Dr Leisha Daly, Country Director, Janssen Ireland
Dr Leisha Daly, Country Director of Janssen Ireland, the pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, and Chair of the J&J Campus Ireland Group, stresses the importance of bringing people together to meet the vision of a world-renowned company.
In business it’s very important to understand the psyche of your staff and catering your leadership skills around that. However, if a decision needs to made, a strong leader should be able to make the calls. Dr Leisha Daly, Country Director of Janssen Ireland, the pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, and Chair of the J&J Campus Ireland Group, has confidence in her own ability to put this into practice: “I try to operate in a very open and honest way, but equally, as a leader, if a decision needs to be made, I make it quickly. I believe I am authentic, inclusive and a fair leader.
“I highly respect the views of my senior leadership team and actively engage and communicate with them to make informed decisions, and rely fully on them to provide the detail, as needed.”
Health is a key concern in our society and pharmaceuticals are always, at some level, in the reckoning. Leisha forthrightly references Janssen’s Our Credo, the company’s moral guidelines in operation: “We are very lucky at J&J. The values that guide our decision-making are spelled out in Our Credo. Put simply, Our Credo challenges us to put the needs and well-being of the people we serve first. By that I mean that our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services. I refer to this often, and seriously consider the impact of everything we do on the Credo.”
We try to ensure the people who work within and throughout our organisation are representative of wider society, and this brings with it a greater mix of skills, experiences, perspectives and ideas we can draw on to foster medical innovation.
Internally, Leisha states that the team is everything and absolutely critical to the operation of the organisation, meeting ambitions, delivering strategies and increasing results: “Top leaders must work well together as a team to provide leadership to the whole organisation. I have a very strong and diverse senior leadership team that has successfully worked with me to transform the organisation, increase outputs and deliver on our ambitious strategy.
“We are a company focused on diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, we cultivate an environment that allows people to be themselves at work and we ensure that every voice is listened to and their diverse opinions are respected.
“We try to ensure the people who work within and throughout our organisation are representative of wider society, and this brings with it a greater mix of skills, experiences, perspectives and ideas we can draw on to foster medical innovation.”
Overcoming challenges by empowering staff
Many challenges face the pharmaceutical industry, such as getting patients access to their medicines, cancer treatment and addressing urgent medical needs of the general public. Leisha highlights how these challenges are being overcome: “Survival rates [from cancer] have improved significantly in the last decade and new medicines account for a large part of this increase. In 1997, four-in-ten Irish cancer patients were alive 5 years after their diagnosis. Today that figure is six in ten. (IPHA ‘Cancer Medicines – efficacy and impact’, Key facts, November 2017)
“As our founding father Dr Paul Janssen once said, “Patients are waiting…” At Janssen, we work with this same sense of urgency as we seek to address the greatest unmet medical needs of our time through research, development and actively pursuing access to our medicines that are some patients’ only hope.
“Increasing investment by the pharmaceutical industry in research is leading to major breakthroughs in how cancer is treated. We are mindful that there are many requirements for funding within the health system. We are very keen to work in a meaningful way with government, budget holders (payors) and authorities in Ireland to bring new treatments to patients, but acknowledge that this will only happen if we have an open and honest dialogue, offer value for money and share the risk.”
At J&J, we know that our mission of helping people around the globe live longer, healthier and happier lives starts with caring for our own workforce. Therefore, we have taken the lead in expanding health and wellness programmes worldwide and offering best-in-class leave policies and flexible working arrangements to accommodate different working styles.
Motivation of staff is key to being part of a solution. Including the entire team in decision-making policies can empower them and make them feel like a pivotal cog in the wheel of success. Not only this but valuing life outside of work can really add a human element to a company’s operations:
“I motivate my team by including them in strategic planning and problem-solving, acknowledging and celebrating their success and rewarding them appropriately.
“At J&J, we know that our mission of helping people around the globe live longer, healthier and happier lives starts with caring for our own workforce. Therefore, we have taken the lead in expanding health and wellness programmes worldwide and offering best-in-class leave policies and flexible working arrangements to accommodate different working styles.
“We encourage our employees to work-from-home once a week to achieve a better work-life balance, and this year we proudly introduced our enhanced paternity leave policy under which new and adoptive fathers are entitled to eight weeks of paid leave during the first year to bond with their new-born or newly-adopted child.
“All of this helps to motivate our teams by empowering them to achieve their personal best, and brings us one step closer to our 2020 mission to be the healthiest workforce in the world.”
Driving success now and in the future via R&D and company diversity
Janssen will remain dedicated to developing medicines for people who are dealing with conditions for which there is currently no treatment. This will involve further research and development in the most talked-about and toughest-to-tackle areas. Leisha also speaks of getting women involved more in STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths). She is the J&J WiSTEM2D Ireland Programme Sponsor, a collaborate effort with the University of Limerick (UL) that encourage women to pursue careers in STEM.
“Our ambition is to be one of the top five pharmaceutical companies in Ireland, and one of the most trusted companies in the world, and we remain steadfast in this mission.
“Personally, I would like to see us truly realise the power of J&J in Ireland through more cross-sector collaboration across our pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer businesses for the benefit of our society. I would like to help others to make decisions with their careers and continue to encourage more people to try different things and stretch themselves outside of their comfort zone.”
She goes on to say that, “We need to support women fully and understand what is stopping them from studying and advancing with STEM careers. This will ensure we secure a talent pipeline for critical industry roles for the future in science and technology.
Business & Finance, A View from the Boardroom
A View from the Boardroom, in association with Irish Life Health, features Ireland’s leading decision makers in business – those who provide effective leadership and are capable of understanding potential risks.