Takeda presidents wish to encourage feminine trade management
the canadian Ramona Sequeirapresident of the global portfolio division of the multinational Takeda, was the first woman to assume the chairmanship of PhRMA, the US pharmaceutical industry association. Now on maternity leave, the Brazilian Renata Campos was promoted to President of Emerging Markets at Takeda while still pregnant. 🇧🇷I was promoted pregnant to a position in Singapore🇧🇷 And they never asked how I was going to do it, they just celebrated with me.”
Having women in top leadership is something natural – and expected – for a global company whose team is made up mostly (52%) of women. “We operate in 80 countries around the world and the diversity is imperative for our business”, says Ramona, who leads a team of 10,000 employees. Today, 46% of Takeda’s leadership is female🇧🇷 But this scenario is far from representing the sector.
A study by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the world’s largest biotechnology trade association, shows that women make up 49% of the workforce in the industry, but representation declines at the highest levels of companies. Only 34% of executives and 20% of CEOs are women.
The paths to the presidency
During more than 25 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, Ramona has led businesses across multiple markets, cultures and healthcare systems. He has worked in Canada, the UK and Europe, moved to the US in 2013, where he lives today, and joined Takeda seven years ago to lead the US unit. Most recently, she helped complete the integration of pharmaceutical Shire, which Takeda acquired in 2019 in a $62 billion transaction.
Graduated in science and business, she was fascinated by the pharmaceutical universe in her first internship. “It impressed me to realize the impact we can have on people’s lives. I fell in love with the industry and never left.”
training pharmacist, Renata has been with the company for 17 years, where he started in 2005 as a product manager, and in a decade he reached the presidency in Brazil. She has also held leadership positions in Turkey, Argentina and led the Latin America region. “When I was invited to be general manager in Turkey, at the age of 36, no one questioned me because I was young, female or Brazilian, it was a natural thing.”
Now, she will be based in Singapore. Despite not having planned her career, she knew how to take advantage of all the opportunities that came her way. Ramona is also said to be terrible at career planning, and even assuming a top leadership role, she always preferred to stay behind the scenes. “What has helped me as I’ve moved up into leadership roles is that I like to take responsibility. I’m not afraid to be responsible for things.”
She also argues that the discomfort is part of professional growth🇧🇷 “You have to be willing to take on roles that make you a little uncomfortable. You don’t know how to do it, but you know you can learn and that you have people to help you.”
For more female leaders
On a predominantly male sectorRamona needed to create her own leadership model. “When I started, there weren’t many other women leaders🇧🇷 I had no examples of what good leadership looked like because the leaders were so different from me.”
When she joined PhRMA’s board in 2015, surrounded by male CEOs, it took time to understand that she belonged there and had the ability to influence decisions. “THE imposter syndrome comes every day, but it helps to keep me modest”, she says.
But she dribbles it around thinking of being a model for other women🇧🇷 “When you get to a certain point in your career and start mentoring young women, you realize you owe it to them to be comfortable in their own skin to show what good leadership looks like.”
The feeling of fraud also often plagues Renata, but the executives have been working to create an environment in which women can reach the top. “Company culture is very important to help create psychological safety and show women that they belong and can say exactly what they think.”
Takeda has mentoring programs aimed at women, female leadership projects that encourage professionals to network even outside the company, and a succession plan that takes into account metrics that include women. “We don’t just look at years of experience because many women enter the industry later. We go further and look at skills, potential and ambition,” says Ramona.