The qualities of Saraswati, Durga, and Laxmi are packed in today’s women, says Dr. Maya Sharma, Global Medical Director, Win Medicare on not limiting oneself and to keep experimenting

▴ Meet-Dr-Maya-Sharma-at-Medicircle-presents-Doctors-Speak-with-Smita-Kumar
“Science is always evolving and we try to be as close to the truth as possible. And only when we reach the truth can we say it is ultimate otherwise it will keep on evolving,” says Dr. Maya Sharma, Global Medical Director, Win Medicare.

The way we live has changed dramatically, most likely forever. For all of us and our children, there will be a pre- and post- COVID-19 world.

It has been eight months into the deadliest global pandemic of the century and pharmaceutical companies are working globally to combat COVID-19 and the healthcare systems have undergone and are still experiencing convulsive change and there are significant global efforts underway to diagnose, treat and prevent infections from the virus. 

Dr. Maya Sharma, Global Medical Director, Win Medicare is an M.D. A physician with 17 years of diversified experience across the healthcare spectrum like clinical, pharmaceutical, nutrition, and medical devices. She has recently been chosen as an executive board member of ACMA Asia and Advisory Board Member, Journal of Pharmacovigilance and Drug Research. She is a Healthcare strategic leader with over 1.5 decades of experience in clinical and pharmaceutical fields with the names like Philips, Albert, AstraZeneca attached to her name.

Win-Medicare today is amongst the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in India and is considered the undisputed leader in the select segment. Sourcing technologies, pharmaceutical, and healthcare products as well as Research and Development from the USA, Germany, and Switzerland, Win-Medicare has grown from strength to strength while pursuing its mission of fulfilling the healthcare needs of the country.

Motivation mantra - I am inferior to none

Dr. Maya explains in brief as to what drives her motivation, “I think I should start with my childhood. I had a very different kind of childhood. My younger and I were like best friends. So he used to pull me for all kinds of games though studies were a priority, we scored well. So I have played all kinds of games that boys used to play like football, cricket, hockey and even done wrestling with boys so that translated into me standing up for my near and dear ones in times of need and that gives me the motivation that I am inferior to none and that I can do anything that a boy or anybody else can do. After coming back to India from Russia from where I studied my MBBS, I cracked the exam in India in the first attempt.  We were only 6% medicos who passed. All these academy achievements taught me that I can do well if I put my mind and heart into something and can come out with flying colors. So all this gave me confidence. Once I planned to do this course in international business from IIM Calcutta. I was the only medico while all the others were from sales and marketing and business development backgrounds. I still did pretty well that even my professors remembered me. So all these titbits, acts of praise by my professors and teachers gave me that motivation that at times even if a role model is not available, you can become one. So I believe that you can do anything and can achieve everything just that one should make smart and responsible choices, put in all your efforts and if you're doing something, do it really well,” she says.

Do not limit yourself and keep experimenting

Dr. Maya throws light on her professional journey of 1.5 decades, “Though it's a cliched statement, I would say it has been an amazing journey. Because I have never tried to bind myself in some kind of boundaries that I can do this and I cannot do that. So as any doctor, I started off as a clinician. I was working with one of the chain hospitals which is Max Hospital in Delhi. But then I wanted to pursue something else which can give me more fulfillment. There were anxious nights when I was not able to decide where my passion lies, what I wanted to do because overall I was doing well - I was taking care of my patients, my seniors were very happy with my work, my clinical knowledge, and acumen. But somewhere I was not deriving that fulfillment. So there was this professor during one of our night duties, who asked me what's bothering me and I entrusted her with my anxiety and thoughts of making a change to hang up the stethoscope and move to something else like pharma or clinical research. So she told me that I am still young while there are people who are struggling with their jobs and trying to make a change at the age of 50 or 60 years and sometimes they retire to realize that they have still not done what they wished to do or followed their passion. She encouraged me to try out whatever I wanted to and said that if it didn't work, I could come back and they will welcome me with open arms. That was one counseling session and a statement of hers which made me jump into my next phase of life. This move was a paradigm shift into pharmaceuticals which later on moved onto medical nutrition then moved onto device and equipment. Currently, I'm working with pharma and handling their international platform. That is why my mantra has been to not limit yourself and keep experimenting, you know on the way you find your passion. But yes, whatever you're doing that you should try to do with your full heart and that will make you realize that nothing is impossible,” she says.

Knowledge sharing on national and international platforms 

Dr. Maya shares her experience of being invited as a speaker on national and international platforms, “I would say that God has been kind and I've been ambitious. I strongly believe that if one is privileged enough to pursue the knowledge or his chosen path of career then we should definitely spread the knowledge. There is a scarcity of the right kind of knowledge, information, or wisdom. So whatever has been my experience in these 17 years, nuances I have had of challenges and opportunities and what kind of skills are required, I love to share them with the youngsters or my peers and colleagues. On Aaj Tak, I was invited to share my knowledge on ‘why women have a lesser risk of COVID 19?’ So I gave them a medical perspective, whether it is because of the genes or the hormones, so it was a medical Nugget. Talking of Disruption Moments, which was a movement started by a group in Europe wherein they were inviting all the CEO, CXOs to express their views during corona times, during these disruption moments so what we can do, how we can apply our current knowledge to change so that we are able to sail through these times? So I gave examples of how the best of the business houses have emerged during the times of crisis in the past, how the best leaders hold the upscale, and motivate people during times of crisis. So in every negative situation, there is some positivity that we need to cling on to it and move on. Then Youth Transformation (UK),  we again tried to address the young, I would say the Instagram generation on how it's not just about education, but how our acquired values help us to find purpose in life. So there were a series of joint lectures on that and interacting with the young people, and addressing students,” she says.

Women entrepreneurship should be taken seriously

Dr. Maya believes that women are capable to support their families and in turn their nation by becoming entrepreneurs especially in the current crisis situation, they can understand their strengths and work with them in their favor, “During my various University sessions, I have been talking a lot about entrepreneurship, and in one of the universities I was specifically told to talk about whether women can take up entrepreneurship, whether they are cut out for it. And I specifically addressed that question by giving examples of Saraswati, Durga, and Laxmi. So I told them that these days if we see the percentage of girls studying is increasing. If we see the statistics of how the girls are faring in schools and Colleges, then it's awesome to know that girls are actually outperforming boys. If you take out the 10th and 12th board results, girls are outshining the boys. The same goes for a college education if they are able to achieve that. Secondly, when we talk about all these academic achievements, I say, that is the time the girls and women personify Saraswati, they acquire and display that knowledge. When we talk about Durga, we are taking care of our loved ones, we are fighting against the societies for our children, making sure that you know our near and dear ones are safe. That's how we personify Durga and I said that this is high time that we personify Laxmi. You know we should not hold ourselves at just acquiring the knowledge but how we can convert that knowledge and contribute to an add up to the productivity of the nation. So it is very important, especially in current times like this crisis, when people are losing their jobs, women can apply their brains and understand their current skills or maybe acquire some skills through online courses available to support their family, support the society and in turn, support the nation. Just imagine if a 50 person workforce or 50% additional GDP adds up, you know what can happen to the growth of that nation,” she says.

‘Survival of the Fittest’

Dr. Maya suggests that there is still a lot to be hopeful for as India is a country of 1.3 billion people, “Even if we focus on healthcare or overall providing jobs and career opportunities to these 1.3 billion people, the technology required, the kind of resources required, upgrading and skill enhancement, etc has a lot of scope at different levels to provide equal opportunities and resources to these 1.3 billion people. So that is why this is the time to think about the products and services for these 1.3 billion people, see how technology can be embraced and used in different spheres, whether it is healthcare or retail business or any other spheres. So by embracing these changes and by finding the positivity we can inculcate that adaptable skill among people and make them realize that instead of just waiting for better times or the earlier times to come back, the best policy is to adapt to this new change. Even in biology, we say - ‘Survival of the Fittest’ which means it is not the strongest or the most intelligent of the species which survives, but the one which is adaptable to change. So this is the time you should think that you have to change whether it is in terms of your education, acquiring anything new, think that your transferable skills can be used in newer kinds of jobs, how you can network, collaborate and come up with something new so all these things have to be kept in mind. We also need to support our people as I see a lot of mental health issues arising because of the anxiety and people losing either their near and dear ones or their jobs which is disheartening and disappointing. But again, I would say that it is in times of crisis that the best qualities in people emerge. The best companies emerge. And newer leaders emerge who can make a sale out of these kinds of crises. So that's why we should be hopeful,” she says.

Adapting to the change and inspiring each other

Dr. Maya throws light on the matter, “I remember the earlier news when Coronavirus was spreading in India and we did not have a single PPE suit, from that time to within a few months the DRDO, which is the defense research organization took up this task and they started working on it along with other collaborators and within a few months we were manufacturing and now exporting PPE suits. So that is how we have adapted and we can inspire each other. If we see the education systems, the Indian teachers were considered to not be tech-savvy but they have adapted to technology and have learned to take online classes and engage their students which is really appreciable. Similarly, the way the doctors engage with their patients has changed as there was very little footfall in the hospitals as the patients were not visiting due to the fear of infection. But the doctors and some technology companies like Practo and others have taken up in terms of Tele counseling which is very admirable. Another example is online shopping, data shows that 50 - 70% of people, especially the elderly, admitted that they have done online shopping for the first time in their lives. So yes, if they are a little agile, we can change, we can overcome the current crisis and actually become a better version of ourselves. So that is what I strongly believe as an individual as a society and as a nation, we have to change because we know this is the new normal and unprecedented times require unprecedented efforts,” she says.

Truth is eternal, knowledge is changeable

Dr. Maya shares her thoughts with the readers, “I would just like to share a small story, we all have heard about Galileo who invented the telescope and started studying the universe. His first realization, which he shared with people, was that - We know that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West, which means Earth is the center of the universe and the Sun is rising and setting, which means it is revolving around the Earth. But he said no, this is not true. It is the Sun actually which is the center of the universe and it is the Earth which is revolving around it. But he was criticized a lot and a lot of people were offended, the Church said that he was against what the church was preaching and that he was lying, unfortunately, he was even murdered because of this. But much later people found out what he said was the ultimate truth. So we need to understand today that truth is eternal, knowledge is changeable, so from the recent context of the Coronavirus, vaccines, and medicines we have heard so much about remdesivir, dexamethasone, and whether plasma is working or not. So I wanted to answer the questions of the many that how come there is conflicting news on the same medicine or vaccine, how is it possible? Science is always evolving and we try to be as close to the truth as possible. And only when we reach the truth we can say it is ultimate otherwise it will keep on evolving. How medicine has evolved overall from the nascent stages to date and the speed at which the paradigm shift has happened at the corona times has never happened earlier. We are just adding small bits of information and knowledge to science today, there is nothing that is concrete, it is all work in progress. So we should understand this and help the evolution of science and not politicize science and one-day science will certainly do well,” she says.

Edited By- Rabia Mistry Mulla


Contributed By: Dr. Maya Sharma, Global Medical Director, Win Medicare
Tags : #Doctorsadvice #medicircle #doctorsspeakwithsmitakumar #smitakumar #smitasahaykumar #mayasharma #winmedicare #globalmedicaldirector #womenentrepreneur #womenmotivation #pharmaceuticals #Doctors-Speak

About the Author

Rabia Mistry Mulla

'For vessels to change their course, they have to be hit by a strong wind first!'
So here I am penning down my thoughts on health and research after 6 years of planning Diets.
Being a Clinical Dietitian & a Diabetes Educator I always had a thing for writing, alas, been hit by the winds towards a new course!
You can write to me at [email protected]

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