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A Tech Star Confesses

“Really? I Can Work and Make a Positive Impact!”

Priti Shah thought she’d seen it all regarding workplace possibilities, during many years working for various ‘by the book’ tech companies. When she discovered Wolters Kluwer, she could barely believe her good fortune at finally finding both her place and her purpose.

You’ve been working at tech and IT companies for a long time. What made you decide to make the move to Wolters Kluwer- were you headhunted, or did you apply for this position?

When the recruiter contacted me, I wasn’t actively looking, but I was considering a change. I knew that Wolters Kluwer offered tax and accounting solutions, so I thought the initial contact was about that. I was less familiar with the company’s healthcare solutions, or the rest of the portfolio.

What attracted you specifically?

As I began researching Wolters Kluwer, one of the things that really fascinated me was that the  leader of the Executive Board is a woman. And then when I looked at the board of directors, and the leadership team, I thought: WOW! There are so many women. This is great!

As a woman leader working in some of the more traditional technology companies, I was more an exception rather than the rule; gender diversity wasn’t a norm at higher levels of management. At Wolters Kluwer, I now had the possibility of working in an environment of many strong women leaders who could serve as mentors and advocates. This was a huge part of my decision-making. In previous companies, [she laughs] I’d never seen anything like this rich diversity of women in leadership positions. For me, that was the deal maker.

Also, Wolters Kluwer is committed to grooming and developing new female leaders, so it was clearly a great opportunity for me.

Stepping into an environment where you can find mentors is such an important factor for people in leadership. Once you get past a certain level, it’s hard to find mentors who can give you the support you need to keep progressing.

Absolutely!

Just in the last ten years, we’ve seen so much change here, as women reach levels where they can mentor other women. It means so much to all of us to have that opportunity, that everyone is willing to mentor someone the next step down.

Personally I find it fascinating to work for an organization that has a female CEO. There’s a huge appreciation for work-life balance here, which is so important. We are also empowered to generate ideas and make decisions via good, healthy debate. Ultimately, this culture of inclusion and openness helps all of us make impactful, thoughtful  business decisions. We tackle a problem with multiple lenses and come up with the right decisions. I’m a huge advocate of working this way.

What solutions were you initially brought in to work on?

I was brought in to work on UpToDate®, which I didn’t know about initially. A funny coincidence happened though – my mum and some of my other family members are clinicians, and I asked them if they knew of this product. They just laughed and said, “Sure! I’ve been using it my entire life.” That was good enough for me!

Is that still one of the key products in your portfolio?

Yes, it’s a flagship product in the market, and we have enhanced its effectiveness with UpToDate Advanced, which we announced this year. With UpToDate Advanced, clinicians can streamline care using pathways for interactive decision-making based on a patient’s data, as well as evaluate abnormal test results and decide next steps. This solution was developed specifically to tackle care variability, which compromises care and increases costs. In fact, our pathways target common medical conditions with known variability so our customers can standardize their quality of care and keep the cost of care in line. It was in beta for a year before going live this year. Seven months after the global launch, we’ve reached almost 80% of this year’s goal. It is clearly resonating with the market, so of course that makes my work feel very satisfying.

That’s a great result.

Thank you. When I stepped into this position, I knew I would bring the same A-game as I brought to VOIP or enterprise platform products. The team here is amazing – from our large team of world-class physician editors and peer reviewers to UX Designers, Product Managers and Product Marketers. I bring the same spirit and passion I used to bring to my previous positions, but now my work is full of purpose! I’m able to use my knowledge of technology to work on products that really empower and impact people’s lives. That’s unique and really rewarding!

What software products are you managing here? What’s different about what you’re doing at Wolters Kluwer?

The solutions portfolios I manage are perceived primarily as content-centric, but that’s not all they are. We’re not just serving up content, we’re ensuring that the information is available where clinicians are working, for example, in electronic medical record systems. What’s different about what we’re doing is that ultimately, we’re developing solutions that harmonize care. We know that when providers and their patients aren’t aligned, care suffers. This misalignment is often due to decision-making that is based upon inconsistent or incomplete information. Our solutions address this so that all clinicians involved in a patient’s care, as well as the patient herself, are making decisions from a common source of information provided by our solutions.

The impact our solutions have on care is demonstrated by the tremendous support from end-user clinicians and c-suite executives who are eager to be part of customer advisory panels. They readily make themselves available to my product managers and designers, when we reach out for feedback, which is really encouraging. They’re willing to take time out of their packed schedules to ensure our solutions are evolving to meet their needs and their patients.

It seems like this opportunity that crossed your path two years ago has really worked out for you. Is there anything else that you’d like to share about yourself as a person?

I define myself as a mum, a wife, a daughter and a professional woman who creates impact; I’m a combination of all these lenses – all of them make me whole! [She laughs]

My professional achievement is very important to me. I want to be a role model for my daughter, just as my mum was for me, and for a lot of young girls back in India, where I originally come from. If you’re tenacious, you really can have it all. You can be successful and compassionate. They are not mutually exclusive.

I have a strong business background and I could have gone and worked in the world of finance or investment banking, but I wanted to work with products that impact people’s lives. I want to work in a way that that makes me come home feeling like I’ve given it my all each day, and that I’ve had a true and positive impact. I think that’s who I am.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Priti!

Read more about the power of purpose