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Journey of Nita Borkar, Executive Director; who changed the dynamics of business and made it big in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Change to be the GameChanger…
Journey of Nita Borkar,Executive Director; who changed the dynamics of business and made it big in thePharmaceutical Industry
Nita Borkar, a woman whoalways dreamt of becoming a successful entrepreneur within a few days of herjoining the pharmaceutical industry as a management trainee in the year 1997 inNicholas Piramal. She was very passionate about learning different aspects ofthe pharmaceutical industry with the ability to learn things very quickly. Shewas excellent in her communication skills that helped her move up in the ladderin the product management team. Nita is a good listener and understands thesituation with clarity because of her excellent listening skills. She uses allthese skills to support her decision making. This helped Nita in her journeybenefiting the organisations with rapid growth, and she is exactly doing thesame work at Oaknet Healthcare, a young emerging organisation where she iscurrently driving a 1000 plus employees as an executive director. Nita took oneof the best decisions of her life when she proposed the board of OaknetLifesciences the company she started along with her mentor R.S. Raghav inNovember 2016 along with few other colleagues to go for the acquisition of theIndian business of the African giant Adcock Ingram and the management gave hera go ahead. With her exceptional negotiation skills, she bought the entiredomestic market of Adcock to the kitty of Oaknet Lifesciences which was astart-up in Pharma market with a turnover of Rs.5 crores in just one year ofits inception from Zero. This was possible with her excellent marketing skills,her vision to scale up the business to the next level with a big turn over togenerate big profits. She convinced a leading private equity firm to invest in Oaknet Lifesciences to buy the businessof Adcock Ingram which resulted in the formation of Oaknet Healthcare, and herbig dream came into realization.
After the successfulacquisition of Adcock Ingram, the real challenge emerged in front of her as itwas a sinking business. She had to save the earning and lives of 1000 plusemployees of Adcock and their families. She becomes emotional when she says "Isaved 1000 plus employees and their families but could not save my mother". Butshe realised that life and death are beyond the control of human beings and arecontrolled by God. She is very much inclined toward reading books. She loves toread the Bhagwatgita and implements its learning in the day to day life.
She recollects thefamous saying from the Bhagawatgita, "Parivartan Sansar ka Niyam Hai", thattranslates to, "Change is the Law of Nature". "Change is inevitable and betteryou change to the changed circumstances". So, she developed a line for herselfwhich is her motto in life,
"Change to be a Game Changer".
She brought in a lot ofchange in her professional approach to sharpen her decision-making abilitieswhich have helped her in previous assignments at different levels of managementand are currently helping her at Oaknet Healthcare.
Coming back to herchildhood she was well groomed by her parents and her mother has always taughther that there is no shortcut to success and only determination and hard workcan bring in success in life. Giving an example of her when she was a managementtrainee in Piramal, her business head gave her the assignment to work on apresentation on Antibiotics. She was not a student of Pharmacy background butdespite that she prepared an excellent presentation which the SBU head sharedwith the entire team so that the others can prepare their presentation insimilar lines. This speaks volumes about her marketing skills, the ability tolearn new subjects quickly and come out with good innovative ideas to propelthe growth of the business. These skills were there with Nita right from thebeginning. Nita completed her High School inMumbai and graduated in Microbiology from Mumbai University. With a zest topursue a career in marketing, she completed her MBA in Marketing.
Nita is fortunate &had the opportunity to work with bosses who have been demanding and brought outthe best in her. In 2000, Nita came across a job notification in Lupin Pharmawhich was entering the chronic therapy in India. This job seemed like aninteresting change to her and took up an opportunity in Lupin. Over the nextcouple of years, she worked closely with Megha Dhargalkar, a renowned name inthe pharma industry, and chalked out the launch plan of Cardio-Diabeticdivision in India, shaping the company's future expansion and growth strategies.Nita played a pivotal part in boiling down the molecules, brands and executionstrategies. In 2003, Nita went a step ahead and moved to Dabur India asMarketing Manager, APAC. The International market offered a huge scope ofgrowth and learning. Nita strategically launched and positioned Dabur Oncologyas No.1 generic company in Thailand, Philippines, and Malaysia. Dabur Oncologywas positioned as a company that offered cancer therapy at affordable pricesand engaged patients for long-term with unique patient welfare programmes. Nitaserved as a part of the core team that coordinated registrations and key auditsfor launch in markets such as Turkey and Indonesia. She wanted to learndiversified markets and segments which would help her run an organisationindependently in the future. She re-joined Lupin under the mentorship of R.S.Raghav. She took up the role as she was aware that neuropsychiatry is anemerging market in India. Nita had scripted the business plan that deliveredand landed Lupin amongst the top 10 CNS companies in India in the first 6 yearsof launch. Nita had been instrumental in the expansion of the Cardio Diabeticbusiness of Lupin and the business flourished exponentially under her. Thetoughest decision in her life came when along with Raghav and few othercolleagues, she had to start Oaknet Lifesciences. She took the bold decision ofquitting a job paying lucrative salary, luxurious well settled life but shemade a choice of her own idea and path.
She was crystal clear inher mind that this is the moment and this is going to be a game changerdecision in her life. With her dedication, perseverance, determination and hardwork she emerged as a successful leader, made Oaknet Healthcare a force toreckon in IPM. She is one of the most successful Indian Entrepreneurs with abig vision and a great heart. She says that the conducive environment createdby her parents at her home to support and empower women helped her to chase herdreams and become successful. She admits that the change that has happened inIndia and still happening in society to provide a conducive environment toempower women in India has really helped her to achieve her dreams. With thechanged attitude of the male dominant society and culture, she has reached aheight where she not only inspires women but also men in India who want tobecome like her, following her footsteps.
To perceive more aboutthe company and her professional journey, The CEO Magazine sat with the leadinglady and asked a few questions.
Here are editedexcerpts.
Hi Nita, thank you so much foryour valuable time. To kick things off, throw light on Oaknet Healthcare andits operations.
Oaknet strives towards ushering a new era where bestmedical treatments will be affordable not just to the classes, but also to themasses.
We understand itwell that our nation is dealing with a dire need for high-quality healthcareservices, strategies need development at a swift pace for the units producedfor raw material that go hand in hand with the government policies keeping thesmall-scale industries in mind. To gain decent quality of workers withexpertise and innovative ideas, the researchers will have to find out of areasthat go beyond the barriers of metro cities where in abundance researchers andquality professionals are available. Weentered in the market to address this scarcity.
The foundation of Oaknet Healthcare was taken in 2015 by R SRaghav. The vision of Oaknet's operations is to develop a Sustainable,Scalable, and Specialty focused pharmaceutical company. With the acquisition ofAdcock Ingram, Oaknet Healthcare became one of the fastest Indian Company toreach amongst the Top 100 Companies in the IPM. Oaknet has also acquired brandsfrom leading multinational companies like Sandoz and GSK to enrich the productportfolio.
Oaknet with tremendous leadership expertise in the IPMis poised to create history by scaling up revenues to INR 10 billion over thenext 5 years through organic and inorganic growth. Oaknet is engaged inspecialty therapeutic segments as diverse as Dermatology, Cosmetology,Cardiovascular, Diabetic, Orthopaedics, Gynaecology, etc.
Our team of multi-talented and highly experiencedprofessionals dedicate themselves in enabling India's medical fraternity tofocus on the key products and unique combinations in NCDs, collaborate withcredible universities in cardiology & diabetes, and launch uniquetechnology-driven solutions for patient welfare. All these efforts come fromthe passion to serve humanity, like the Oak tree that shelters everyone,without discrimination.
Where does your interest in entrepreneurship comefrom – how did you start?
New brands, newmarkets, new therapy areas, with an ability to take risks and build brandsincreasing the market share in the IPM has been an interesting journey for me.In 2015, I decided to channelize my work to create and deliver value toestablish a new identity in the Indian Pharmaceutical Market and started myentrepreneurial journey. A few key personals joined hands and unfolded ourlaunch, Oaknet Lifesciences.
Give us insights into the major offerings of thecompany and, how does the company support people with its offerings?
OaknetHealthcare's inception took place in 2015 as Oaknet Lifesciences with a goal toscale into the top 50 companies through organic and inorganic growth with 5years of launch. Oaknet soon collaborated with a leading private equity firmand successfully acquired the Indian footprint of a leading dermatologycompany, Adcock Ingram and has propelled Oaknet to an impressive 87th position withover 1200 employees spread across the country.
Rechristened thecompany name to Oaknet Healthcare with four areas of interest in domestic(Dermatology, Cosmecare, Cardio-Diabetic, Women Health, and Pain Management)and International market. In a short span of 25 months, there was a turnaroundfrom a loss-making entity to a profitable business. I had laid down thestrategic vision for Oaknet of building a Sustainable, Scalable, and Specialitydriven pharmaceutical company and was confident of delivering it with the corevalues like Performance Orientation, Innovation, Openness, and Committed toLearning and Integrity. Oaknet Healthcare offers a huge basket of products inthe field of Dermatology, Diabetology, Cardiology, and Woman Health offeringsuperior care to the patients
What makes your company stand out in the market?
Oaknet Healthcarestarted in 2015 and within a year of its launch, it had reached the top 100companies of IPM. Oaknet with the support of a top-notch private equity partnerhas now acquired many MNC brands strengthening its portfolio year after year.
Today, Oaknetstands strong at the position of offering a portfolio of products covering allthe major therapy segments in the IPM.
Who are your clients? How do you keep your clientshappy and satisfied?
All thestakeholders involved with Oaknet are our customers starting with theemployees, investors, customers in the market and the end consumers of ourproducts. With our state-of-art manufacturing and best practices, we ensurethat we deliver value. I look at our business through a customer's lens andthen I come back and talk to my people about what I saw was good, and what wasnot good. This way I make sure my customers are all content with our offerings.
How do you achieve a balance between your personaland professional life?
I give fullcredit to my beautiful family members on how I was able to balance work andlife. I am married to Prasad, a Banker by profession who has always beensupportive and thought that women should have a chance at everything. We have alovely daughter, Nitika and siblings who have been supportive and have alwaysencouraged me to try new things every day.
Though thestatistics of women entrepreneurs in India are rising, yet a woman's ambitionsare often doubted in our society. Is it difficult for women to start a businessin India?
Absolutely not, times are changing, as a country; weare progressing and becoming open to seeing women in a leadership position. Theenvironment today has become conducive for women empowerment and women have tocome forward to set examples for others. My family environment and society arevery much conducive to women empowerment. I also very strongly believe inempowering women and should reach the top position with sheer determination,hard work, & perseverance.
How do women feel in the male-dominated industry?Have you experienced a different attitude because of gender?
The times havechanged and things are getting better for women now. As an individual, I havenever faced any discrimination or gender bias in my career. I believe that itall depends on the individual's belief to transcend their own best. Competencyand Commitment are the two things that will take us places no matter whichgender we are.
What is a day in your life like as an entrepreneur?
The day beginswith a lot of thinking and planning to ensure that we create and deliver valueto the business and employees. A lot of thought goes into bringing in costefficiency into the system with resource optimisation. As a businessperson,building a stronger business model with a solid EBITA is very crucial, that iswhere I invest a lot of my time, and monitoring, mentoring, executing,strategizing, and aligning of the team towards the organisation goal is anongoing process at any given time of the day
What have you learned about entrepreneurship in yourjourney?
Entrepreneurshiprequires a lot of patience to handle failure, meticulous planning to ensurethat the business entity does not run into financial crisis. Every step has tobe financially safe and executed accordingly. It is also important to build asolid reputation for the organisation that will help us attract talent throughgrowth story and culture
What is your future agenda to keep growing in themarket?
My agenda for the years to come is very clear.I will strive to bring Oaknet into top 50 companies in the IPM. Top 15companies in the derma segment, top 30 companies in Gynae market. In terms ofbrands, we will build at least 10 brands above 10 Cr, 4 brands above 20 Cr andone 50 Cr brand.
As a source of inspiration for many, what would youradvice be for female entrepreneurs, who are planning to enter the businessworld?
If today, I havemanaged to inspire the women who seek entrepreneurship or already are on thepath, it is because of what I have learned from my mother and what I carry withme as my core learning and values. My Mother's unconditional support andcontribution to my successful life have led me in the right direction. Momalways told me, "There is no shortcut to success, only determination and hardwork will lead you to success." She is the guiding force of my life and kept megrounded. The secret to success is notrocket science. It is only hard work and there is no shortcut to success. Aperson should be a quick learner in today's environment & competitiveworld.
She should have passion & a strong desire to dosomething unique and have a specific goal and channelize all her energy toachieve that goal in life and be successful.