Female leaders are on the rise. At Philips we strive for equal opportunities for everyone, no matter what background you come from or what gender you have. However, it is still a given that there are less female leaders than male leaders. Why? And what have our successful female leaders done and experienced that they have succeeded to climb the business ladder to great heights? We will be talking to female leaders in the Benelux to get their expert tips on career management and finding the right balance. Alpna Doshi, our Group CIO has some insights to share.
With over 25 years of work experience under her belt, you can say Alpna Doshi has seen it all. She has gotten praise through numerous awards and has established herself as an accomplished leader. And in the IT world, as a woman, that is not something you see every day. For the last three years, Alpna has led our digitalization journey as the Global Chief Information Officer. Alpna oversees Philips’ IT strategic direction and execution, focusing on Business Transformation.”
"Strong vision will help you rally forces, build strong, diverse teams that work towards the same North star."
A shared purpose
Getting to where she is now, her journey has taught her some valuable lessons. And her best career advice is: “Never take your eyes off the ball. At Philips we have a strong, shared sense of purpose – however this doesn’t mean we’re always moving in the same direction. We need inspirational leaders who truly believe in their contribution to improving people’s lives. Having that clear, strong vision will help you rally forces, build strong, diverse teams that work towards the same North star.”
Keeping your eyes on the ball does not mean you have to be docile and always follow directions. “Be demanding and pushy to get things moving. However, don’t forget to show your vulnerability and actively tune in to the organization to really understand what’s going on”, said Doshi. “Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.” To me, this not only resembles the diversity and inclusion message, but also resembles the situation we often find ourselves in as leaders. Regardless of whether we are male or female – we’re all from different walks of life, in different roles. Being in IT, delivering the standardization message wasn’t always an easy one – however, it was that one boat we needed to take to raft the heavy rivers.”
"I’ve always been very business-minded. Coming to Philips, made me realize how much more rewarding it can be to have a direct impact on people’s lives”
Impacting people’s lives
Reflecting on her growth over the years, Alpna can see one thing she would want her younger self to have known sooner. Alpna: “I’ve always been very business-minded. Coming to Philips, made me realize how much more rewarding it can be to have a direct impact on people’s lives. Also, when I see my daughters taking action to start their own charity organizations (dedicated to the betterment of children’s health in Tanzania and fighting pneumonia) – it makes me feel proud. My advice would be to engage with organizations that have a purpose early in life. Understand the differences in living conditions across the globe – it made me feel humble. Focus on the world’s wealth, not [just] on your own.”
Find a common North star
Having worked in high-profile and demanding jobs, Alpna has seen how important it is to have an inclusive and diverse workforce. “To me, it’s all about being a part of something bigger than yourself. No matter who you are or where you’re from, we’re one team – working towards that same North star. Creating inclusion is something you actively do, it’s behavior. Personally, I’m a big fan of Hansei, a central idea in Japanese culture based on self-reflection where you acknowledge your mistakes and pledge improvement. I regularly share quotes that encourage introspection. We do no not only need to be agile in our work, also in our behavior.”
Originally posted here.
Philips is a world leading health technology company with a vision to make life better for people worldwide through meaningful innovation. Making good on this promise depends on our inclusive, passionate, inspirational, collaborative and diverse team.