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Published: 2022.09.12. ​​​​​

The early bird catches the worm: How the culture
at Roche changed my career path


My name is José Manuel and I have a beautiful family with my wife and two children.
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I majored in Business Administration and am currently pursuing a Master’s degree with an emphasis in Finance at the Tecnológico de Costa Rica (TEC).

Before 2016, I have to admit that even though I considered myself to be a committed and responsible professional, I had no clear direction of where or who I wanted to be. Eventually that same year, I got my first opportunity to join a leadership position, and due to that chance, I was able to discover my purpose, which is to be at the service of people and help them achieve their goals.

With my purpose constantly on my mind and doing what I was passionate about, my life changed completely. My interest in learning more about leadership made me get up earlier just to read a book or check out some instructional videos. With the birth of my first child, the schedule got complicated, however, I have always thought that opportunities come unexpectedly and you should be prepared to take them. And that is exactly what I did. I started the day even earlier! An hour made the difference to continue learning on a daily basis, I believe it is the key step to being prepared for future challenges. This part of my life helped me a lot to build my character and be disciplined to always fight for what I want despite maybe not being in my best shape and mood sometimes.

During the climax of the pandemic in 2020, I joined General Accounting & Management Accounting (GAMA) as Team Leader for Canada, in Roche Services & Solutions Costa Rica. At that moment, I was very excited but had not yet grasped the type of organization I had just said yes to.

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Roche has a magical and differentiating element to it: culture.

José
It feels strange – I cannot even explain how from day one I met people who selflessly want to help you, who want to work with you as a team and who accept your authenticity. It makes you immediately feel a connection with the company and the people around you.

Because of my role, I think I have been able to do more than 100 interviews overall and there is something that stands out when we ask the question “Why Roche? What inspires you to apply to our company?” One could think of an obvious answer: Pay and benefits, right? But this is simply not the case. Of course, these are important things about a position, but it is not what differentiates our workplace. I have heard answers where they explain that they have friends who work for Roche and they go on about the culture and the people who work there. I love being a part of that; it is reassuring to hear that even external sources believe in our principles, which means we are probably doing things the right way.

If I had to put into words what our working culture is like, I would say that it is an environment where you are encouraged to be your true self, take care of your mental health, raise your voice and share your ups and downs without hesitation. A place where creativity and innovation are the pillars for growth and value creation for our patients.

In 2022, I received the best news of my entire professional career and that was being appointed as GAMA Manager for the Latin American department. I will never forget the words of the director of Record to Report when she called me to congratulate me. 
She told me, “José, the selection process was tough but if people from outside had areas of improvement, how could we not give someone from inside a chance.” I think her words comforted me a lot because, in addition to the fact that they had given me such a long-awaited opportunity, on the other hand, they offered me the commitment to provide guidance along my professional journey. I think that this only happens in places like Roche.

Regardless of my role, one thing that has never changed is my passion for getting up every day to help people be better, and I can say that during the last two years Roche definitely has made me grow as a professional, but most importantly – as a human being.
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