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Dec 13
Morgan Smith, U.S. Communications
Employee Spotlight: Leah VanderVeen and Her Time as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Foster Children

When we think about our purpose, people, and science – our people are a core component of how we deliver moments that matter for people living with severe diseases. At UCB, our people bring their whole selves to work, enriching our environment with unique perspectives and experiences. How our people engage with each other and with society beyond UCB makes them better colleagues and employees. We’re pleased to spotlight some of our incredible employees. 

Leah VanderVeen started her career working in branding and marketing for a grocery store chain and switched to the healthcare field when she started her job working in a specialty pharmacy. She soon began to show interest and build relations in the biopharma industry and moved to UCB as the Specialty Pharmacy National Account Executive. She works on the Trade and Channels team managing specialty pharmacy contracts and relationships.  

Leah’s efforts go beyond healthcare. At UCB, employees have dedicated time off to volunteer and care for others, and Leah uses hers in a special way. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) working with children in the foster care system, Leah goes above and beyond to serve others. After an 8-week training course, CASA volunteers are appointed by a judge and then assigned to a foster care case. Once paired with a child, Leah learns about their needs, best interests, and the complexities of their case. Prior to each court hearing, she writes a report to a judge so they can receive a third-party perspective into the child’s situation. CASA’s efforts are achieved by advocating, investigating, and monitoring children to ensure the judicial and welfare systems are working towards securing a safe permanent home for children. 

Leah’s efforts have been rewarded by being voted Kent County’s CASA of the year in 2021. When she was appointed to a 15-month-old, Leah made sure to monitor and advocate for the child closely. When Leah could no longer visit during the pandemic, she made sure to consistently keep in touch while making recommendations to the judge to ensure the child was getting the best care possible. Thanks to her advocacy, Leah was able to make the permanency through adoption for the child possible.  

A lot of what Leah has learned through volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Foster Children, she also applies in her work at UCB. “We advocate for the best interest of the patient and for the best patient's journey to ensure outstanding care. A lot of what you learn in CASA training, you also learn in the workplace,” Leah noted. “It gives you a perspective that the person sitting next to you at work might not be just like me, and that’s okay. You are able to have more compassion for people because you never know from the experiences they’ve had.” 

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