Louise Kaufman began working as Director, International Regulatory Affairs, for Warner-Lambert in Morris Plains, NJ, in 1985, after spending 10 years at Merck & Co., in a similar role.
"I was responsible predominantly for bringing new drugs to market, although I did work on in-line product support," said Louise. "I'm proud to say we were successful in the early approvals of Accupril, Neurontin and other products throughout the world, but particularly in Europe," she added.
Louise came to Warner-Lambert because of the greater opportunities she saw there at the time. For example, she was able to directly negotiate with the foreign agencies, together with the local affiliates. In addition, she notes that she felt privileged to work with progressive people and be part of a team that helped to grow the company, and in particular, the pharmaceutical business.
"We were the fastest growing pharma company at the time," explained Louise. A great deal of progress was made in empowering people and driving more responsibility for the bottom line down through the organization than had been customary in the past. "I remember, for example, that we needed to learn how to use new software and office tools like PowerPoint and Excel, and online calendaring ourselves, long before that became the norm and taking that responsibility away from our administrative staff," recalls Louise.
If someone had a good idea to help streamline and make the company leaner and meaner, they were encouraged to go ahead and do it. "At the time, that was break-through thinking - to go against the norm and implement an idea, taking risks into consideration and recognizing potential downside," said Louise. "We were encouraged to be risk-takers, but if you stuck your neck out and something didn't work out, you might get bruised, but it wouldn't be a career disaster. That was a different, but refreshing and productive environment in which to work," she added.
Louise said that she enjoyed the entrepreneurial spirit that was in play that challenged them as individuals and allowed for personal growth. "The benefit," said Louise "was the growth and success of the company." Louise explained that her team implemented a number of best practices that were not really in their purview, but they got a number of plants (in the U.S. and abroad) all thinking the same way and following the same policies and practices. The plants took it upon themselves to initiate contests to see which one developed the best implementation ideas. And then together, with everyone's input, they picked the best practices – it was efficient and all the plants were compliant. "We had the opportunity to participate in the change efforts, and that was a unique, rewarding experience – and a successful one," she noted.
Louise retired in 2001 as vice president of compliance as a result of the merger with Pfizer, "Retirement is wonderful, in that it permits you to do the things you put off while you were working."
Like so many of our retirees, Louise is staying very active. She serves on two not-for profit boards – as Vice Chair of the Board of Wagner College, in Staten Island, NY and as recruitment chair of The International Women's Forum Foundation.
In addition, she and her husband recently purchased a home in Savannah, GA. "Selling a home in New York and moving to the South really was a major endeavor," she noted. "We are now settling in, making new friends and finding new interests."
Louise offered a few nice words about Josephine Winfrey, our Retiree Relations Advisor. "The ability to contact people like Josephine and Mary Lou has been a godsend," she said. She gave Pfizerplus.com a plug, too, noting that it's a great resource and that she has used it on many occasions to find answers to questions.
In closing, Louise noted, "Being in a legacy group, I was never quite sure if we were going to be pushed aside and not helped as much as a retiree from Pfizer. But, they have. And, I'm pleased that Pfizer has not only held and maintained our plans, but they have improved the health plan, for example, by introducing the pharmacy card, which makes filling prescriptions a lot easier."