Growing a pool of talent for emerging markets

With increasing prosperity in the emerging markets, there is also a growing demand for high-quality healthcare. In order to tap into this huge potential, we promote talents with both emerging and developed markets experience.

Aiming to expand the pool of qualified candidates, Roche has created the Emerging Markets Leadership Acceleration Programme (EM LAP). The EM LAP is a rotational programme which offers a wide range of experience: Talents from emerging markets will move to mature markets and vice-versa. Says Jörg-Michael Rupp, Head Latin America, Roche Pharma: “Working in emerging markets offers opportunities to innovate and to learn and build skills through volatile and ambiguous environments. On the other hand, experience in developed markets offers access to best practices, established frameworks and expertise in long-term planning.”

Employees from around the world who have moved to, or come from, emerging markets speak about the challenges faced, great experiences and lessons learned along the way.

A rewarding journey

Tanya Monga, Business Unit Head Oncology, Colombia

The picture shows Tanya, Business Unit Head Oncology, Colombia  and her husband. Originally from Canada, they moved from Basel to to Bogotá in November 2015
Originally from Canada, Tanya moved from Switzerland to Bogotá with her husband.

“I am originally from Canada. I joined Roche in 2009 in Professional Diagnostics as Business Development Manager in Rotkreuz. I moved to Basel after that in 2011 working in the office of the CEO of Diagnostics as Strategic Project Leader. A year later, I took on another role in Pharma as the Head of the Pharma Program Office/CEO office where I worked for three years. I moved to Bogotá in November 2015 with my husband. He was a key factor in the decision to come here and I am lucky that we share an adventurous spirit. We were concerned about the change because he didn’t have a job lined up in Colombia, but it has been an amazing experience and we recently even adopted a puppy!

One needs to be open-minded and embrace the new culture. It is incredible to meet new people and learn about new types of food, history, politics, and not to mention healthcare systems. Every effort to learn the language in advance pays off. Challenges are normal like getting used to cultural differences around time management and things getting lost in translation. The key is to be humble, learn and take advantage of the opportunity to reflect and grow as a person and leader.”

EJ Jiang, Clinical Specialist (field sales), USA

The picture shows EJ Jiang, Clinical Specialist, with his wife and  four-year-old son. El Jiang participated in the Emerging Markets Leadership Acceleration Program and started an assignment in Genentech in  San Francisco. The three of them are currently based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
From Shanghai to San Francisco and Little Rock: EJ Jiang with his family.

“I joined Roche Shanghai in 2013. In June 2015, I had the opportunity to participate in the Emerging Markets Leadership Acceleration Program and started my assignment in Genentech. My first rotation was marketing in San Francisco and I’m currently in my second rotation based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

This programme provides a unique opportunity to absorb, reflect and gain best practices in mature markets and make the experience applicable in my home country. Genentech has built many specialised functions to bring expertise to customers and many of these roles are not available in emerging markets like China.

I am here with my wife and four-year-old son. It’s vital to have their support as this is not just about a career change, but also a huge life change. And my wife had veto power in the final decision!” 

Ana Mladenovic, Market Access Project Manager, France

The picture shows Ana Mladenovic, Market Access Project Manager, who is currently  based in France.
Ana is living in France since 2015.

“I am from Serbia and am based in France currently. After qualifying to be a doctor in 2006, I started my career in Roche Serbia. I worked as a Product Manager and then Franchise Manager in different therapeutic areas for six years. After that, I became Medical Manager in Rheumatology. In 2014, I moved to Basel on a short-term assignment as Project Manager for a regional EEMEA (Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa) project. This was my first international experience. While working on this project, I was chosen for the EM LAP Programme. I have now been in France since April 2015.

The amount of new things I have learnt in my two assignments is enormous. The EM LAP Programme is a great opportunity to speed up your learning, acquire new skills and build yourself as a person capable of understanding the challenges of both emerging and mature markets and to deal with them using the experience of both.”

Sannah Nyamathe, EEMEA Regional Credit Manager, Switzerland

The picture shows Sannah Nyamathe, Regional Credit Manager, with her 15-year old daughter.
Sannah Nyamathe came to work in Basel with her daughter in 2015 from South Africa.

“Moving away from home was exciting and frightening. It brought with it all kinds of issues—loneliness, cultural differences, learning the language and understanding new ways of doing things.

I have two children, a son (21) and a daughter (15). My son is in university and so only my daughter could move with me. My concern was about my daughter as she was going to be away from her brother, friends and immediate family. She is settling in well.

I started in Roche in 2012 and was responsible for accounts receivable for our South African business, including the direct exports to subregion Namibia.

I moved to Basel in 2015. My motivation behind taking on this role was to learn more about credit management and the direct market business. Working at headquarters will provide me with an experience that is both unique and substantial.

Once you’re here, you learn who everybody is and what they do, starting with your direct colleagues and the key players within the business. And, it is not a weakness to ask for help.” 

Iqbal Mufti, Business Unit Director Specialty Care, Egypt

The picture shows Iqbal Mufti, Business Unit Director — Specialty Care, Egypt, who moved to Cairo with his wife and three children.
After a decade in the U.S., Iqbal and his family moved to Cairo.

“I am originally from Kashmir, grew up in London and then spent over a decade in the U.S. before my current role. I joined Roche in the U.S. and started in positions in marketing and brand management before moving to Roche Partnering where I spent six years.

Currently, I’m accountable for sales and marketing for non-oncology products in Egypt. My motivation for this assignment was to get closer to the business and the customer and return to the commercial organisation. Emerging markets are dynamic, complex and the teams need to achieve results with limited resources, often with limited information and in an environment of uncertainty.

My wife and two kids moved with me to Cairo, where we added a third child to our family. As my wife says ‘the world is their playground’. During any move, there are times when you have doubts, especially when it is a big move for the whole family, and these questions are magnified mainly due to the fear of the unknown. Having each other to provide support and reassurance is vital.”

Alessandro Oliveira, International Product Manager, Switzerland

The picture shows Alessandro Oliveira, International Product Manager, Global Product Strategy, with his wife Adriana and their 10-month-old baby, Pietra. They moved from Brazil to Basel in 2013.
From Brazil to Basel: Alessandro, Adriana and Pietra.

“Family plays the most important role in any decision that I take. My older daughter, Marina, was 18 when we moved to Basel in 2013. For her, too, it was a great opportunity to learn another language and get to know a new culture. A year later, I married my partner Adriana and we have a 10-month-old baby, Pietra.

I joined Roche 16 years ago as a sales rep in Brazil. I spent 13 years in the Brazilian affiliate working in different roles, such as Sales Manager, Access Manager and as Product Manager in different therapeutic areas.

During my time here, I have been able to learn from people’s varied cultural backgrounds and that has shaped my own personality positively. A major learning has been about communicating with people from different cultures. One should try such an international experience. But always take into consideration your family, the timing and, very importantly, what you want to do next. Think a step ahead.”

Gabriele Filkauskas, International Health Policy Leader, Switzerland

The picture shows Gabriele Filkauskas, International Health Policy Leader, Global Product Strategy, with her boyfriend. She moved to Basel in 2015 and met her boyfriend there.
Gabriele met her boyfriend after moving to Basel.

“It is challenging to get out of one’s comfort zone. But the gains you make, both on the personal and professional front, are exponential. One of my main challenges has been to live away from loved ones. I’ve only been back to Brazil once since starting on this role. But my parents and my sister and her family have come to visit me, as well as some friends. I’ve also made great friends in Basel and worked with brilliant people and I hope more colleagues take advantage of these development opportunities.

I joined Roche Brazil in October 2010. I worked with varied stakeholders in different roles spanning competitive intelligence, biologic strategy and patient organisations before joining EM LAP in May 2015. Prior to that, in 2013, I worked on a short-term project with the Global Pricing and Market Access team. The assignment included a short stint in Basel and gave me the first taste of working on a global Roche project.

I moved to Basel by myself and met my boyfriend while living here. He is currently based in Brussels.”

Don Niles, Business Unit Director, Oncology, Vietnam

The picture shows Don Niles with his wife, son and daughter. They have moved from Basel to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where Don Niles is currently working as a Business Unit Director in Oncology.
Don Niles lives in Ho Chi Minh City with his wife and two of his children.

“I would encourage anyone who is looking for ways to grow their skills but also be able to see how one’s decisions and efforts make an impact to go on this journey. There is no substitute—no classes, schools or books—that can give you this experience.

I joined Roche in 2009, and after experiences in the U.S. and then Basel I took up a short-term assignment in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I fell in love with the people and the energy and the challenges of working in an emerging market. I then took on a longer assignment as Director, Analytics and Commercial Effectiveness. After two years, I got the chance to take up a more commercial role and accepted my current responsibilities.

My wife of 26 years and two of my children, a son and a daughter, came here with me. They both graduated high school here in Vietnam. My older daughter graduated when we were in Basel. There are sacrifices, but the upsides and experience we have gained outweigh them. We have learned a lot about our children and their abilities to handle and embrace change. As a family, we have reconnected to some of our core values.”


At the time of writing, some of these employees were looking ahead to new challenges.

Tags: People, Society