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Heidrick & Struggles' "Journey to the Top - Female Leadership Forum "


Firm Brings Together Senior Business Leaders to Foster Female Leadership in China Life Sciences


SHANGHAI, March 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Raising industry standards and driving diverse leadership in the life sciences sector was the theme of a recent leadership forum by Heidrick & Struggles (Nasdaq: HSII), a premier provider of executive search and leadership consulting services. The event, held March 17 in Shanghai, brought together elite business leaders in China's healthcare sector to explore how to develop and nurture the next generation of female business leaders.


The leadership forum was attended by more than 140 participants, including country heads and senior HR leaders from leading life sciences companies. Serving as a platform for leading women to share their experience of rising to the top in China, the event was also attended by 25 MBA students from the China Europe International Business School and more than 80 high-potential employees selected by the attending companies. The goal was to provide up-and-coming professionals with invaluable advice from experts in business, government and academia.

"Improving gender diversity in the healthcare and life sciences sector will bring forward new ideas that will allow organizations to better face some of the major industry shifts underway," commented Jimson Cheng, Regional Practice Managing Partner for the firm's Healthcare & Life Sciences Practice, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

In her opening address, Dr. Danlong Feng, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Corporate Affairs Director of Pfizer China, introduced key trends in the healthcare industry in China. She provided insights on the issues at the top of the agenda at the 2018 National People's Congress (NPC) & Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Annual Legislative and Political Advisory Sessions for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry in China. Dr. Feng also emphasized the contributions female professionals have made for the development of China's Social Science Industry over the past 30 years.

Lessons from Leaders in Life Sciences

Several female thought leaders in the China's healthcare sector shared insights on the importance of gender parity in the life sciences sector, including:

  • Gaining experience managing complex, world-leading global organizations – and working across different cultures – will be invaluable for female leaders in China's life sciences sector as the industry in China further consolidates and becomes more international. Equally, in-country experience is a great asset for aspiring female leaders at the sector's top global players.
  • Key qualities women, and all senior executives, need for a successful career in the top echelons of the life sciences sector are: the ability to collaborate and build consensus; compassion; a sense of purpose and principles; and the habits of a lifelong learner.
  • Life sciences companies increasingly recognize the need for flexibility to attract and retain female managers. For example, some will encourage women executives to join meetings by video conference in lieu of travel to meetings and have created special programs for working mothers.
  •  Mentors and positive influences are everywhere. They aren't just at the top of the organization, but among peers and throughout the team.

In his keynote speech, Harry Kraemer, former CEO of Baxter International, Kellogg School of Management professor and author of From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership, stressed the importance of self-reflection, balance and perspective, true confidence and genuine humility in delivering outstanding, long-lasting results for female leaders in China.

China Poised for Growing Women Talent Pool at the Top

There are positive signs of a growing talent pool, suggesting Chinese life sciences sector is in a strong position to guide more women into top positions. In fact, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics' gender parity index for women in Chinese tertiary education now exceeds 1.0 – the threshold for equality – having been far below that level less than 10 years earlieri.

"Over the years, female professionals have played a major role in improving healthcare standards in China, and bringing in women's voices at the senior-most levels of organizations will only help to drive better decisions, and more innovation and progress in the sector," added Jonathan Zhu, the forum organizer and Partner, Life Science and Government Affairs Practice, Heidrick & Struggles.

The event was attended by country heads, senior HR leaders and colleagues from leading life sciences companies including Alcon, Allergan China, AstraZeneca China, Bayer Greater China, Baxter International, Eli Lilly and Company, GSK, Johnson & Johnson China, Karl Storz Endoscopy Shanghai Ltd, Roche Pharma China, Novo Nordisk and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, China.

About Heidrick & Struggles
Heidrick & Struggles (NASDAQ: HSII) serves the executive talent and leadership needs of the world's top organizations as a premier provider of leadership consulting, culture-shaping and senior-level executive search services. Heidrick & Struggles pioneered the profession of executive search more than 60 years ago. Today, the firm serves as a trusted advisor, providing integrated leadership solutions and helping its clients change the world, one leadership team at a time.


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