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BELINDA HOLDSWORTH

WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN

Nominated to the EPIC Awards 2019

"I strongly believe in the power and value of human potential and am passionate about empowering individuals through embracing and engaging in diversity and inclusion."

Director of Global Operations Strategy at Roche. EMBA 2016.

I was born and raised in the UK and moved to London at age 18 for my bachelor’s studies, obtaining a BEng in Biochemical Engineering. I have always been fascinated by different cultures, the diversity, and uniqueness of people, and the world around us, which fueled my passion to challenge myself and work internationally early on in my professional career. Through these experiences, I gained exposure to alternative ways of working, different mindsets, and varied styles of communicating and collaborating. I have had the privilege of working in Europe, the United States, Asia, and Africa during my career so far, and continue to enjoy and embrace working in global environments, and continuously challenging myself and my perspectives. Through these global experiences, I have also seen the impact of opportunity and environment on the ability of individuals to reach their full potential and fully contribute their unique worth. I am a true advocate for the leveling of those external barriers and facilitating individuals to have the rights to achieve based truly on their capabilities.

How did IE help you get to where you are today?

After working for 16 years in the Pharma/Biotech industry in predominantly technical roles, I had the yearning to expand my horizons and experiences, both professionally and personally. Through my Executive MBA studies at IE I was able to confront and query my perception of what business is. Working closely with my classmates from many different backgrounds, industries, and cultures, I gained a far broader and more comprehensive perspective of business as a whole and was constantly challenged and encouraged to grow and think outside of the box. My MBA helped me take the leap and shift my career from the technical arena to more Operational / Strategic roles, and I moved into my current role as Director, Global Operations Strategy last September. I still leverage learnings from my MBA studies in my daily business.

In which way do you think your work is impacting women’s lives?

By introducing the spark of inspiration and self-belief, and by providing a platform and resources to empower women to step up and take on challenges they may not have thought possible, I believe I am making the first steps in progress towards change. And those first tiny steps can result in much bigger action, touching many more women. The Afghan girls who ran the ultramarathon went back to their hometowns and started a local community running club for women. Women in Roche have stepped up and gone for bigger roles off the back of the coaching they received as part of my PT Women Professionals initiative. Those women will now help to shape the future of the organization and inspire other women on their professional journeys. Tiny ripples can end up in bigger waves.

Where do you see the future of women?

My vision is of a world where equal opportunities are open to all. Where everyone believes in their individual capabilities and potential and are not prevented from realizing it through external or internal barriers. As a society, I believe we lose so much innovation, creativity, progress and inspiration through unrealized potential, and I dream of a world where there are no self-imposed or society-imposed barriers preventing women contributing their full worth and living their best lives.

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