10 CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 10 2018 , There are not many CEOs of start-ups that can lay claim to the title ‘Healthcare Gamechanger’, but Dr KamPooni feels he is one of them. With the drive of a true entrepreneur and a passion for making a difference, Pooni discusses the essential qualities needed to be a successful CEO and gives us an insight into why he’s so passionate about healthcare start-ups. An Innovative CEO Building the Future of Healthcare As an experienced and proven senior leader, it was only a matter of time before Dr Kam Pooni started attracting awards and recognition on a global scale. 2018 has seen him achieve Business Weekly’s Top 50 Ones to Watch with Glyconics, be awarded two EU Seals of Excellence awards and MedCity Company of the Month (Sept). That’s on top of successful funding rounds and signing an exclusive licensing deal with Ghent University in Belgium for its proprietary method for the measurement of Diabetes and Renal insufficiency using infrared (IR) absorption. It’s clear that Dr Pooni has one of those inquiring minds that doesn’t rest until a problem is solved. His resilience and persistence, paired with a relentless self-motivation, makes him a seeker of truths. This powerful skill set enables Pooni to bring ideas to successful commercial fruition within an industry he feels very passionate about. With a solid commercial background, Dr Pooni believes in putting the end-user at the centre of his thinking – in healthcare this means patients; Real people with lives that Dr Pooni wants to change for the better. When you look at Dr Pooni’s history, it’s immediately obvious that this is an individual who is used to creating and seizing opportunities. After working his way up through the management structure at prestigious companies such as Eli Lilly, MORI and Reuters, Pooni really flourished when he moved to Astellas Pharma Europe. It was here, while working across marketing, operations, sales, commercial effectiveness and market access, that Kam learnt the value of using his intuitive people skills to build geographically diverse teams capable of delivering first-rate, value-added results. Pooni’s ability to create opportunity and his instinctive talent to recognise and surround himself with the right people to get the job done, is just one of the reasons he is so successful in the world of start-ups. His entrepreneurial spirit gives him the focus to succeed but, he never loses sight of the bigger picture, an essential faculty for any CEO, that is utterly vital for a start-up. He cites his parents as a major influence on his work ethic and positive outlook and it’s easy to see how their move from Punjab to the UK in the 1960s, and hard work to build their own business from nothing inspired him: “My parents taught me to never settle for mediocrity, and to always put your best self in everything that you do . …while continually keeping an eye on the top and the bottom line!” Mentoring has also played a big part in shaping Kam’s management style. He gives a lot of credit to the excellent mentors that he’s had the good fortune to guide him over the years, particularly for teaching him the true essence of a good business deal. As a successful CEO, Kam regularly returns the favour and provides advice and mentoring through his consultancy firm, Yellow Planet Consulting, to other CEOs and start-ups that catch his shrewd but entrepreneurial business eye. Dr Pooni is also involved in the Cranfield Trust and the Young and Giving mentorship programme. Mentoring young people to pursue their career 1810CE01 aspirations is something that Kam feels passionately about. A key piece of advice that Dr Pooni strongly believes in is that you should actively seek out mentors. “Self-awareness is a valuable asset and acknowledging you don’t know everything can help you find the people you need to fill the gaps. A formal or informal mentor can help you with that, by helping you recognise your talents and identify your limitations”. Kam himself admits to openly welcoming constructive feedback from his team, pointing out “sometimes it takes someone with a completely different skill set and point of view to show you where the solution lies, one person alone cannot know everything”. In fact, creating a company culture where knowledge sharing, regular feedback and delegation empower the people who work there is something Dr Pooni strives for. An open-door policy goes hand in hand with his open personality, while on a day-to-day basis he works hard to listen to the people he brings on board, knowing that people are the resource that investors really invest in.