Teena Pisarev - CEO ASEAN Region -Icon SOC
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Many aspire to reach the upper echelon of the healthcare industry, but few are able to successfully navigate the corporate ladder. As Asia becomes the world epicenter of the healthcare industry, C-Suite Partners sits down with international healthcare executives asking the tough questions and unpacking the personalities of the top industry leaders.
Welcome to the boardroom.
Michael Murray 0:34
Teena, thank you for joining C-Suite Partners In The Boardroom.
Teena Pisarev 0:36
Pleasure to be here. Thanks for the opportunity
Michael Murray 0:38
So talk me through your career to date.
Teena Pisarev 0:41
Well, it’s a really unusual journey. I’ve bounced all over the place in healthcare. It’s really ecliptic started in pathology, radiology been hospitals through always taken every opportunity as it came and ended up with me being here in a regional CEO role. And I think it’s the best thing ever.
Michael Murray 0:58
With regards to your career. Did you have a crossroads moment where you thought about, am I gonna stick with healthcare or am I gonna stick with the executive lifestyle? Can you talk me through that?
Teena Pisarev 1:09
Yeah, I think I’ve probably had two or three of my last one as a become a mother 15 years ago, for the first time. I think, you know, you you had that moment where you think can I do all this at once and I was very fortunate to have a good support mechanism. So I stuck to the path and and I realigned my priorities a little bit to be able to manage professional and work life. I think the second one would have been making the decision to uproot the whole family within was a 13 year old and an 18 month old to move from Australia to here to Singapore.
Michael Murray 1:40
You’ve been quite a success story in Asia, for your business. What advice would you give a female and leadership coming into the Asia market? What do they need to look out for and I suppose uplift their skill set within.
Teena Pisarev 1:55
I think if there was a dummies guide to starting as a CEO and healthcare analyst in Asia, it would have to be really, really set up a good network. So when you come in you have I came in as a quiet wide-eyed, experienced health executive. But there was so much I learned from day one around culture away things have done how business is done. Or you do need to prove yourself as a female CEO here, you know, there is not a range of them dropping out of the trees, like all the other areas, it’s improving. But you know, when I walk into a meeting, often my finance manager is still addressed thinking that he’s the CEO not. And so for me, it was just building that by delivering by following up being innovative. So if I was a new executive, and a female coming into Southeast Asia, I would connect to those that are already here, reach out to a network and be a sponge and learn about everything you can, but also wouldn’t hesitate you can succeed and you just need to have tenacity and authenticity.
Michael Murray 2:53
And if you went back 10, 15 years and started your career as you became an executive, would you go back in potentially ask for more help, or you’re pretty happy that you were the type of person that did reach out for advice?
Teena Pisarev 3:06
I’m not a shrinking wallflower, so I think anyone who’s worked with me knows that I’m not the quietest one in the room. But I think what I would have done is probably asked for a little bit more help when I felt I couldn’t before I had confidence. So at the very start of my career, even further than 10 years, when you’re sitting in a room and you’re in awe of the executives that are there and leading big organisations, you can be a little frozen in yourself to ask, Can I do that? Or can I be involved in that project? So although I’ve sort of evolved quite quickly, and got those skills, I think right at the start, I would have pushed myself to actually be involved in more ask for more project work because with that is how I got a really rounded resume.
Michael Murray 3:46
What about the question, MBA versus real-life experience. I get that a lot from clients who talk to me about you must have an MBA, if you want to be good at this particular role and others are very much focused on 25 years of proving themselves. What do you say to that?
Teena Pisarev 4:01
Well, I don’t have an MBA, I have an undergraduate business marketing/Hr double. In my career, I felt I couldn’t stop to do the MBA I had to keep going to progress and so I tried to put in short courses, which advice one of my mentors gave me was do the course that you need now and layer it to make sure that you keep projecting forward and achieving what you need to do. Most of them are the courses straight out of the MBA, but man, I didn’t commit to one particular size fits all because my projects are my needs were changing. I think study versus experience comes down to the person. The person is a performer and I’ve got a background of experience and on the table that can be just as effective in the role of someone who’s got an MBA and learned it from textbooks.
Michael Murray 4:42
Just going back to, I suppose the culture differences of doing business in Asia, what would your advice before directly dealing with the client in the Asia market?
Teena Pisarev 4:53
I was very lucky. I had very focus, I guess a lot of focus and a great respect for relationship building. When I was working in Australia kind of a cornerstone of my leadership style, that is 150 times more important here in Asia. The relationship, the ability to connect interpersonally with people to do business is really, really important. Sometimes it’s family businesses that you need to actually work with the entire family to get them to come across. Or sometimes it’s around long-term continual touchpoints. So that they get to know and trust, you know, one of the first questions I had was, where do you live, so they wanted to know, that wasn’t a fly in fly out that you actually moved in down here and committed, we need to learn about the culture of how you hold business cards to how you actually presented a meeting, make sure that the ladies have somewhere to put their handbags, because the highest of the chairman’s here in Asia, if they’re a female won’t put the handbags on the ground. Yes. Something in Australia, we tend to, you know, chuck them all over the place. Yes. Making sure that you actually follow up is really important. They like a follow-up email post every time but you’ve seen them to recognize the effort that they made. So I think for me, there’s real tangible ways to connect relationship with them. And some of that stuff, you can actually then take back into the Australian setting about how to improve relationships back there, because I think how long is it since anyone’s ever done a hand Thank-you note to someone, catching up in the Australian business where we do it all here all the time in Asia.
Michael Murray 6:16
And what about your career legacy, how would you like to be remembered?
Teena Pisarev 6:19
One thing I’m the most proud of is that people that have worked with me, also around me have actually gone on to do other things. So I’ve done what people have done for me the identify talent and help them get to their potential. So for me, it’s really refreshing that people seek out and want to come and work with me, or that they actually asked me for advice on the next career, etc. So for me, hopefully approachable, but also an environment in which helps others succeed.
Michael Murray 6:45
Teena, thank you very much for spending time with C-Suite Partners In The Boardroom.
Teena Pisarev 6:47
My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Michael Murray 6:50
Thanks for your time.