New Delhi Principal Apoorva joined ZS as a manager in 2013 and leveraged her previous experience in process excellence, transformation and analytics to build ZS’s Analytics Process Optimization (APO) capability, which helps us efficiently manage large end-to-end commercial analytics projects. When she started at ZS, little did Apoorva know that she would be the first woman from the Capability & Expertise Center (CEC) to progress to principal.
“I’ve always believed that being yourself and being authentic are important factors to success,” said Apoorva. “I am delighted to create impact at ZS and with clients—being a woman is just one part of me. I hope my election inspires CEC women to continue forging their own paths.”
Early on in her ZS career, Apoorva began supporting a major pharmaceutical manufacturer and has been focused there ever since. Today, Apoorva serves as our lead for that client and overseeing ZS’s relationship across end-to-end commercial sales operations projects, including field operations, samplings, incentives, reporting and data management.
With Apoorva’s impressive list of accomplishments throughout her career, it’s no wonder why she was recently selected as a 2019 Rising Star by the Healthcare Business Women’s Association (HBA), a prestigious award that recognizes women who exemplify both our ZS values and the HBA leadership competencies: enlighten, empower, engage and evolve.
What was the most game-changing piece of feedback you ever received?
Learn to live with ambiguity, especially as you grow into leadership positions. No one is going to tell you what is right or wrong, but you must learn to trust your judgment and make the best decision possible based on the information available and what you believe is right.
Describe your “perfect ZS day”.
My perfect ZS day would include a little bit of everything that I love doing. There would be one-on-one conversations with my team members about what’s on their mind and how I can contribute to their professional growth. There would be interesting and open client conversations where we speak about how things are going, what do we want to do and what we could be doing to improve. There would be an opportunity to learn something new from a project, team member or principal, leading to an “a-ha” moment of something I hadn’t thought of before. And finally, there would be some fun time and interactions with my team. That would be an ideal day for me.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
Over the past four years, ZS Principal Scott Shimamoto (Evanston) has helped me push my boundaries and served as a role model when interacting and empathizing with clients and team. Scott devotes 100-percent of his attention to whomever he is working with, whether they’re a client, associate, principal, etc. He is truly focused and interested in what you have to say — I really admire that about him and try to follow his example through my interactions.
Outside of ZS, my sister has been my role model and coach for finding the needed balance. Most working women in India are the first generation to do so and when pressure rises at work, women are often told to pull back from work and prioritize their families. My sister helps me see that giving up is not the only solution — work is an important part of my life and I should not compromise on something that I value when times get tough.
What’s your life like outside ZS, and how do you balance it with your career?
I have an eight-year-old daughter named Netra who dictates my entire calendar outside of work. My daughter began dancing two years ago and we recently started learning and performing (I’m a classically trained dancer). It’s been really fun having a hobby that we do together.
I make sure to block few hours in the evening to spend time with my family but I’m flexible with taking calls from home at other times. At the first regional leadership summit I attended, Managing Director Chris Wright gave the advice that if you commit to something, you must follow through, and that advice has guided my time management at home and at work — if you commit to something at work or promise at home; stick to it. I plan my schedule a week or two at a time to set realistic expectations for myself and avoid over-committing.