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The Pf Awards are the leading pharmaceutical awards in the UK, and have been recognising talent in the industry for the last 18 years. We were thrilled that Zuchaela Smylie, Medical Sales Representative, won Best Newcomer at the 2018 ceremony – so we sat down with her to ask her about the experience.

Zuchaela, a huge congratulations on winning Best Newcomer at this year’s awards – can you tell me a little more about your role?

Absolutely, I work in one of Ashfield’s dedicated sales teams as a primary care representative. I cover a territory in Scotland.

In a nutshell, my role involves speaking to practice nurses, GPs and pharmacists to find out how our client’s products can add value and help their patients. I’m fairly new to pharma and joined Ashfield (and the industry) about one year ago.

What made you decide to join Ashfield?

I decided to take on the role after building my experience in various other areas, including IT and marketing. In these roles, I had begun to build up a bit of sales experience, so medical sales seemed a perfect fit for my skills.

What really drew me was the opportunity to sell products with a real purpose and the opportunity to help improve people’s lives. For me, that’s what makes this role stand out from other sales-based roles.

How have the last 12 months been?

Fantastic! Over the last 12 months, the support from Ashfield has really helped me settle. I’ve also really appreciated the constant opportunities for training and development which have helped me gain a great understanding of the industry and the role.

How would you describe the Pf Awards nomination process?

I was nominated by my line manager in the first instance before submitting an official application with Pf. In my case, this application featured a summary of the three biggest career achievements in my role to date. If you are successful in passing this stage, you are invited to the assessment day.

For this part of the process, I had to undertake a 15 minute NHS exam and a 30 minute presentation based on my role achievements. Ironically, as a sales person, I always find selling yourself quite difficult and uncomfortable, but the judges made me feel really relaxed and gave me time to compose myself.

What are your recollections of the Awards evening?

As one of the Ashfield field team, it was great to attend the event with my colleagues and spend time with people who have different roles within the business – like our contact centre staff.

As for the win, I was incredibly shocked to see my name as a finalist so was not expecting for my name to be read out as a winner! I had never entered this kind of process before and didn’t have any kind of expectations.

How did you celebrate your win?

I only had hand luggage for my flight back to Scotland – so we had no choice but to drink my winner’s champagne!

What advice would you give to those considering entering the awards next year?

I would tell them to go for it. When you are so busy doing your day job you don’t really stop to think about your own achievements and the difference that you are making – it’s a British thing to be modest.

For me, being part of the process gave me the opportunity to look back and reflect on my achievements – so thank you to Ashfield for putting me forward. I look forward to the future!

The Pf Awards are the leading pharmaceutical awards in the UK, and have been recognising talent in the industry for the last 18 years. If you have any questions about the awards or our past winners please contact

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