Building engaging work cultures in an age of change
Absci’s new Chief People Officer, Karin Wierinck, brings a global perspective to HR leadership
“My door is always open, and I hope to get to know everyone at Absci very well.”
When Karin Wiernick says it, it doesn’t sound like a platitude. Her forthcoming way of talking about herself and the things she cares about is as natural and unrehearsed as if bumping into a neighbor for a serendipitous chat.
“My sister and I were raised with values of transparency, fairness, hard work, loyalty, and integrity,” she says. “My dad also taught me to pursue what I love and what I am good at — to look for opportunities to apply my talent and passion. I think that’s why I find myself in this role right now.”
Karin’s unpretentiousness belies the fact that she’s a highly accomplished HR leader with a track record of building positive and engaging cultures, creating business value, and developing talent. Karin brings to Absci deep experience from her leadership roles at companies like Takeda, Novo Nordisk, and Pfizer. The red threads that run through her career include global human resources, high transformation, and purpose-driven companies.
“One of the most exciting aspects about Absci is its purpose: being able to design antibodies with the promise of more personalized medicine, better biologics faster, creating cures where previously there was none, and making medicine more accessible,” says Karin. “I’m also excited about the people I have met. The IQ, the positive intelligence, and the passion of people at Absci are truly impressive.”
Also, Karin is excited about bringing her Pomeranian, Bono, to Absci’s dog-friendly Vancouver campus.
“Bono had some early run-ins with the Chief Morale Officer, Penelope, but I think they’re learning how to work together,” she quips.
Among Karin’s early aspirations at Absci is to ensure people within the organization have the opportunity to advance their careers. She also aims to give as much focus to individual contributors as to people managers and leaders.
“For me, an unmitigated success would mean having a fit-for-purpose workforce and an HR strategy that supports the success of both Absci and its employees individually,” she says. To do that, Karin believes the key ingredients are creating a positive and transparent culture where everyone can be at their best, and where Absci’s business opportunities create employee development and career opportunities. It also includes having a predictable succession pipeline, transparent talent practices, and an agile organization ready to grab new opportunities and face new challenges.
Having worked in the US, Switzerland, and throughout Europe, Karin’s global perspective will help Absci develop its talent base everywhere. She says attracting and retaining the right talent is vital to building a ready organization with a positive, inclusive culture and diverse workforce.
“My HR strategy is simple: build the best people and the best organization,” she says.
When she is not working, Karin spends time with family and friends, preferably by the sea or in the mountains. She loves food and travel. When we spoke, she was on a ski vacation with her husband, Chris, and her cousin Kris. And, of course, Bono.
“I feel absolutely privileged to be joining Absci, and I am in awe of the possibilities that we are creating.”