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An assistant is a magician working in the background, whose expertise benefits the entire organisation

“Don’t you worry – I’ll take care of it” is the most common phrase used by assistant Anne Nikulainen. As an assistant in the R&D organisation, Nikulainen’s job is to anticipate and organise things so that researchers and experts can focus on drug development.

An assistant is a multi-tasker whose job is to keep all the balls in the air. She organises events, functions and meetings, provides administrative support and liaises with a wide range of professionals, both inside and outside the organisation. The job requires the ability to cope under pressure, excellent organisational and communication skills, and a knack for collaboration. 
“Being one step ahead is a professional skill, after all. When things just seem to happen ‘on their own’, we have succeeded in our work,” says Anne Nikulainen, Team Leader (iMeds and R&D Administrative Assistant Team). 

Surprise and variety add a little spice 

In the R&D organisation, the work of an assistant includes: 

  • administrative work
  • organising events and activities
  • participating in the induction process for new employees
  • event and conference registrations
  • flight bookings and travel invoices 

“In our work, we encounter a wide variety of tasks and situations. One minute we’re doing battle with an airline over cancelled flights, then we’re searching for extra chairs for a conference, and after that we’re buying a vase for an employee’s special day,” says Nikulainen. 
Assistants use a variety of digital tools and skills every day. They also have to be familiar with up-to-date meeting practices and the secrets of communication. According to Nikulainen, variety is the essence of the job.  
“And helping others. It’s rewarding to see that my expertise helps researchers free up time for research and the development of new drugs – the work they are experts at.” 

Going the extra mile 

The R&D organisation employs six assistants in addition to Nikulainen, who is the supervisor. 
“As a supervisor, my main task is to keep my team happy and motivated. Because our work is often hectic, I help my team to prioritise and schedule tasks wisely. Continuous improvement of services and operations is also part of my job description, and that of my entire team. We are currently working on a catalogue of our services.” 
The goal of Nikulainen and her team is to create a relaxed and positive atmosphere in all encounters, where customers can be confident that everything will be taken care of.  
“We always aim to exceed the expectations of our customers by just that little bit extra. Nothing beats the feeling of success when you look at the customer and see that everything was perfect,” says Nikulainen. 

The three best aspects of my job at Orion: 

  • Improving the way we work and our services.
  • Mutual respect: At Orion, everyone can be themselves.  
    My team is a great bunch of professional women and there is no shortage of fun.
  • The meaningfulness of the work and the sense of achievement. When I do my job well, researchers and experts have more time to focus on drug research and development without having to worry about anything.