Zubin Daruwalla - Health Industries Leader - PwC Singapore
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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.
Micahel Murray 0:52
Zubin, thank you very much for being a part of In the boardroom.
Zubin Daruwalla 0:56
Michael Murray 0:57
Very interested in your background, from the clinical side to the commercial side. Can you tell our viewers about your career over the past 10 or 15 years?
Zubin Daruwalla 1:05
Sure. Well, I guess I started off as an orthopedic surgeon, it was something I always wanted to do for for various reasons. And over time, what I realized is, when you’re a clinician, whether it’s an orthopedic surgeon or another specialty, you really are helping one person at a time. And while I’ve always believed, and I still believe that that job satisfaction is unparalleled, I wanted to make a bigger difference and realize that when it comes to policies, organizational structures and improving systems, you can’t do that just as a as a single clinician. So I started exploring other opportunities.
Michael Murray 1:46
And why healthcare from the very start?
Zubin Daruwalla 1:48
That’s a great question. As cliche as it might sound, I genuinely believe that healthcare is just different. You know, a lot of my colleagues say, well, financial services are different oil and gas is different. But when it comes to health care, it’s something very, very personal when you might argue that your credit card number, your social security number personal as well. But in the health space, you know, your physical, your mental well being your, your health data, what’s inside you is really something quite private, that isn’t comparable to other information.
Micahel Murray 2:24
And do you actually remember the moment that you wanted to make the transition? What was there something that triggered that transition?
Zubin Daruwalla 2:32
Yes, actually, there was. There were really three things that happened in Singapore. So I think the overarching principle was burnout. And it’s funny because a lot of people have been talking about burnout. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the WHO, the World Health Organization has actually formally recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon and not going to include it in the ICD-11, which is the International Classification of Diseases and this is something that traditionally has always been underplayed in the health environment, it’s certainly more on the clinician front rather than as an executive. And I realized that I was actually getting burnt out and I wanted to do something about it. Now. I didn’t transition because of that that was a big factor. But it really comes back to that first reason I was mentioning to you that overall, I realized, if I want to make a bigger difference, I have to do something differently. I don’t want to just make a difference one patient at a time, but because that satisfaction is unparalleled, at least for me. It’s something I never wanted to give up. So I continue to practice medicine, and I hope to continue to practice medicine throughout my career.
Micahel Murray 3:52
Let’s stay on that burnout issue just for a second. How do you deal with that? Now you felt that? Are there ways or methods that you’ve implemented into your lifestyle? Now to avoid that?
Zubin Daruwalla 4:03
I’d like to think so. I think when when it comes down to it overall, you have to realize that everyone has to have a work life balance. That’s the general principle. And it’s difficult, especially in Asia. You know, I’ve worked in Ireland, I’ve worked in the UK, I’ve been to Australia, I’ve worked in the US and Singapore. And I have to say one thing that I’ve noticed in Asia and not just in healthcare, generally we work too hard. And people don’t take a step back and realize, hey, I need a balance. So I think the first thing is awareness and understanding that look, it’s important to have a balance. And then really, I think it comes down to your organization and you at an individual level. How do you strike that balance? From what I’ve seen a lot of organizations are addressing burnout, they are realizing that they have to look after the people and So there are initiatives organizations put in. But ultimately, you have to spend some time relaxing, really relaxing, finding a hobby. And again, I know it sounds cliche, right, but you know, doing something outside of your work spending time with your family and friends completely switch off. So, I mean, one example that, that I’ve promised myself to do is, for a period of time, every day when I come back, phone actually off. You know, our organization does promote having to phones or work mobile or personal mobile, a lot of people don’t like that. I actually think it’s very good because it allows you to separate things. If you are needed urgently, someone can still call you on your, on your personal mobile. But at the end of the day, I think this is an initiative and a belief that has to come from the top. If it doesn’t come from the top, if you know, you see a boss working really late. You know, a lot of the time previously, my team would always say you always ask us to, to get home and spend time but we see you sending emails that 123 in the morning, and it made me realize that actually that’s that’s a fair point. And I think you have to understand that, as a leader, you need to kind of set that example and then it filters down.
Micahel Murray 6:21
Tell me when a project went wrong for you and how you rectify that situation.
Zubin Daruwalla 6:27
Then the project ran as any project would. Come the delivery day. One of the first things the group CEO says is this is not what I asked for well, and was quite taken aback.