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How embracing collaboration supported Bhavani’s career journey

How embracing collaboration supported Bhavani’s career journey

How embracing collaboration supported Bhavani’s career journey

Bhavani Sivalingam, SVP of Research and Development Solutions, JAPAC, attributes some of her proudest career moments and lessons learned to the power of teamwork and leaning into your network.

Bhavani Sivalingam has worked for IQVIA for almost two decades. She attributes much of her success to leaning into her passion for driving patient health, embracing teammates’ strengths, and trusting the advice of others to seize opportunities outside her comfort zone.

As Bhavani sits down with Senior Recruiter, Elena Lopez, she shares her inspiring journey at IQVIA from Project Manager to Senior Vice President, Research and Development Solutions, Japan and Asia Pacific. Find out what key attributes and advice has helped her along the way.

Career path at IQVIA

My first role at IQVIA was in Project Management. It is a broad role – including financial, customer relations, risk and quality management responsibilities – and the one I believe positioned me for success in subsequent roles. The skills I acquired are ones I continue to build upon today.

From there, I spent five years in Customer Management which led to two years on IQVIA’s Functional Service Provider team in Asia Pacific. This role helped expand my people management and customer operations skills.

And most recently, I head IQVIA’s Clinical Operations for Japan and Asia Pacific.

Key milestones or learnings

What is your proudest professional moment?

Managing my first global project back in 2000 was an unforgettable experience. The program consisted of four studies focused on developing a pediatric flu vaccine, where we were tasked with recruiting 3,000 patients in roughly four weeks. This was a unique endeavor as it was managed entirely in Asia – while at the time, global project managers were predominantly based in the United States and Europe. Although uncertain if we could pull it off, we took on the challenge of global project manager in Asia… delivering the study on time, in what can only be described as a team effort.

This accomplishment stands out as one of the proudest moments in my career. It not only demonstrated IQVIA’s capabilities, but also highlighted the incredible power of teamwork and collaboration. Witnessing the team's unwavering commitment and their collective drive towards a common goal was truly touching.

How did you manage to bring the team together?

It's about recognizing the strengths that every team member brings. Everyone has a different strength and it’s important to leverage their respective expertise. I think as the team leader you set the example that we can do it. It’s with that conviction that the rest of the team follows suit.

What development opportunities or resources would you recommend?

I would recommend networking. Not only networking within the organization, but also outside. It's essential to allocate dedicated time for networking rather than waiting for a free moment that may never come.

Mentoring is another aspect I highly recommend for young leaders. I personally find the exchange of experiences and learnings from others to be so valuable. Learning from real-life situations and gaining perspectives can enhance your skills and contribute to your overall development as a leader.

Roadblocks faced

What roadblocks have you faced professionally and how would you advise others to navigate similar challenges?

I think for me I want to show a challenge can be overcome and that nothing is impossible… you just need to be realistic. I try to understand more on the subject matter, leverage my network to see how others have overcome similar situations, and work to tackle problems from different angles.

I often see people get stuck trying to solve a problem or find a solution before they feel they can begin the work. My approach is to tackle the situation bit by bit and divide it in small portions. This way, you don’t feel overwhelmed or defeated.

In your experience, personally or professionally, has your journey come with any added challenges?

There have been challenges that I attribute to my Asian cultural background. In comparison to the average American, individuals from my cultural background may not be as vocal or outspoken. We navigate situations differently, and that's something I've been more conscious of in terms of how I work and the style that I'm comfortable with, aligning it with my cultural background.

Career advice

What would you say to your younger self early in your career?

There was a point—about 10 years ago—where my line manager encouraged me to take a role. I honestly was not very keen. I didn't understand why I was being offered the role, as I thought it didn't match with my strengths. But I took the role and learned so much. It opened my eyes and I believe if it weren’t for that opportunity, I would not be where I am today.

So, my advice would be to be brave and grab opportunities that come your way. You never know where it will lead and even if it doesn't go as intended, it’s a learning opportunity.

Do you have any tips for balancing professional responsibilities with personal commitments – family, wellbeing, hobbies, etc.?

I accidentally joined a friend’s yoga class, and I realized I actually enjoyed it. It's something I’ve continued for a long time, and it helps me destress. Even if it’s once a week, it’s my ‘me time’.

I’m also interested in making pottery ceramics. I tend to dedicate a portion of my weekend to focus on my hobbies… not answering any emails or doing any work. It's important everyone identifies one thing for themselves, whether it's a sport or a hobby and carve out the time for it. Put it in your calendar, block the time out so you can switch off from everything that's going on at work.

The IQVIA difference

IQVIANs are driven by our passion to make an impact. What excites you about working at IQVIA?

For me, it’s a combination. Before joining Quintiles, now IQVIA, I worked for a pharma company, and one thing I realized early in my career is working for a clinical research organization provides you with opportunities to work across a variety of therapeutic areas and customers groups.

I'm also someone who generally enjoys organizing things. In project management that's much of your day-to-day so I feel like my role was very much aligned to my strengths and interests.

And the other thing is, how many jobs allow you to make an impact on people's lives? Of course, I'm not a doctor and I'm not directly saving a patient, but I truly believe in the value we bring in the research and development space, working on clinical trials. And of course, you must have a passion for the role you do, because it's just too difficult otherwise.

Ready to discover a career with a greater purpose? Explore a job at IQVIA today or join our Global Talent Network so we can let you know when jobs matching your interests become available.

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