Having worked in the Healthcare industry for more than 2 decades, I am blessed to have identified my goals and aspirations at the very early stage of my career. As a Biochemistry major, I started off working at a lab as a quality specialist. I soon came to the realization that as much as I enjoyed being immersed in the world of science, being able to have close interaction with people and making impacts that matter to them, was what I really long for in a work environment. As naïve as it may seem now that I looked back, it was this modest idea that motivated me to take a leap of faith and landed on the business side of healthcare, where I started to bring people of various functions together and deliver the best available options to patients.
It is also with this idea, that I have always been cautious on how my decision or behavior as a leader might affect others, as I am a firm believer that, leadership is not defined by one’s title or position, but their ability to inspire others with their actions. Throughout my journey at Merck, I have seen and worked with leaders of all kinds, and I think it is fair to conclude that, leaders who are willing to help and inspire their team members find their intrinsic motivation and bring out the best in them as they work towards a common goal, are usually also the ones who deliver the optimal outcome for the organization in terms of business interests. Of course, not everyone shares the same method and approach of doing so, and I’m glad that there are a few role models at Merck whom I’ve followed closely while shaping my own leadership style.
Three leadership lessons I’ve learnt at Merck
I have always carried the 3 learnings with me as I progress and take on different roles. Whether it is relocating to a different country or being exposed to a whole new area that I have little reference of, I find theses learnings helpful. After all, it is the people that your surround yourself with that get you where you are today. A leader is the one that is able to have people willingly follow them to achieve one common vision that all of them believed in, and creating the environment where everyone can thrive together, is the only way that will get you far.
Five Pieces of Advice for the Next Generation of Leaders
It should be aggregable to all that if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that change is the only constant in life. We are living in a world full of uncertainty, challenging the norms and what we used to rely on to comprehend how things are constructed. One positive aspect of this is that, those who are only entering the workforce now and those who are in their early career stage could be far better equipped and agile than us in operating in a VUCA world. Whilst they might have different ideas and expectations of leadership given such experience, there are a few traits that I believe will remain the core of people-oriented leadership style:
Good leaders come from all walks of life and there’s no one set of principles that defines good leadership. It is through constant reflection, adjustment, and high-level of self-awareness that one gradually grows into the leader that they set to become. It is a never-ending learning journey and also the most rewarding one. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Boonhuey Ee is currently the General Manager of Merck Biopharma Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
She started with Merck in 2004 and brings with her over two decades of experience in the Healthcare industry, and over 15 years in Oncology. Boonhuey has in-depth knowledge of local and regional markets, and extensive exposure in various other complex healthcare environments.
Prior to assuming her current role, she was the Country President of Merck Malaysia, and had a four-year stint in China’s challenging environment, where she built the Oncology team to successfully showcase impressive performance levels and doubling on previous revenues. She was a member of the Global Oncology Leadership team instrumental in driving commercial and development in Oncology. In her previous role as APAC Oncology Regional franchise head based in Singapore she was responsible for 12 markets within Asia Pacific.
Boonhuey has strong business acumen and is a firm believer in the power of teamwork and collaboration. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, where she plays an active role in the Global Action team focusing on Women in Leadership (WiL), and co-founded the Asia Chapter in 2019.
She has worked in companies like GSK and Bayer prior to Merck and had attended executive and leadership programs in London Business School, INSEAD and CEIBS.