Wendy Buckland

Chief Operating Officer

Why I joined Emmes

I saw as the COO role at Emmes as an exciting opportunity to leverage my prior experiences in global operations, biopharma relationships, and quality initiatives to help Emmes scale and continue to expand globally and so make a difference in a mid-size company. The change in ownership to NMC brings a fresh vision for growth, and a willingness to invest in expansion of our capabilities and footprint to position us as an ideal partner for companies at the forefront of clinical development. Emmes’ history and reputation for building long-term, successful customer relationships was very compelling. Also, I was excited to partner with Christine Dingivan again; she’s an impressive and inspiring executive.

How I chose my career

From my earliest years I aspired to a professional role where I could help people and was curious about how medicines worked. I worked in a community pharmacy during school holidays from about age 15 and part-time throughout university, so by the time I completed my pharmacy degree and internship, I had worked in a pharmacy setting for a long time. Soon after the internship, a family friend told me about an entry-level opportunity at Novartis (then Ciba Geigy); I jumped at the chance to work in a corporation where there would be more varied career opportunities and the chance to collaborate with a diverse set of professionals around the world.

My background

After receiving a solid grounding in clinical research during my time at Novartis, I was approached by PPD, then a small CRO, about the opportunity to manage its office in South Africa. The CRO industry was quite new at that time. It felt like a risky move, but the opportunity to lead a regional office was appealing, so I took the plunge. A pivotal point in my career was when PPD offered me a director position based in the United Kingdom. My husband and I made the difficult decision to move out of our home country, deciding that we would have more regrets if we passed up this opportunity to live abroad. During that time, I managed clinical operations across 14 countries in Europe. Five years later I had the opportunity to move to Wilmington, N.C. With that move, I led the company’s emerging markets: Latin America and Asia Pacific.

Something I’m most proud of

A huge highlight for me has been to see colleagues grow in their careers – helping them to expand their horizons and fulfill their potential. I am also proud of the small part I have played in the execution of important work in clinical development, especially in rare disease and gene therapy. Being on the cutting edge of bringing new treatments to patients is truly rewarding. We are seeing so much progress, for example with gene therapy treatments for rare diseases in children, like Muscular Dystrophy.

A bit about me

In my spare time I am an artist; I like to draw and paint. My preferred media are charcoal and oils, and I tend to gravitate towards portraits and inspirational themes. I also enjoy travel and exploring new places around the world.


Pharmacy bachelor’s degree from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and a diploma in business management from the Damelin Management School.