Those Who Raise You Up: Head of Clinical Science Reflects on Her Role Models

Those Who Raise You Up: Head of Clinical Science Reflects on Her Role Models

Dalal knew from an early age she would pursue a career in science.

Dalal Nesheiwat, PharmD, is a role model for young women everywhere who wish to follow their passion for science and leadership. As a first-generation Jordanian-American, Dalal, Vice President, Global Head of Clinical Science at Daiichi Sankyo, has continuously pushed past her boundaries, striving to become an inspirational, courageous and results-oriented leader who delivers quality trial data and positively impacts patient lives all over the world.

Her own inspiration came directly from her family. Having an aunt in the pharmaceutical industry who started out as a pharmacist exposed Dalal to all the career paths a PharmD degree could provide. While on clinical rotation at Princeton University Medical Center and NYU Clinical Cancer Center, Dalal discovered her calling—oncology.

“I knew this was where I needed to be. Oncology inspired me and provided a welcomed challenge, but more importantly, I felt I could help these patients the most,” she said. “Once I settled on the field, I decided to pursue industry work over a hospital setting because I felt I could impact more patients globally.”

Pushing Boundaries

Early in her career, Dalal pursued opportunities leading global oncology clinical trials and programs, serving as a Clinical Trial Head and Development Team Lead in Research & Development, and launching new medicines as a Scientific Director in Global Medical Affairs. Each new role offered various ways to grow, learn to advocate for herself, and even venture outside her comfort zone.

Dalal continued to push the boundaries of what a PharmD could do, leading to a great opportunity at the right time with Daiichi Sankyo. “I received a few phone calls from former colleagues about starting a new clinical science function here,” Dalal recalled. "It was the perfect fit for me as it brought me back to where I started my career. I could apply all my learnings and experiences into this leadership role.”

Dalal attributes much of her success to her family.

Raised by Mentors

When speaking with Dalal, it is obvious she has her own healthy amount of self-motivation and drive, but she is also quick to acknowledge those who have significantly influenced her along the way. First is Dalal’s mother who immigrated to the United States at the age of 16. She learned English, pursued a higher education, and became an art teacher for students with special needs. “It’s truly inspirational and remarkable to endure the trials of a foreign country while earning two degrees, all while being a young wife, raising four children and taking care of our large family,” remarked Dalal. "Her resilience and persistence have served as great influences.”

Then there are Dalal’s grandmother and father. “My late grandmother was the true matriarch of my family, someone who wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and raised incredibly strong women,” she said. “Meanwhile, I owe so much to my father who left school to start working at the age of 14 to help provide for his family, and to my aunts and uncle who sacrificed much of their lives to ensure that my siblings and I had a good education, excelled at sports and our career passions, and proudly represented the Nesheiwat name by being good people. My family’s sacrifices allowed me to live a more fulfilling life, personally and professionally, and that never gets lost on me.”

Enjoying a Yankee game with her R&D mentee and Clinical Science team members

Sending the Elevator Back Down

Dalal also gives a shout out to a longtime mentor who continues to have a profound impact on her career. “This former manager has been someone with a similar professional profile that I’ve been able to look up to and see all the possibilities of what I can do in the industry,” she said with appreciation.

She pays it forward by “sending the elevator back down.” As a former adjunct professor at Long Island University, she inspired and educated students about what a pharmacist could do within the industry. Now, some of her former students are interns or fellows at Daiichi Sankyo. She is also a proud alumni of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program and the PharmD fellowship program at Rutgers University Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, volunteering for both programs that she benefitted from.

And, if that’s not enough, she serves as executive sponsor for the R&D mentorship program at Daiichi Sankyo. “I have a lot of learnings and opportunities for individuals to consider,” she said, “it means a lot to me to be involved.”

Mentors and role models have had such an impact on Dalal’s life, and it is beautiful and inspiring to see how she has become one herself in so many ways.


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