“For me, it really comes down to the ability to make an impact… And I found a way in public health,” said Amy Walker, Director, U.S. Policy & Advocacy at Seqirus. “It’s the one motivating factor that has not changed throughout my career.”
While Amy didn’t always know she would end up in public health, she found her way to it in the U.S Senate during the 2009 Affordable Care Act discussions.
“I came to [Washington] DC thinking that I was going to have a career in international relations, maybe at the State Department or the CIA. But once I got there [after undergrad] any extra staff were all hands-on deck helping out with healthcare reform, and so that's where I first dipped my toes into healthcare,” she said. Between her experience in administrative and policy roles on Capitol Hill, her time at a law and lobbying firm and at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), she found herself invested in a career that would have a tangible impact on people’s lives.
“That is when I caught the public health bug,” she said. “Especially when I had the opportunity to help advocacy groups and public health agencies make progress on reducing the impact of vaccine preventable diseases nationwide and globally.”
The wealth of knowledge and experience she gained ushered her career into the next chapter, where she turned to Seqirus to further that progress in a new way by connecting the voices of healthcare providers and advocates who have been impacted by flu.
“What really drew me to Seqirus is their focused mission on vaccines. Being able to help get influenza vaccines out on a seasonal basis as well as prepare for a future potential pandemic is challenging but also extremely rewarding,” Walker said.
With four months’ time on the front line at Seqirus, she explained that she quickly understood what being there means: looking out for the public and being at the crux of vaccine innovation.
“It's a really exciting time to be in vaccines,” she said, “Innovation has always been a part of the healthcare space, but the pandemic has accelerated the need for solutions. It will be exciting to see where we end up in terms of new vaccine technology.”
Although exciting, it is also a time of uncertainty and rapid change, and as a new employee, constant communication in this virtual world definitely helps, she explained. “Everyone here has had an open-door policy to talk about the challenges and opportunities we are facing in our work, everyone has been very welcoming.”
Looking back on her career thus far, Walker is proud to have found her way into the public health industry. She feels it is where she is meant to be.
“I ended up someplace completely different than where I intended to start out, but some place that I really love,” Walker said. “One of the big keys for me has been just being flexible and open to opportunities and taking advantage of them to see where it leads me, and it's gotten me to what I think is a wonderful company in an impactful role.”