How long have you been with Accenture?
I have been with Accenture for close to four years.
Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
I am a part of the risk and compliance team, and lead the quality assurance (QA) function for the Life Sciences R&D team in India. I now also support China, Japan and Prague. In the healthcare domain, we ensure that the services provided by Accenture are of high quality and compliant, helping our clients achieve faster time to market for new medicines, thus making an impact on the patient’s life. We work closely with the client and business (Operations team) to establish the quality management system. We are a pair of independent eyes that perform audits and reviews of services provided by the operations team.
On a typical day, you will find me strategizing the implementation of a new regulatory requirement, handling any issues or a potential risk, and ensuring appropriate controls/remedial actions are implemented. Now with Accenture focusing aggressively on automation and digitization, I have a team that specializes in testing and validation. I am working closely with our pharma clients on the validation strategy of robots.
What is it that you enjoy most about your current job?
This role is unique—the client sets the outcome, but how we implement it makes all the difference. I enjoy the space and trust by the Accenture Leadership, that is the driver to excel. I enjoy collaborating with the client and business in anticipating and mitigating a risk through a robust Quality and Compliance framework.
I still remember the day, when one of our clients had invited a few patients. These were cancer survivors who got treated with the client’s medicines. When I told them about my role, one of the patients gave a tight hug to me and said “You all are like God to us” . She was in tears! Every time, we prevent or solve an issue, I feel we have contributed to the patient safety, and that is what I enjoy the most.
Did you always know that working in this field? How did you decide to go into this profession?
Working in the healthcare domain has always been my passion and dream. I wanted to become a doctor and make a difference to patient life. In my current profession too, I can still make a difference to a patient’s life. I have worked in various streams of pharma, including manufacturing and research units, and was involved in the research of several tablets, capsules and injectables. I feel proud when I see people using products that I have contributed to in my role as an R&D quality assurance.
I don’t think it’s any secret that many women in this industry have felt their gender has affected the way that they are perceived or treated. Have you ever been in a situation like that? How did you handle it?
Yes, I have been through such situations. I was blessed with twin daughters 20 years back. When I returned to work post maternity, things started to work differently. It was quite challenging as my kids were premature and fell sick often. I had to take leave to look after them, and I was measured on my attendance and not the outcome. I did lose on some of the great opportunities.
I handled this challenging time with determination and patience. For me, my family was important and job was my passion, I continued to work, changed my role to get flexibility, made arrangements at home, had a transparent discussion with the management and I could sail through.
When I look back, I feel happy that I have been successful at both family and professional front. Today, both my daughters, who are 20 now, are pursuing MBBS; interestingly, medicine is their dream too.
What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the industry?
A woman has innate qualities of patience and determination. Even a home makers job is not easy, a lady plays multiple roles. I think a woman can also take charge if situation demands.
As a woman employee, what are the benefits you think you have at Accenture
Accenture is indeed a people organization. I have seen and experienced a sense of equality—there are rarely any instance of a gender bias. I have seen many the leads putting their best efforts to support a woman employee when in need. Although the work is demanding, I have always been able to take time off. The team is supportive and I never had a sense of being burnt out.
How does Accenture groom you into becoming a leader?
I have learnt a lot by working closely with leaders at Accenture. Also, there are great training that I have registered for. I feel we get an ocean of opportunities; it is all up to us how we make the best use of it.
In terms of upskilling, how do you think Accenture is placed to meet future industry demands?
There is a lot of focus on upskilling people in the current role and grooming them to take on the next role. Accenture also offers opportunities for cross-skill training, industry-specific training as well as domain-specific training.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the industry? What do you wish you had known?
You need to look at challenges as opportunities to improve and grow. Life becomes monotonous without hurdles, enjoy every day and live it fully. Never give up, stay positive and always carry the “I can and I will” attitude.
I wish I had learnt some of these much earlier. Since I did not have many women leaders around me to look up to, I felt I am the only one going through tough situations. I had made up my mind to quit, but my mentor or manager and my husband stood by me, and did not let me quit.
Would you say from your own experience, that you’ve seen improvements in diversity over the years?
How did you balance work and your personal life?
I keep my personal and professional life separate. I have never taken back issues from office to home and did not come to work with baggage. I had support from colleagues and seniors as well as family to face tough situations at either work or home. I believe we should enjoy life at the fullest.
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