivity.
In addition, in December 2020, it was announced that Parexel India has been placed in the Bronze category among 65 companies - participating in the first-ever India Workplace Equality Index (IWEI) for LGBTQ+ inclusion, and we are currently working to get similar recognition in other countries.
- What else do you feel Parexel could do to increase its inclusivity to LGBTQ+ colleagues?
I feel that Parexel is a very inclusive company. A bit more visibility of the LGBTQ+ policies or benefits for LGBTQ+ and their partners could be better. Some benefits are available, but sometimes it’s not always easy to find them.
- What would you tell LGBTQ+ friends or those interested in working for Parexel about the company?
Come and work with us!!! It is a great company to work for, a good environment, very diverse, and even more inclusive.
- What do you think are the benefits of working at Parexel above other companies?
Since “day one” I felt comfortable. I have always felt that my ideas and opinions were taken into consideration and that I could develop my new career. I have met people from very different backgrounds, and from them, I have learned many new things. I have learned to be more inclusive (I didn't realize I was not as inclusive as I thought, and Parexel helped me to see through that), and I never felt the need to hide my sexual orientation from anyone.
- Tell me something most people don’t know about you.
I trained as a Vet but never worked as such, so if you ask me, “My dog/cat has…, what shall I do?” My answer will always be, “Take them to the Vet!!!”
After university, I went to work in a hotel for 3 months as an entertainer, and the 3 months became 9 years!!! After that, I came to work in Parexel after I finished a Master’s in Clinical Trials.
During an internal interview at Parexel, I was asked by the interviewer how could he know that I won’t jump at any time on a bus a join the Circus. I found the question hilarious! I would have loved to be part of the cast of Cirque du Soleil, but cannot even bend to touch my toes!!!
- What do you enjoy when you’re not at work?
Every now and then I bake cookies, which I bring to the office (everyone loves them and asks about them)! I also love musicals. By luck, I ended up living in London, so I have had the opportunity to watch some of the best shows in the West End.