Mod­est leader trail-blaz­ing for eth­nic women

Auckland City Harbour News - - MILESTONES - MARY FITZGER­ALD

Don’t read.

This was the call of 2016 YE En­tre­pre­neur fi­nal­ist Ran­jna Pa­tel when con­grat­u­lated on her out­stand­ing achieve­ments.

While not the over­all win­ner on Oc­to­ber 15, the Auck­lan­der is the first eth­nic woman to be a fi­nal­ist in the pres­ti­gious YE En­tre­pre­neur of the year award. Ac­cord­ing to Pa­tel, it took three years of gen­tle co­er­cion from sup­port­ive col­leagues to en­cour­age her to en­ter the award pro­gramme, and over­come her mod­esty and de­sire to re­main un­der the radar.

This de­spite her be­ing the founder and di­rec­tor of New Zealand’s largest in­de­pen­dent pri­mary health care group, Nir­vana Health Group.

Her work be­gan in Otara in 1977 when Ran­jna and hus­band Dr Kan­ti­lal Pa­tel ac­quired a small med­i­cal prac­tice there. Since then she has been piv­otal in the prac­tice’s de­vel­op­ment and growth into a net­work of 55 sites across New Zealand and Aus­tralia serv­ing over a mil­lion pa­tients a year.

While al­tru­is­tic by na­ture, Pa­tel con­cedes that by en­ter­ing award pro­grammes she can ‘‘be an ex­am­ple to hun­dreds of eth­nic be­lieve ev­ery­thing you women out there do­ing amaz­ing things’’.

‘‘By par­tic­i­pat­ing in these awards pro­gramme I am taken out of my com­fort zone but it is im­por­tant to set an ex­am­ple, to be a role model,’’ she says.

Pa­tel says that she has shown that de­spite not hav­ing a for­mal ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion, suc­cess is pos­si­ble. She has de­vel­oped skills re­quired for sit­u­a­tions as they have arisen.

‘‘I also don’t try to do ev­ery­thing, in­stead I hire the best peo­ple in their field for the job to de­liver in ar­eas where I don’t have the ex­per­tise’’. Pa­tel be­lieves this is a fac­tor that has con­trib­uted to the suc­cess of the prac­tice.

As­cot Gy­nae­col­ogy spe­cial­ist Dr Anil Sharma says Pa­tel’s achieve­ments are extraordinary both in busi­ness and in com­mu­nity ser­vice. ’’She must be an in­spi­ra­tion to New Zealan­ders and New Zealand women, es­pe­cially those from re­cent mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties,’’ he says.

In 2014, in recog­ni­tion of her busi­ness ac­u­men Pa­tel was in­ducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame for Women En­trepreneurs. Pre­vi­ously, in 2009 she was awarded the Queen’s Ser­vice Medal for her ser­vices to the In­dian com­mu­nity.

Ran­jna Pa­tel has worked in health man­age­ment in Auck­land since the 1970’s.

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