Meet Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss 2018
Insight and inspiration from a trailblazing woman in business
The Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss Awards aim to recognise and celebrate successful South African businesswomen whose courage and innovative approach to business reflect the spirit of Madame Clicquot who, with exacting standards and audacity, brought the world the legacy of Veuve Clicquot.
We toasted to the success of humanitarian entrepreneur and Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss 2018 Dr Judey Pretorius and asked her to share her remarkable business journey as an inspiration to South African women already in business or wishing to follow in her footsteps.
Q: What an honour to speak to such a trailblazing businesswoman in person. Congratulations on claiming the title of Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss 2018! Let’s start at the beginning, please share with us what first inspired you to enter this prestigious competition?
A: Undoubtedly this highly prestigious competition will allow me to reach out to more female businesswomen and aspiring female entrepreneurs than I am currently able to do. By entering I wanted to motivate women to rise to the challenge of striving toward a better and brighter force of female businesswomen within the corporate arena.
Q: We’d love to find out about the finer details of what you do and what a day in your business life entails. Please give us some insight into your company, Biomedical Emporium and its various facets.
A: As the co-founder of the family Biotechnology business called Biomedical Emporium, I’m an accomplished Biomedical Scientist and product development specialist with substantial experience in the fields of wound healing, regenerative medicine, and cell therapy. I earned my Master’s degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology, followed by my Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, medicine development and design.
I gained extensive experience as a Research and Development Formulation Scientist where I was responsible for Scientific and Biomedical formulation of therapeutic products of premium brands. My contributions included cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical and medical device developments.
I’ve constructed various accredited laboratories to design, develop and manufacture products for the cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical and medical device industry. I’m also a shareholder in the construction of various hospitals in South Africa as this will allow for more sustainable health care in respective geographical areas in the country.
Because I’m an academic at heart and my approach toward business always comes with an academic undertone, I give numerous presentations at accredited aesthetic medicine conferences and academic institutions. I lecture in skin histology, biochemistry, medical chemistry, tissue engineering and medical aesthetics together with numerous leaders in dermatology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, aesthetic medicine and skin therapy.
Q: South Africa is in dire need of more female businesswomen and entrepreneurs to empower women in business. What do you want to achieve as the 2018 Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss?
A: Women have long been underrepresented in entrepreneurship. I most definitely have a great responsibility to ensure that the trend should be shifting. Even greater than the gender disparity between entrepreneurs is that of role models for aspiring female entrepreneurs. In a business environment dominated by males, the ability to access a woman role model with personal experience is a significant challenge.
Women have to cope under difficult circumstances and challenges in their personal lives, women become the backbone not only for their families but also for their communities. Therefore, women should invest in their entrepreneurial skills and be achievers in their own field of expertise. A great effort is needed to emphasise to women their current circumstances shouldn’t determine their future. Control your mind and you control your destiny.
Q: Whether we are extroverts or introverts, we all draw inspiration and personal rewards from a certain aspect of our daily work. Which part of what you do gives you the most strength to persevere?
A: I always conducted formal and informal research to find solutions for friends, family, patients and the community with various health concerns, and in particular skin deficiencies. There is nothing more rewarding than formulating and designing a product that has a very favourable biological and therapeutic effect on an individual. Through extensive and continued research and development, I have been able to formulate an innovative line of products that work symbiotically to stimulate cellular rejuvenation and repair mechanisms for a healthier lifestyle. When people return repeatedly to use a product that you have developed – it is most definitely motivating to continue and persevere.
Q: What are the leadership qualities you admire in your peers? Have there been leaders in your life who have inspired you, what effect did these impressions have on your business path?
A: I admire determination, passion and integrity in my peers. It is very rewarding to see how someone can move forward gracefully and make a powerful impact within their business after overcoming a great deal of obstacles and challenges. I admire leaders who carry on and continue to motivate and do what they love most; perhaps that is the definition of passion, i.e. when you do not mind “suffering” for what you love most.
I’ve learned through great sacrifices, perseverance, commitment and faith that I can make a difference to many other people other than myself and still enjoy contentment and satisfaction that life offers.
Q: What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
A: Being Treated Equally
One of the biggest challenges many females are facing is equality in the workplace.
I was once called to a meeting where I had to go present all the technical formulations of a new medical drug I was formulating. As I entered the boardroom, I was the only female there. Just before my presentation started, I was asked to call the “technical guy” from my company to present. I then replied that I was in fact the “technical guy” although I was a woman. These gentlemen were so astounded and perhaps somewhat shocked that a female could have the skills to present chemical formulations to them. This made me realise that women are acutely underrepresented in my field, and those who are in the field need to speak up more!
Q: What are some of the benefits of entering this award that may not be apparent to potential candidates from the outset?
A: Building A Sisterhood
A big challenge to females in the corporate environment today is reaping support from other women. My advice to women in South Africa is to support and empower each other, starting with our basic principles of who we are — our morals, values, integrity. We must be just. Be humbled, show togetherness, passion, excellence and enthusiasm toward laying the foundation for our progress through our work.
Q: And finally, what’s next for the Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss winner 2018?
A: I am far too restless to be satisfied with one achievement. I continuously conduct research in various fields.
My next major achievement is that I have to build and obtain an accreditation on various laboratories over the African continent where I formulate and manufacture medical devices, pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical products for the respective SADC countries as well as the French speaking countries in Africa.
I will be providing pharmaceutical solutions within the disciplines for HIV/AIDS, Neurodegenerative diseases, Ophthalmology, Oncology, Nephrology, acute and chronic wound care.
Lastly, I am excited to be part of a construction project of building new hospitals in South Africa as well as other African countries. If all goes well, the first 200 bed hospital will be finished by the end of 2019.
For more visit the ELLE website: https://www.elle.co.za/life-and-culture/elle-boss
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