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Celebrating Women at John Bell & Croyden

To celebrate International Women's Day, we spoke to some incredibly inspiring women working at John Bell & Croyden.

Meet Reshma Malde, our Superintendent Pharmacist and Cheng Cheng, our Brand Manager, as we learn some more about their career, highlights and challenges.

Cheng Cheng, Brand Manager

Can you tell us about your career journey so far?

Of course! After graduating Uni with a major in Japanese, I moved to Tokyo for a marketing internship at a real estate start up. It was a very enriching experience where I gained comprehensive insights into various aspects of the business, but what I enjoyed consistently were the aspects of the branding and coming up with creative strategies for campaigns. Once my internship ended, I decided to move to the UK for a new adventure and took over a Marketing Designer role for a Summer School catering to international students in Cambridge to refine my marketing and branding skills - an opportunity that served as a stepping stone to my current position as Brand Manager at John Bell & Croyden. Looking back, it has been a very dynamic and rewarding journey!

What is the biggest factor that supported your career success?

Personally, perseverance and self-belief were the pillars that kept me resilient and focused during challenging times. I remember coming across a survey made public by Harvard showing how women only apply for a job once they feel 100% qualified compared to their male counterparts who may apply at 60%. This insight has been so valuable during moments of self-doubt or imposter syndrome and has pushed me to pursue opportunities outside of my comfort zone even if I’m not feeling fully prepared. I must also add an honourable mention to the guidance from my managers and peers who have supported me through this professional growth.

"Women can contribute by actively celebrating each other's successes"

How do you think should women support other women in an organisation?

I believe in the importance of building a culture of mutual empowerment and support. Women can contribute by actively celebrating each other's successes and advocating for equal opportunities; where there is competition, let’s encourage a healthy and collaborative one where achievements are recognized, and accomplishments are shared. We can set examples everyday by staying kind to each other and speaking up against any form of gender bias.

How do you maintain a good mental health when you are in a busy period at work?

I always start my day with a to-do list; it helps me visualise the tasks and allocate my time accordingly. Taking short breaks is key too – stepping away and coming back with a fresh mind is a great way to maintain focus. No matter how busy it gets, it's all about finding that work-life balance to avoid getting too absorbed, so I make sure to set some boundaries and tackle the chaos with a bit more ease – it's about putting things into perspective! And when things get overwhelming, I'm not shy about asking for help or sharing the load with my team.

Reshma Malde, Superintendent Pharmacist

Can you tell us more about your job?

I’ve been with John Bell & Croyden for the last ten years. My role as a Superintendent is making sure that the clinical governance and standards within our pharmacy are absolutely appropriate for the customers that come in to ensure their safety and wellbeing. My job is to support the team to deliver professional and clinical standards of care to patients as set out by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

What led you to a career in healthcare?

I was truly inspired by the health professionals who looked after me when I suffered from severe childhood asthma, and I wanted to make a difference just like they did for me. It’s a very rewarding job, and I love the impact that I can play in our patients’ lives. Community pharmacists are also unique among healthcare professionals due to the accessibility to patients, which provides the opportunity to do more than dispense medications or counsel. It enables us to address their health needs, scares and concerns, which is something that the pandemic has truly amplified.

"You always have the privilege to learn and evolve"

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

The autonomy to make decisions that I feel are right for our community and business, particular those that have an impact on our patients and their safety. And as importantly, the variety of new and enriching opportunities I am exposed to within my role on a daily basis. I feel like I get to learn something new every day, which is something that I truly embrace. The pandemic specifically has propelled the role of the pharmacist to change drastically and we have been able to branch out to learn so many new skills to support our customer base, for example testing and vaccinations. As a pharmacist I feel you always have the privilege to learn and evolve.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career? What would you say are the highlights?

I would say that being an Asian woman and the traditional conservative background that it comes with has been challenging, as so often you see gender stereotypes shaping the careers of women from similar backgrounds. But conversely, one of my major highlights has been breaking through and moulding my career path by the help of so many inspirational people who I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from.

"Building a culture that celebrates flexible working will help foster many opportunities"

Have you encountered any barriers to your success as a female leader?

I have been lucky from the point of graduating in that I’ve had the privilege of excellent mentors who have supported my personal and professional development which has opened opportunities for to get me to where I am today. Our role as pharmacists is not only to respond to the changing environment but to also drive change, and central to that is building a culture of learning to support others to develop and improve their competence as frontline practitioners, and for me that is something that luckily has always been accessible.

Studies show that women represent close to 70% of the global workforce but make up less than 20% of leadership roles. What can the healthcare industry do to change this?

One of the biggest things is looking at what each individual has to offer in terms of experience and expertise, rather than their gender. There is so much diverse talent out there, and I feel that making workplaces more receptible to women’s needs can also help push things forward – adopting a flexible approach so that women can balance work and life responsibilities will result in you getting the best performance of women. We have a clear opportunity to grasp this at the moment and I think that building a culture that celebrates flexible working will help foster many opportunities.

"Be brave enough to get it wrong"

What is the best advice you've ever received and what would you tell other women who are just starting a career in healthcare?

The best advice I've received is to be brave enough to get it wrong - success will follow. To those who are just starting a career in healthcare - Dream big. There are so many women who have shown we can make it.