Connect with us

Entrepreneurship

Women on Top in Tech – Grace Park, Co-Founder/President at DocDoc

Published

on

(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Here is my interview with Grace Park, Co-Founder and President at DocDoc. Grace Park is a professional with +19 years of experience, 12 of which have been spent in the Asia Pacific region leading pharmaceutical, medical device and digital health companies. She began her career as a Military Intelligence Officer after graduating with Honors from the US Military Academy at West Point and held various posts over her five years of military service. She left the Army with the rank of Captain. Grace has dual degrees from Harvard Business School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

 



What makes you do what you do?

“From pain, comes purpose.” This saying rings true to DocDoc’s mission. When the head liver surgeon at a respectable hospital in Singapore broke the news that our ‘healthy’ 3-month old daughter needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately for surgery because her liver was failing, my husband, Cole Sirucek, and I had so many questions. How many times did he do a liver transplant? How much will it cost? What were his outcomes? The doctor was visibly uncomfortable to answer any of these questions. My instinct – and having +10 years of experience of working closely with doctors from the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors – led me to believe that he was not the right doctor for our daughter. Our search for the right doctor began. We found a liver surgeon who is one of the pioneers of live liver transplants, and he had the highest volume worldwide as he did thousands of these procedures over decades. Plus, he was 40% less expensive than what the first surgeon was quoting us!

We had turned around from having the worst customer experience at a most vulnerable time in finding the right doctor. What we do at DocDoc is to help other patients in the doctor discovery process by providing meaningful data points so that they can make informed decisions.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?

I started on the corporate side of healthcare with my CEO of a top 10 global pharmaceutical company as a sponsor. He was a former military officer and hired me as a Marketing Manager. Unlike many others, he translated my five years of service as a military officer after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point as valuable operational experience to contribute and lead in his organization. That belief in me was incredibly motivating and kept me focused and disciplined throughout the years. In looking back, there are so many factors that contributed to my journey from Marketing Manager to Managing Director.

The short list would include:
1) Being in a sector in which there are tremendous opportunities to make a significant impact.
2) Working with talented colleagues to create high performing teams.
3) Aiming to set the example of never giving up.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you? (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)

Firstly, I would say that there is no “usual” entrepreneur. The virtue of entrepreneurship is that anybody is welcomed to try.

The lack of transparency in healthcare is not a local issue but a universal problem. The world needed a solution and Cole, as DocDoc’s other co-founder, and I found us at a place and time to make it happen as he has a background in technology investments and I have a background in healthcare.

We could have just waited for someone else to do something about this problem. We were asking ourselves the questions, “If not now, when? If not us, who?”

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?

There are many mentors whom I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to learn from throughout my professional life.

One of note is Bob McDonald, who was the Chairman and CEO of Proctor & Gamble. He most recently served as President Obama’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs, which arguably manages the world’s largest health system.

How did you make a match and how did you end up being mentored by him?

We met in Singapore several years ago as he served on the Singapore International Advisory Council.

There is some luck to it – being at the right place at the right time. Once there, it is about having the courage to speak to such a luminary!

We seem to have some commonalities that connected us: a belief in God which shapes our values; a personal mission to develop as leaders of character; and a hope to use our talents to the fullest to make a significant and positive impact in our societies. It’s been wonderful to call Bob a friend and a mentor.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?

There are many articles and books about each of these skill sets but I believe that the principles that I learned as a young 21-year-old platoon leader has applied well when I led teams in my corporate role and continues to do so in the start-up realm. As a leader, it is important to understand what makes your employees tick and what are their aspirations and to develop plans on how you can help them reach their goals.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?

I support diversity and thankfully without requiring a quota, DocDoc is evenly split between male and female employees based on merit. We are present in multiple countries throughout Asia so by default, we are diverse based not only on gender but also on many other dimensions. Healthcare is an attractive sector for women so it is wonderful to have a sizeable talent pool.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?

Distilling down to the top three, firstly it is about servant leadership. The leader’s primary role is to serve others – customers, employees, and any other stakeholders. The converse to this are those with overinflated egos and from what I’ve seen first-hand, they tend to blow up. Secondly, the great ones have more courage than fear in taking big risks especially in an industry that is highly entrenched in traditional and conservative ways. It does take guts to challenge the powerful groups that have kept the sector opaque and allergic to any transparency. Lastly, the digital health start-up world is equivalent to the “ultra” in ultramarathons so perseverance matters. Believe in your purpose, your team, and your good self.

Advice for others?

My belief is that when you fall in love with a mission that is far greater than yourself, you tap into a deeper, more profound source of motivation. There you will find what is worth fighting for!


To learn more about DocDoc, please see https://www.docdoc.com.

I am a huge fan and cheerleader of Women Leaders — If you know of an AMAZING Woman Founder, CEO, Leader in Tech or you are one yourself — Write me here.
AMPLIFY Conscious Business Leadership with me.

Callum Connects

Benedict Heng, Founder of Mr. Farmer

Published

on

Benedict Heng is bringing back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your story?
I’m Ben from Mr. Farmer. Mr. Farmer is an online grocer dedicated to supplying the freshest produce to our customers. We believe in sustainable and ethical farming. Since a young age, I have always been an avid food lover (especially meats), developing a strong interest in all things delicious. That is why I ventured into the F&B industry, working as a junior cook for 3 years.

Midway through my career, I made a move to the finance industry to pursue monetary rewards. I dove into high-risk investments and I made lots of money from these investments. However, the good fortune did not last long and all these came crashing down when I suffered a tremendous loss. This coincided with the time that I had just started my own family and it was a huge blow to me both materially and mentally. It was this crash that made me realize that this life wasn’t for me. I went on a hiatus and eventually, it was only through the strong support from my family that I managed to tide over this tough episode.

I went back to help the family business and this was how Mr Farmer came about. My family has been in the food industry for many decades and one thing they noticed from years of experience is that sustainable farming practices are not as developed as in Europe. This is why through Mr Farmer, we hope that we can provide the best quality products to families out there who want the best ingredients for their loved ones.

What excites you most about your industry?
Delicious and wholesome food excites me. I believe food is a critical component of life and it brings people together. The opportunity to serve the community with fresh produce for a healthy life, that brings me joy.

I feel that there is still so much more we can do to improve the quality of food and bring it to the masses. One of the key components of ensuring greater quality of food is to support ethical and sustainable farming. Due to commercialization and urbanization, most farming practices these days are no longer the way they were in the old “kampong” times. Shortcuts are taken, standards are compromised, all in the name of profit. At Mr. Farmer, profit is important too but we want to focus on the concept of One Welfare – sustainable farming directly impacts our health. Our vision is to bring back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore. I call Singapore my home as it’s where my family and close friends are. I also travel frequently to Malaysia and APAC for work.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It’s definitely Singapore. There is just so much this tiny city can offer! Singapore has been globally recognized for its top-notch business environment providing its residents with developed infrastructure, political stability and excellent connectivity. These factors have given us an outstanding support system for businesses to strive.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Surround yourself with people that inspire you, challenge you to rise higher, make you better and, keep them in your life.

Who inspires you?
I draw inspiration from my uncle, who is the head of both the family and business. He takes care of our family matters at home and manages hundreds of employees at work. Handling both the family and business side of things can be tricky, but he has shown me that success can be sustainable and done with a conscience. His guiding philosophy of handling business and family is simply, to have a big heart.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Even just one day of separation from the day the meat is slaughtered, makes a world of difference to its flavour.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I have come to learn that awareness is the beginning of everything. If I had my time again, I would have probably spent more time figuring out who I truly am and with that self-awareness, begun to lead my life with more purpose and meaning.

How do you unwind?
I like to spend my free time sipping white coffee at my favourite coffee place. I enjoy taking in the surrounding sights and letting my mind wander freely. It allows me to unwind and gain clarity at the same time. It also helps me organize my thoughts to prepare for the week ahead.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
It would be Bangkok as the people there are genuinely friendly and hospitable. They say people are what defines the city and I couldn’t agree more with this. I also enjoy the ‘laid back’ vibe of Bangkok. Not to mention Bangkok has all the good food and awesome shopping choices too!

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Spin selling” by Neil Reckham. It’s an amazing book that teaches you a process designed to help you successfully sell your products and services to business buyers.

Shameless plug for your business:
We at Mr. Farmer have the best tasting meats in Singapore, do a blind test and you will know why it’s Michelin chefs’ preferred choice. Not only are we very confident about the taste, we are also proud to say that all our products are chemical, hormone and antibiotic free. We also focus a lot on supporting ethical and sustainable farming practices believing in the ‘One Welfare’ concept. Do check us out if you enjoy good quality food like us!

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

Continue Reading

Callum Connects

Zac Chua, Founder & CEO of The Kettle Gourmet

Published

on

Zac Chua’s popcorn business validated itself straight away and fast tracked him to the startup world. Zac now employs 11 people and shifts 500 bags of popcorn daily.

What’s your story?
It’s a crazy one. It was an accidental startup. If you think about it, no university graduate would ever dream of becoming a popcorn seller. We crashed our first tech event to validate our idea and it took off from there. I bought a logo for $7 from a designers marketplace, printed some cheap name cards, and built a 1 page landing page. Sales started pouring in and eventually, we were serving B2B clients (corporate pantries) and we have never looked back. Today we move about 500 bags daily, we have 11 employees and we are growing. Talk about a validation that worked in our favour.

What excites you most about your industry?
It’s food! Everybody loves food! In Singapore the F&B scene is brutally competitive and it spurs me on to fight and compete for market share and to prove to myself that I can do it. It keeps me going and I won’t stop until we become the market leader.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Singapore, and have traveled to most of Southeast Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore! Even though Singapore has a high cost of living, the Government is actually very supportive of startups. They provide grants for us to tap into, and the technological infrastructure makes it possible for us to compete on a global scale. I believe if you can succeed in your business in Singapore, you can succeed in most of Southeast Asia.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
You only need to be right once, and the rest is history.

Who inspires you?
My father, who was a VC. In fact he was the one who gave me the best piece of advice which I shared above. Having one successful exit, he showed me that it’s okay to fail a million times – all it takes is just one time for you to win in business and in life.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The power of compounding.

  • Mary and John are the same age.
  • Mary saves $2k annually from the age of 19-25 – so she puts $14k into her portfolio
  • John saves $2k annually from the age of 26-65 – so he puts $80k into his portfolio, but 7 years after Mary.
  • If both are able to generate 10% per annum, who would have more at age 65?
  • John of course! But how much more?
  • Mary will have $944,641 whilst John will have $973,704
  • Think about it! Mary puts in only $14k but John delays for 7 years and puts in $80k.

CRAZY RIGHT!?!?

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, my mistakes taught me how to become a better me. But if I really must choose, I’d say take more time to find the right business partner.

How do you unwind?
Poker, Mahjong and Dota 2.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Vietnam! Things are cheap, people are warm and friendly, and their coffee fills up my life. I would love to retire there if possible.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The richest man in Babylon

Shameless plug for your business:
We don’t need a plug. Just try our competitors and you’ll understand why!

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chuazongyou
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zacchua

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

Continue Reading

Trending