Employee Stories

Robbert van Oijen

Building European Cell Order Management from Scratch

“I started at Kite Pharma in Amsterdam on February 5th, 2018 as Kite EU employee #007. I am still in that position, as Supply Chain Manager, European Cell Order Management. I was tasked to build the department from the ground up, and our team now takes care of order management, customer service and shipment arrangements for all European commercial orders.

I previously worked at a pharma start-up, but when it was acquired by a larger company, I realised the environment was no longer in line with my aspirations. I wanted to be part of a different kind of journey – one where you’re empowered to take initiative, and to do something that really matters! And I found exactly that at Kite.

Our team is at the forefront of European commercial orders and initiates and manages the whole supply chain for every single patient. Daily communication takes place between our pan-European stakeholders to follow up on the progress of their orders. As our business is dynamic, our days are, too. You need to be flexible, proactive, a strong communicator, and comfortable in a fast-paced, international environment. It’s exciting, rewarding, you learn every day, and it’s fun, too!”

Martin van der Maas

Manufacturing Technician (Cell Therapy Specialist)

“I joined Kite in November 2018 to work at the forefront of cell therapy. My day often starts with a coffee and a meeting with my colleagues, where we share status and next steps on projects. What keeps me motivated is that every day is different, and there are always new and exciting things to work on and learn about. We have a diverse team, but we are bonded in our dedication to ensuring quality work. I’m excited about my future at Kite, where there is the opportunity for me to apply my experience, but to also keep learning. To anyone thinking about joining Kite, I would say that a good therapy specialist ought to be precise and focused, but never forget that success only happens as a result of great teamwork.”

Maria del Mar Tejada

Supply Chain Coordinator

“I joined Kite in October 2018 and work on the Cell Order Management team. I was looking for a meaningful job where I could be motivated, proactive and busy at the same time. I wanted a place where I could be myself, and I have found it at Kite. My daily work starts over coffee with colleagues, and then we start building daily reports for sharing with our European colleagues (a great thing about Kite: our international team!)

A day on our team is never the same, and to be successful you need to be active and independent, but also a strong team player. It is key to be able to suddenly swap activities, and the most exciting thing about working here is the speed we are moving at. The possibilities of learning and growing, the open-minded mentality of everyone, and the freedom we have to offer our own suggestions in a very diverse environment is great. I love what we do – we are saving lives!”

Lieschen de Klerk

Supply Chain Coordinator

“I am a supply chain coordinator on the European Cell Order Management (EUCOM) team. I joined Kite in July 2018 because I identified with the Company’s mission, and the position was an opportunity that I could not let pass by. My role focuses on numerous aspects, such as customer service, order management, supply chain coordination and cross-functional alignment. I like my role because it gives me the opportunity to work with a lot of different people, and to be directly involved in delivering Yescarta to patients. On our team, there is no such thing as a typical day and every day brings their new challenges. To be successful in my role you need to be flexible but firm, patient, friendly and definitely a team player. Knowing that we are only starting out in Europe, and being part of the first EU launch, I am extremely excited about all the things to come and the more patients we can help. The best thing for me about this role is that I go home every day knowing that I have helped a patient.”

Jeroen Roben

Supply Chain Manager

“I joined Kite on November 1st, 2018 as a supply chain manager. The main reason I joined Kite was the ability to contribute to advanced patient care and directly influence the cure of cancer. My work day usually starts at 08:15am, when I look at my to-do list and plan out my tasks. What is great about working at Kite is that every day is different, fast-paced and rapidly changing. My day is normally based around coordinating materials and equipment for our recently opened location in the Netherlands, but there is always something new to learn. I am responsible for managing PO receipts, expediting ERP supplier setup and supporting the extended supply chain-team.

What helps me be successful at Kite is the ability to cope with change and the willingness to connect with other Kite family members. Building sustainable relationships helps me learn from other disciplines and allows me to discover synergy between some of our processes. Kite encourages a partnership approach, and my advice to anyone considering a career here would be to be yourself and be willing to work together. Success doesn’t come alone.”

Danique Vos

Supply Chain Specialist

“I joined Kite Pharma on the 15th of November 2018, and while I have only been here a short period, I am considered almost a veteran already. But that is the kind of thing I like here. I was ready for a new challenge, and Kite gave me the opportunity!

There is no such a thing as a typical day for me at Kite. Not only is the planning different every day, but there are also lots of challenges. I am relatively new to the world of work, and to feel like I can contribute to progress is a great feeling. As a supply chain specialist, my role is to make sure every product is ready for shipment and that we follow all procedures.

As a supply chain specialist, you need to be able to manage a variety of things at once; we are a small team, and there are a lot of different things that need to be done in different areas. You need to be very flexible, because some things can change and you need to be able to handle it and apply it. What I love most about Kite is that the Company gives you an opportunity to grow – and in my case – to develop myself.”

Camila Valentina Rosso

Manufacturing Technician (Cell Therapy Specialist)

“I started at Kite in July 2017 at El Segundo California, USA and transferred to Amsterdam, The Netherlands in January 2019. I wanted to challenge myself by getting out of my comfort zone and taking on new responsibilities while living in a different culture.

What makes Kite unique to me is the connection to the patients we have, like seeing the patient code when we start processing on Day 0. It gives you a sense of connection, because you can imagine this person could be your younger brother or your grandmother. You don’t just change the life of the patient, but also that of the entire family.”

Rutger van de Pas

QC Microbiologist I

“I started at Kite on the 1st of May 2019. My decision to join Kite was quickly made, based on the company’s mission to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients accessing treatment options and also the fact that Kite is building a new state of the art facility in my hometown, Hoofddorp. As a QC Microbiologist, my team monitors the cleanrooms and personnel working there with regards to contamination control, and eventually we also provide laboratory tests on the final product together with the QC Analytical team.

Due to the fact that the facility is brand new, we needed to build the QC department from scratch and that provides us with many interesting opportunities on a daily basis, from creating documentation to streamlining processes with the various facility and production departments.

I’m glad I have the opportunity to learn many new things on a daily basis from a group of people with a wealth of experience in their respected fields, and in this way, I’m able to contribute to how Kite hopes to change the way cancer is treated.”

Alexander Kalinichenko

Quality Engineer III

“I’ve joined Kite’s Quality Engineering team in December 2018 and immediately got the opportunity to provide quality oversight for a range of various systems and contribute to the improvement of business processes in collaborative effort between our European and US-based colleagues. Ensuring that we can achieve highest levels of quality without compromising on efficiency, as cancer patient’s lives depends on product delivery timelines, is a critical part of the daily activities within our department. As we’re applying the latest technologies and implementing the newest systems across our state of the art facilities, this creates a perfect atmosphere for inventive thinking and a chance to become a positively disruptive force within the whole industry. Working on the verge of several professional fields, where revolutionary science meets technology and regulatory knowledgebase, has always been the most enticing daily driver for me.”

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