Meet the team

Sharon Leighton
Sharon LeightonManaging Director


Sharon has over 30 years experience in leading research-based pharmaceutical companies in a variety of Medical Communications roles. Includes leadership roles in Medical Information, Pharmacovigilance and Medical Affairs.

Working in companies such as AstraZeneca, Merck Sharp & Dohme and Glaxo (now gsk), she managed departmental mergers, restructuring and reorganisations. She has national, European and global medical information experience. Cross cultural and virtual team working are very familiar work environments!

She has run her very successful consultancy and training company since 2006, working directly with over 35 companies on over 170 projects covering all aspects of Medical Information best practice and quality management, technological solutions, restructuring, skills training and leadership development. She regularly presents at client Global/European Medical Information conferences on regulations, leadership or future trends.

Professional Achievements

Sharon has a PhD in Neuropharmacology

Her professional achievements include

  • PIPA (Pharmaceutical Information & Pharmacovigilance Association) – Past President. She is also a Honorary member.
  • Drug Information Association (DIA) – past co-chairman for Medical Communications special interest group

She regularly presents or chairs sessions at DIA and PIPA conferences (national or global) on diverse aspects about medical affairs and medical information. Recent examples include

  • Internal Medical Information Audits
  • Globalization: presented and chaired sessions a the DIA US MedComms conference
  • European and Global surveys of Medical Information functions
  • Opportunity or Threat? Benchmarking Medical Information
  • Publication: Leighton S, Davies JE. Surveying Medical Information across Europe: The Present and the Future. Drug Inf. J. 2009;43(5):637-654.
  • Publication: Wormleighton C, Leighton S. Auditing Medical Information services Across Western Europe: A Cost-Effective Approach. Drug Inf. J. 2009;43(5): 655-662 .
  • Mindfulness at Work. PIPA 2014

For 9 years she was on the programme committee for the annual DIA  European Medical Information & Communications conference.

Joanne Sparkes
Joanne SparkesOperations Director

Joanne works for Sharon as the Operations Director for Sharon Leighton Consultancy Ltd. She runs her own highly successful company, Expedio Virtual Assistance, which was started in 2003 by Joanne. Like all the team, she has a scientific background, deep expertise in cost-effective technology solutions for business as well as running her own business.

Joanne excels at designing bespoke spreadsheets and databases for the analysis and presentation of data, writing and making presentations, research, managing events and exhibitions and budgeting a business on a shoestring. She also designs and creates websites for small businesses as well as developing and designing online courses.

Joanne is a Microsoft Office Specialist in Excel, attaining 100% in the examination. She also holds NVQ Level 4 in Accounting, Level 3 in Payroll and is a Registered Book-keeper with HMRC.


• BSc (Hons) Physics, University of Wales (Swansea)
• MSc Medical Physics, Exeter University
• Medical physicist and service manager of a commercial radiation protection service within the UK National Health Service.

Some things you might not know about Joanne are:

She was once a finalist in the BBC Choirgirl of the Year – and still takes every opportunity to sing. In her spare time she likes to get out her paintbrushes and loves botanical illustration.

Anne Turnbull
Anne TurnbullConsultant

Anne has over 15 years’ experience working in Medical Information, including roles in Professional Information (a major outsourcing vendor), Procter and Gamble and Abbott Laboratories. She has also held a joint Medical Information and Pharmacovigilance role.

As an independent contractor, Anne has been the Operations Manager with Pharmaceutical Information and Pharmacovigilance Association (PIPA) for 10 years so she has a wide perspective and experience of MI in our industry. She has also worked for various pharmaceutical companies in Medical Information and auditing positions.

As well as her MI experience, she is an experienced project manager, copywriter and proof reader. She has also managed many projects for PIPA, including identifying, implementing, integrating and maintaining the website, customer relationship management (CRM) system, online training platform and cloud hosting system. She is PIPA’s Data Protection Officer and has been instrumental in developing its data protection and security policies.

More recently she was the major researcher and contributor to the European country section of the Global Regulatory Framework for Medical Information.


• BSc (Hons) in Biology, Bristol University
• Post-Graduate Certificate in Education
• Secondary school science teacher
• Computer programmer
• IT trainer

Some things you might not know about Anne are:

She plays the piano and violin and studied drama to LAMDA gold medal level. She is also an enthusiastic, if not very accomplished, ballet and jazz dancer!

Erin Gentry
Erin GentryConsultant

Erin has 16 years’ experience in leadership roles across medical information (MI) in the UK, New Zealand (NZ) and on global projects. She worked with Sharon at AstraZeneca UK, managing an MI team and leading best practice projects such as the Rep liaison team – highlighting the value MI adds to the business; capability framework and Intranet site.

After 4 years in the UK, Erin returned to NZ as Medical Services Manager at Roche. As well as completing MI enquiries, her team was responsible for the review of promotional material, pharmacovigilance, and disease/product training of sales teams. More recently, she was business lead, release 1, for the development of Roche’s global MI system (MI atlas); a system that’s simple for end-users, delivers timely and consistent responses to customers, and provides customer insight to the business.

With Six Sigma experience, Erin has an ethos of continuous improvement, is solution-focused and delivers results.

Currently, Erin is writing the APAC region section of the Global Regulatory Framework for Medical Information.


• BPharm (Hons I), Otago University, New Zealand

• Registered Pharmacist; 6 years retail pharmacy experience

Some things you might not know about Erin are:

She lives in New Zealand, spending weekends at the beach or on the mountain, indulging her passion for the outdoors and photography.


Tom Green
Tom GreenInformation Analyst

Tom studied Primate Behaviour during his Master’s where he learnt many of data skills he now employs in his work as an Information Analyst and Designer for Sharon Leighton Consultancy. As such this is his first foray into the world of Medical Information, which he has quickly adapted to and learnt much from.

Tom’s skills are broad in the work he does for us; from analysing data sets for reports and benchmarking for both pharmaceutical companies and the consultancy, to designing infographics and presentations, which he discovered he has an eye for during his work.

His other skills and experience include behavioural studies and data collection during his studies, basic programming, and working in a theatre in a multitude of roles.


  • BSc (Hons) in Zoology, University of Manchester
  • MSc Anthropology, University of Zurich (Switzerland)

Some things you might not know about Tom are:

Six months of his Master’s were spent in a jungle in Borneo studying Orangutans. He is also a big theatre enthusiast; acting, directing, teaching, and watching. From school to university and now working at his local theatre he has kept it up as a fun hobby to contrast his scientific studies.