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What I Learned During the Pandemic

A site leader in Australia says the experience revealed strengths and reinforced relationships among team members.

Broadmeadows GM Tricia Stewart speaking at a town hall

At CSL, we have had a unique pandemic experience. Our Broadmeadows location, of which I’m the site head, found itself in the epicenter of a Melbourne COVID-19 hot spot during the second wave.

As an essential industry, we stayed up and running, continuing regular production even as we added to the strict health and safety procedures we already follow at Broadmeadows. About 800 people remained on-site, where we fractionate plasma to make medicines for serious and rare diseases, though we modified shift patterns to avoid overlapping. Another 1,300 worked remotely – also focused on continuing to deliver for our patients and partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

While it’s undoubtedly been a challenging time, COVID-19 has served to highlight three amazing aspects of CSL for me:

  1. The cross-site, cross-functional nature of our Australian business has been a delight to experience – while spread across the county, it’s a big and very supportive family. The health response from our Safety team has been a standout, ensuring that all our employees, whether on-site or at home, have remained safe and well during this time.


  2. Our communication has been a win and I feel as though we’ve established even greater trust with our employees through our approach to the situation.


  3. Ironically, a more remote and isolated working situation has in many ways allowed the team to grow closer. We’d video call each other and hear the dog barking or see the toddler walking in the background. I loved getting that insight and understanding of each other's trials and tribulations.

Even as we re-establish some normalcy in Australia, operating in the COVID-19 environment requires us to think and act differently. Our core manufacturing processes have not been affected; we operate within a highly regulated and sterile environment, so from a process perspective, almost nothing has changed. What has changed is the human side, so we have worked to ensure that our team embraces agility and flexibility, making them more comfortable facing the unique challenges being presented.

The work we do is truly essential: Patients depend on the medicines we produce so they can safeguard their health and live their lives. I’m so proud of our continued ability to produce life-saving therapies, even in this difficult global moment. It’s an achievement made possible by the resilience and adaptability of our people.