The Power of Resilience And A Story of Perseverance
Dr. Leena is a highly accomplished medical professional with a background in biochemistry. She completed her MBBS from VSS Medical College and her MD in Biochemistry from SCB Medical College, both of which are well-renowned government medical colleges in Odisha.
Dr. Leena hails from Odisha and comes from a family of medical professionals. Her father, Dr. Raghunath Dash, was a doctor and the Director of Medical Education and Training for the government of Odisha, while her mother, Mrs. Mamata Dash, is a renowned, award-winning author. Her husband is a banker and her son is a professional in the USA, while her daughter is currently in 12th grade.
After completing her MD, Dr. Leena ventured into the corporate sector and worked with reputed hospitals and diagnostics in Chennai and Bangalore. She began her career in 1999 as an Assistant Professor in Biochemistry at SRMC Chennai, where she was a medical faculty teaching MBBS and MD students. However, her career took a turning point in 2003 when she joined Apollo Hospitals Chennai as a Consultant Biochemist, marking her first shift into Clinical Laboratories, which would become her passion.
She highlighted that moving from a doctor’s teaching profession or a clinical laboratory scientist to an administrative role was never easy and presented a lot of challenges. She noted that she did not have a roadmap or a senior to guide her through the transition. However, she learned from observing leaders in the field and her own experience that the patient and laboratory samples are of utmost importance. In Bangalore, Dr. Leena took on various leadership roles such as Head of Laboratory, Lab Director, Regional Operations Head, Regional Business Head, and Senior Medical Director. Notably, she was the only doctor selected for the position of Regional Business Head for South at SRL, a significant shift in her career.
Throughout her career, Dr. Leena has led various teams, including lab technicians, doctors, sales and marketing, corporate sales, and IIM graduates in healthcare. She is known for her leadership style, and her focus on patient care and quality in lab diagnostics has always been her primary goal, and this has led to her success in her endeavors. Dr. Leena has faced several challenges throughout her career, particularly when she chose to take the path less traveled by opting for the corporate sector in Clinical Laboratories. However, she has triumphed over these challenges through her dedication, hard work, and willingness to learn.
According to Dr. Leena, women face several challenges at the workplace, including conscious and unconscious biases, unequal pay, cultural issues, and lack of senior management opportunities. To achieve a more prominent role in their organizations, women need to first overcome these biases. Dr. Leena suggests that women should be assertive, learn to negotiate, and put forth their views clearly with evidence. Dr. Leena believes that corporates need to make more efforts to bridge the gap and create a more inclusive and supportive environment for women. She suggests implementing support systems such as child care, networking events for women, POSH committees, social skill workshops, and emotional support groups as some possible initiatives. She emphasizes that celebrating Women’s Day once a year is not enough, and every organization should focus more on empowering women, as the country’s economic growth depends on more working women.
Dr. Leena has received several awards and accolades in recognition of her contributions to the field of medical diagnostics. She has been honored as the “Best Laboratory Professional” by the Indian Medical Association and has also received the “Excellence in Healthcare” award from the National Healthcare Association. Dr. Leena is also an active member of several professional organizations and is involved in research and publications in her field. She has published several articles in reputable journals and has presented her research at various conferences and symposiums. These achievements and activities showcase her commitment and dedication to her field and continuous efforts to improve the healthcare industry.
Dr. Leena stressed that healthcare professionals have a responsibility to patients, which is especially crucial for those in administrative positions in large medical facilities. She transitioned to a role where she can make decisions that have a direct impact on patients’ lives and finds satisfaction in being meticulous and passionate about her work.
Dr. Leena’s message is to do what you love, navigate through disappointments and success, be professional, never give up on your dreams, and stay optimistic. As a woman leader, she advises developing a support system, building a strategic network, and keeping up with current trends for success in the professional sector.