As an active, practicing board-certified anaesthesiologist and physician-pharmacist, Anita Gupta is a prominent mind, especially matters of healthcare crises.
Recently, one of our Ambassadors, Alice Taylor, had the chance to speak with Dr Gupta, and really find out her professional history, along with some of her thoughts regarding leadership qualities and progression.
Who is Anita Gupta?
Dr Anita Gupta has had a fascinating professional journey, from starting as a Pharmacist, to working on the opioid crisis in America, and becoming one of the biggest names in health crisis matters. Her career is a rich and inspiring one, and we’re thrilled to be able to explore it with you.
Anita Gupta says her career really started as a Doctor in Philadelphia, working on the front line, handling serious issues and coming face-to-face with the Opioid Crisis, Chronic Pain, and Cancers.
It was her experiences in addressing serious opioid overdoses that led her to find that some of the solutions were already at hand in the hospital. She then worked alongside public officials to expand access to that antidote.
Ultimately, this led to Washington D.C., and drove policy changes to allow greater access and improve treatments.
Dr Gupta is now also a published author; her work has even been featured in the National Academies of Medicine’s Press.
Most Important Virtues for Success
Everyone has slightly different interpretations of which traits can bring success, so we were curious to learn Anita’s top picks. Here’s what she had to say.
One of the most important virtues is courage; particularly as a woman, sitting in a room with a lot of thought leaders and experts, it takes a lot of courage and bravery to speak.
Even more so, when you’re not sure what the right solution is. In that situation, there are many challenges facing you, and when the answers aren’t clear, that can become even harder.
“Whenever I’m handling a crisis, or in a boardroom full of uncertainty and stress, I always remember to be courageous.”
The ability to take action, even when fearful, can make a critical impact.
Especially in leadership positions, empathy is such a critical skill. Traditionally one that hasn’t always been involved, but it’s appearing more frequently over the last year or so.
Women are bringing empathy into leadership, and it’s one of the key traits that people look at, especially today.
Throughout her impressive career, Anita has had some big challenges and learned some valuable lessons. Here are the ones that stayed with her.
We’re Good Enough
It’s easy to fall into the false idea that we’re not good enough, but the truth is — we really are!
Women make fantastic leaders. Female-associated traits, like empathy and compassion, are only recently being seen more commonly in organisations, but that will change soon.
Anita continues, “we have the ability to lead, and that’s something women aren’t told enough”. Her point coincides with one of Lift Up’s founding principles; inspire.
We want to inspire women from across the Life Sciences, to fully realise their potential, and strive for it.
Becoming an Executive Leader
Anita Gupta attributes part of her determination to two words that have followed her throughout her career. They’ve been on her wall as a student, and they’re there when things get tough, so what are they?
It sounds simple, but there’s always something ready to stop you — no matter what you do. You’ll experience many hurdles throughout your life, but you can’t give up. Anita came from an immigrant family, and had to climb multiple challenges to succeed.
That’s not to say you can’t change direction. If you’ve started down a path that isn’t right for you, it’s more than okay to switch to something better suited. But once you’ve found the thing you want to stick with, you have to put yourself 100% into that too.
We never stop growing; if times are getting tough, that’s your signal to keep going.
While Leadership Programmes are often heralded as the perfect way to develop skills and get ahead, this isn’t always the case.
In fact, Anita Gupta has found that they can often be old-fashioned, focusing more on traditional skills rather than empathy and compassion. This can reinforce the idea that women need to change who they are to succeed.
Anita explains that whoever you are, there’s always a position for you somewhere. You will find a company that matches your principles, values you for who you are, and helps you grow.
It might take a few attempts to find where you fit in, but you will find it. Don’t settle for somewhere where you aren’t appreciated.
Dealing with Hurtful Comments
Throughout your life, people can say hurtful things, whether intentionally or otherwise.
Anita used to take these comments to heart, before she realised one crucial thing. Hurtful comments say more about them, than they do about you.
It can be a challenge not to let hurtful comments affect you, but typically these comments are more reactive than anything else. Trying to be empathetic and understand someone’s history can help you realise why they say certain things, and let it go.
Invite 3 Women to Dinner
We also had to ask this age-old question with a fun twist. Rather than just anyone, we asked Anita which three women she would invite to dinner. Here is her selection:
Indira Gandhi has always been someone I’ve looked up to. My heritage is Indian, and her political career is fascinating; she led a formidable dynasty in India, while combatting many political challenges. and rose to become India’s first and only female Prime Minister.
I’d also be curious to meet Oprah. She’s another woman who has had a very difficult life, but pushed through and overcame those obstacles. Now she’s a huge success, living with purpose and meaning, while also inspiring others.
She’s amazing. She made many phenomenal changes in the US, including the Women’s Rights Movement. I’m just curious to hear what she’d have to say about what’s happening now.