Im­prov­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween phar­ma­cists

LINDA SEAH VP & Head of South East Asia Clus­ter, Shire, Sin­ga­pore

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Bio Content -

Linda Seah has over 20 years of suc­cess­ful track record in cor­po­rate lead­er­ship and gen­eral man­age­rial roles in ma­jor phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal MNCs, namely GSK, No­var­tis, Baxter, and Bax­alta. Dur­ing her ten­ure as pres­i­dent of the Sin­ga­pore As­so­ci­a­tion of Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal In­dus­tries (SAPI) (2014-2016), Linda played a key role in im­prov­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween phar­ma­cists across dif­fer­ent health­care sec­tors in Sin­ga­pore, lead­ing to SAPI be­ing awarded the ‘Excellent Stake­holder and Part­ner­ship Award’ by the Health Sciences Author­ity (reg­u­la­tory body).

Cur­rently work­ing as VP & Head of South East Asia Clus­ter, Shire, Linda has been re­cently ap­pointed by the Sin­ga­pore Min­istry of Health (MOH) to be a mem­ber of its In­ter­na­tional Health­care Pro­duc­tiv­ity Ex­pert Ad­vi­sory Panel. She has also been a Board Mem­ber of the Sin­ga­pore Phar­macy Coun­cil, MOH for 12 con­sec­u­tive years.

On chal­lenges faced while climb­ing the cor­po­rate lad­der in this male dom­i­nated in­dus­try, Linda said, “Even up to now, there is still the ‘old boys club’ and a glass ceil­ing. And on top of that, there is al­ways an as­sump­tion that a woman is not mo­bile. Case in point, I re­fused to take up re­gional roles that in­volved fre­quent trav­el­ing in the first 15 years work­ing of my pharma ca­reer to re­main as Gen­eral Man­ager in Sin­ga­pore. It was clearly a con­certed choice be­cause I wanted to be there to raise my young chil­dren through pri­mary school.”

“Fun­da­men­tally, I be­lieve that there is a stark dif­fer­ence be­tween a young male ex­ec­u­tive ver­sus a young fe­male ex­ec­u­tive as they push them­selves up the ranks. As­sum­ing that they have the same credentials, there isn’t a level play­ing field for women, as so­ci­ety norms ex­pect them to play dif­fer­ent roles at home as a wife, a mother, a daugh­ter. Today it takes a sea­soned fe­male leader to be able to lead by ex­am­ple and challenge the sta­tus quo but that usu­ally comes af­ter a woman has ful­filled the needs for her fam­ily first.”

Speak­ing about the gen­der par­ity in the pharma in­dus­try in Sin­ga­pore, Linda ob­served, “The health­care in­dus­try tends to at­tract more fe­males, un­like tech com­pa­nies, so I think we should em­power women in the or­gan­i­sa­tion to con­trib­ute be­cause they are born with dif­fer­ent strengths. It also ties in well with our com­mit­ment to serve pa­tients, it’s in our DNA to care for other peo­ple.”

For a women, pri­or­i­ties are many and var­ied opines Linda. “Our DNAs are dif­fer­ent to begin with, so fe­males tend to be more re­served, less out­spo­ken and ul­ti­mately have more con­sid­er­a­tions when it comes to ca­reer change and pro­gres­sion. Women also go through dif­fer­ent stages in their lives and their pri­or­i­ties need to be reshuf­fled when it comes to tak­ing care of young chil­dren or ag­ing par­ents, and we need to em­brace them when they feel that it’s the right time to return to the work­force.”

On her suc­cess mantra, Linda said, “I think it boils down to how we mea­sure our suc­cess – ca­reer suc­cess is cer­tainly a way to tell how suc­cess­ful a man is, while a woman may mea­sure her suc­cess by the well-be­ing of her fam­ily (spouse, chil­dren, par­ents, com­mu­nity etc.). The cor­po­rate lad­der has dif­fer­ent con­no­ta­tions to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, it’s a very per­sonal choice.”

LINDA SEAH VP & Head of South East Asia Clus­ter, Shire, Sin­ga­pore

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