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.