Episode 71 Transcript

Welcome to episode 71 of the Business in
Morocco Podcast we have a special guest
with us today we have Radia Houari who
has had a long career in the corporate
world working in Morocco and around the
world in the pharmaceutical industry and
so we're very excited to have you
ray dia thank you so much for being here
thank you for letting me Ryan so would
you mind just introducing yourself where
you grew up a bit of your education and
a quick overview of your career? So I had
the chance to embrace our the diversity
of our beauty country very early my
father was working in the administration
he was actually a judge and we were
moving across the country so I I was
born in water that's exactly more
village culture so max a Maxie region so
and then I we moved to the north so I
grew and grew up in in the north of
Morocco in a region called the toe nets
especially in small village called the
last day where I studied my primary
school and my secondary school a great
experience because I had I discovered
actually a different culture different
tastes different landscapes and
different kind of people and especially
the diversity of our beautiful country
then we moved after work to fast which
is my home parent city okay I studied on
the high school and and then I moved to
the University where I got my bachelor
degree I was also in Fez infests exactly
before so join in Casablanca I got
married and I came to Casablanca with my
husband and then
had my first my first job as a medical
Rep where I have to travel around the
country so I continue discovering my own
country and discovering this very very
nice nice people the music the taste the
colors it's amazing how our Morocco is
beautiful and then when I got through
the the seniority I'm working with
multinationals I have to travel the
world I'm going to many amazing places
but I got the confirmation that Morocco
is the beautiful country in the world
when you were at university how did you
go about searching for your first job
and and how did you end up in the
medical field was that something he
wanted to always do this is a very good
question so actually my dream is my
dream was to become a doctor because
when I was young I had some health
issues and I was always ill and when it
happens to me it was like it was
recurrent and I spent a night suffering
and in the morning when we go to the
doctor and giving me medicines
it was like magic or someone who has six
years old just to relieve in this pain
and I see the doctor like like someone
who is a miracle for me it is so
respectful that I I wanted to to help
others I wanted them to feel good and to
feel better so even if I was more like
like gifted for writing and all this
social field
I was working very hard actually to just
to be to to to be able to go to the
science field and to do medicine but
unfortunately I didn't succeed my my
tests to access the University of
Medicine this was my first my first
failure hit my life and it was a very
tough and very hard
then I had no other options rather than
to go to university so but the big issue
when I got my Bachelor at that time
there was an employment crisis you know
I was high qualified for some jobs and I
was low qualified or not local if I'd
actually mic my background is not
matching with the job so University is
not training and us to be able to get
position when you are up and I couldn't
go further in my study because at that
time there was no research and
development to prepare to HD so I was
stuck in I couldn't go abroad because I
am married so it was not possible so I
searched very hard for the job I sent
like hundred of requests and then I went
to do you know come the door to door I
was knocking the doors companies meeting
with the with the general managers and
some of them were so kind and they say
yes we want to get you there but you
know you you you are high qualified or
you are not much in what we want to
offer to you so then I had to go back
and prepare some accounting degree and
some and by hazard
there was an ad in the newspaper for a
mid rep position I didn't know what does
it mean at that time I just went and and
applied and I got the role and I loved
why because it was matching my purpose
was this what I discovered is that I
want I want patients to feel better and
they discovered that a doctor is very
important because he is diagnosing the
disease but without the drug that I took
I couldn't feel better actually right so
all of sudden my purpose
was aligned fully aligned with the job I
was doing Wow the fact that I was I
moved a lot in my childhood this I love
the people I love meeting and
discovering you know you know how people
are thinking and this this I think
moving from school to school having to
manage anew to have a new friends every
time so this is developed on me this
this flexibility and to adapt quickly to
the change and to the people so I had a
job which is feeling my purpose what I
have to meet the people all over the day
and make patients who feel better so wow
that's incredible just seeing how your
your story unfolded and there's a lot of
lessons that we can learn from there and
then I love that you found a new role
that that met your purpose that you had
and that figure with your skill set so
well that's really cool plus the
perseverance you know when you talked
about knocking on doors and going from
manager to manager and facing a lot of
nose but continuing to try and find a
new job even in the midst of a crisis
where there wasn't a lot of jobs
available and you were able to find a
great role so a lot of lessons we can
learn from that yeah it's very
appropriate for today I think a lot of
people leaving University are gonna have
a tough time finding a job during this
economy given the the coronavirus maybe
you could talk a little bit about what
you learned in those early days of sales
knowing that some people may not have
the opportunity to get a job and they
may need to do entrepreneurship or they
meet need to be involved in sales can
you talk a little bit about your
experience in sales and maybe give our
listeners some tips on on ways to
succeed in sales so the first thing the
you have to know your products by heart
you know - you have to master what you
are every single words you are seeing to
your customer you know it very well
and you feel it and you are fully
convinced you have to love your products
if you don't love what you are selling
you will need convey this this message
because you can you know say the words
but the person in front of you can fill
if you are convinced or not yeah this is
very important the basics you have to
know your product the second thing you
have to love your clients and your
customer when I mean love it's a win-win
relationship I need to put myself in his
shoes and see what he is looking for and
they try to fulfill his needs and in
order to do this you have to be an
active listener because sometimes as a
seller you have the arguments and you
have our script and just we go top top
top you have just to step back to
observe to see how he is behavior what
he is seeing
and here it's listening and try to
answer what he is addressing as
objection and what he needs so this is a
very important it's about him it's not
about you mm-hmm that's great advice
yeah that's excellent
the third thing is the communication you
have to have certain communication
skills to convey the message and this is
learning so you have to develop yourself
and it's a continuous learning process
the the thing is that and the third
thing and you have to close the deal
because sometimes you we build a good
relationship at the beginning we succeed
to have the attention of the the client
the product is very good
everything is fine it's convinced but if
I forget to close the deal idea I have
to sign the contract and to make sure
that the the other thing is the check
because some time with some customers
they are so kind that they will tell you
what you want to to here you have to
double check if it's a reality please do
because because it's a good relationship
it doesn't want to bother you at cetera
the other thing which is all very
important after it should visit to the
customer you have to add the end when
you leave the office you have to ask
yourself what I did well and what do I
have to improve and starting from there
you will have the continuous improvement
process process in each visit and you
will improve on on every day so this is
very important this question how can I
improve this is a critic and I can tell
you this is the question I am asking
myself till now after business review
after meeting after any session after
our session today I always sit with
myself and say right there once you did
well what you could improve
wow that's great this is the and
development the self development is
continuous process
yeah you should never stop especially
now things are moving very very fast and
the access to knowledge is so democratic
but everyone is in the same speed so and
everything is on the top so you have
still to compete them to be to catch up
if you don't develop yourself you feel
immediately you know just out of the
game yeah I think that that is important
for all for everyone to keep in mind so
you started out as a sales rep can you
talk a little bit about your career
progression how you moved from a sales
rep up
into leadership and manager role so
actually it's a plan and the first thing
to get there I have to study this is
that you have to have a diploma or you
have to have certain tools to be this
one the credibility legit illegitimate
II and when I was a medical Rep because
I loved what I was doing I had been
successful you know in this in this
journey and I got promoted to to other
roles within the organizations but I
choose to lower the speed of my career
so I spent seven years in sales as rep
and as a sales manager and during those
seven years I got my do my two children
so it was a choice first I have to
secure the education of my children to
have work-life balance and once they
start to grew up when my daughter has
seven years old it was time to fast
track and in order to fast track I made
you know kind of beyond the competence
so kind of assessment of my competencies
and say if I want to be a good manager
what are the skills that I need I was a
commercial self I was I have been all
the time in the field I didn't know what
happens in the company accounting
finance HR governance I didn't know
anything about those things and for a
manager he needs to have this kind of
skills then I decided to stop to the to
resign from my position as after seven
years experience why it was very hard to
talk to take this job we go and study so
I prepared my master on management's
full-time two years just to learn how to
manage and when I got graduated from
after the two years I choose
to go for local company and not
multinational because in pay me you have
the chance to to be generalists to touch
too many areas in multinationals you
have very specialists if you are in
marketing you are a brand manager and
you do the brand management while it
gives you the opportunity to go from the
end-to-end process so I was enough lucky
so I have I I had to the headhunter I
submit my CV to look for position and
there was an open position for a sales
manager at a local company which is a
pay me but I had a lot of chance because
the the owner of this company was the
political ECM so he was a very high
level of he was very smart and he was
the one who built this company and he
was he had the name ba Executive MBA
INSEAD and his company was like Silicon
Valley company very well structured very
agile and he saw that I was so eager to
learn and then he put me in mini
projects and when I joined they were
preparing for the ISO 9000 quality and I
learned a lot were really a great
learning experience and he encouraged me
to go for an Executive MBA oho said he
and so I was doing still learning
continue to learn while I was in the job
it was not in pharmaceutical it was in
chemical industry completely different
field so after two years I learned what
I had to learn but my purpose was to
help patients feel better you remember
yeah since you're six so I went back to
the pharma and I joined at that time
multi-national she's done Wolfie for in
marketing this time I planned my career
I know that I want to be a general
manager at one point of time I had a
sales experience I had to learn the
marketing experience and afterward I the
the objective is to be a head of sales
and marketing to have the to and the
next step would be the the general
management position so this is how I
planned my career and always learning
always has never stopped I prepared my
executive mba and then consciously then
I want to Leadership Program in Columbia
University and in between the business
book always with me so I have a great
bibliothèque all the executive coaches
around the world and it's not only about
reading the book my books you will find
a sticker you will find the paragraphs
highlighted and for each time I read
something and I know I need to develop I
write it and they have an action plan to
to improve so it's practicing it's
really practicing yeah and with
multinationals what she is very good
they are investing a lot in people
management's yeah so you learn you learn
a lot while you are doing the job and
you have the chance to access to the to
the most advanced tools in terms of
learning mm-hmm Wow I love those again
those themes that are coming through
just of continuous learning and you're
really intentionally you decided after
your kids have grown up a little bit you
were coming back into the workforce what
is it that I want what is my purpose and
what do I need to get there and you took
the steps even though that would have
been very challenging you know going to
school full-time for two years and then
just in a real Silicon Valley type
company where you're learning a ton but
you had great lessons to never stop
learning and continuously be improving
what I wanted to highlight also it's
never easy when
we met people who success succeeded in
their life we see success but we didn't
see the process it's extremely hard you
have to invest the time you have to
invest the energy and do win because you
have to sacrifice your weekends
you have to stay you know like 2:00 a.m.
to the morning just working and even
when you are in the job to succeed in
the job you have to be the best version
of yourself and you have to impress your
manager it's not only to do the job and
to get the job done it's to go beyond
this right extra mile yes exactly I
think that's a great piece of wisdom a
great piece of advice I do think a lot
of people don't understand how people
become successful how people get to
leadership positions and big companies
or how they start new companies and and
become successful that there's always
hard work and determination and
sacrifice it's always a common theme in
success stories so I hope that's
something that our listeners take away
from what you said is so important this
idea of hard work I wanted to ask you
next about what what are you doing right
now what is your current business what
work are you doing right now
and what do you think about the health
and pharmaceutical situation here in
Morocco so another challenge out of my
comfort zone moving from corporations
being you know the vice-president and
the jail manager for the second biggest
company in North Africa having your
staff of experts top experts in the
market helping you doing the job having
a lot of privilege and then deciding to
be an entrepreneur and to start from
yeah with everything by yourself you
know it's not an easy so the first thing
is that you learn how your teams were
suffering and the hard work that they
were doing to bring you the perfect job
on the table because now you go through
the whole process by yourself yeah the
second thing is that relationship is
very important and the network is very
important and one you once you are when
you are see you in the company you have
to keep in mind that one day you will be
in the other part of the you know of the
desk you will be the one who are coded
for business so when you have a partner
coming to come for business just keep
this in mind yeah ternary bridges yes so
actually I have been enjoying this
experience because it's a different
different experience because you know
maybe I have to share we do this before
deciding to go for for the brightened
partner's advisory firm I met some peers
other CEOs in other companies to see
what is their needs and the question is
was how can I help you if tomorrow I and
after you know hours of discussion
I discovered that I can help them in
many areas you know in the investment
choices cells marketing piano
you know management lots of lots of
things so and then to summarize the role
or the scope is doing exactly what I was
doing while I was a general manager you
have a problem coming to your new table
and you have to find the point so we do
so what I am doing is I am advising
companies leadership teams to achieve a
profitable growth for their organization
to pack solutions to some some issues
advising investment fund who wants to
come to to Morocco to acquire companies
mentoring so during this confinement
period I had also the opportunity to
mentor some CEOs wants to ask questions
good questions about what's next how to
to get it right and the CEO position is
role is a very lucky role so you are by
doing you need someone just to think we
do and help you explore a broader range
of opportunities with regard to
healthcare sector in Morocco the first
thing is that there has been huge
efforts to improve the situation in
terms of upgrading you know the number
hospitals increasing the number of
hospitals the capacity and also the
quality improving the quality of the
services expanding the Health Care
Insurance Scheme but still despite all
those efforts the perception at the
patient level is not there so they do
have high expectations so we are not not
there the other thing when it comes to
the pharma pharma industry it is is the
moroccan pharma industry is the second
strongest industry in africa behind
South Africa
we we are we are able to cover 60% of
the need of the of the patients here in
Morocco the the network is we do have a
strong Network in terms of distribution
channel 60 wholesalers 7,000 pharmacists
so whenever you go you can find your
your your drug and the network is so is
so big and even you can the pharmacy can
get what they want many times during the
day so those elements are are very
important so I think this go get crisis
is a great opportunity for Brooke it
puts the old industries in fast track so
we gained like 10 years in terms of
development what is the opportunity for
Morocco in terms of of healthcare is the
today we had awareness the reason
increase in awareness how healthcare is
very important so I hope this will help
to have a big higher budget you know
that today the expense for each patient
or they say the expenditure in terms of
drug is like $400 per inhabitant per
year really low in terms of health care
coverage fifth more than 50% is is
covered it's a lot of pockets which
means is the coming from patients
pockets there is a lot to improve in
this so health access is a major issue
so coming to the budget if we have
higher budget at the healthcare we can
manage this healthcare access and
fulfill this need so the fact that there
is an increase of awareness may help
Minister of Health to get more budget
for for healthcare and also the fund
that have been you know in place
providing budget to to to the health to
the Minister of Health so I hope that
they can capitalize on this budget and
to to improve the the situation for the
industry we know how this crisis
highlighted the the need for
so we know that once we had this issue
China and India just closed their doors
while they are the ones who are
providing the api's and the room
actually owes to the whole planets and
the country start to think the
localization is good but we need to
secure a minimum in dependency for the
countries and Morocco can play a role
because we do have a strong industry
here in Morocco we have we have
commercial trade agreements with Europe
with us and now we are member of the
Africa yes and we do have we do have the
Tanzimat in terms of logistics yeah
we can take some some opportunities from
India and China in terms of
manufacturing and have it here in
Morocco and the position Morocco as a
hub Africa and also for for the other
region of the world I think it's a good
opportunity we need to take it and we
proved with managing this the crisis we
proved to the world that we can we have
the talent but it happens so we have all
the ingredients to succeed for the
future we need to come it's a turn
around we have to capture this
opportunity yeah we've we've discussed
this as well we really see Morocco as
extremely well positioned and great
opportunities for the future in being a
bridge between some of these these
Western markets and West Africa and just
the potential and the expansion that's
taking place there Morocco can really be
that that
nectar between them I have a question
about technology in in the healthcare
and specifically in pharmacies my
experience sometimes going to the
pharmacy I'll I'll ask for certain
medication and the pharmacy won't have
it and they'll get on the phone and
they'll call someone to ask if this
medication is available so my question
is what role do you think in technology
play in healthcare here Morocco
specifically you know why doesn't every
pharmacy have a computer that they can
check a database of available medicines
and just order those medicines online or
make requests that they be imported into
the country what do you for your
thoughts on that this is a very very
interesting I good and good points in
terms of supply chain management the
best that can happen to us is to have an
integrated solution from end to end
which means from the the industry to the
pharmacy you know like Sarah for example
in the retail market the one you buy
products is goes to the scan and
immediately it sends a signal to the
manufacturer inside and at the end of
the day they know how much pieces have
been sold in the world and how they can
manage their stocks it's critical in the
pharma even because in Morocco for
example by law you have to secure three
months stock for each products it's a
commitment how you can monitor this so
every month each in the pharma its
company stand a list of products to the
Minister of Health with the stocks
available best if we have this
integrated system coming from the
end-to-end you just go to the computer
for the for the Minister of Health even
and know exactly what is the stock at
the industry level at the wholesaler
level and at the pharmacy level but
unfortunately we don't
have the system right now in place so
this is a it's a very good point it will
help it will make the process very
transparent and help me little head to
monitor the stocks and the availability
and avoid to the pharmacy to call over
the phone to ask order for the products
I mean this could be an opportunity for
a Moroccan entrepreneur who maybe could
develop an app or a software program
that would integrate all of the
pharmacies and the wholesalers and the
manufacturers all together just on your
phone so you can track stock levels and
consumption through an app on your phone
and and as you said it would be real
time if I sell a certain amount of a
drug then I would reduce that quantity
and my stock and it would be it would be
real time so maybe that's not an
opportunity for a Moroccan programmer or
developer yes definitely um one thing we
really wanted to discuss with you we
know or idea that throughout your career
you've been a pioneer in many areas as
the lone female in the room working in
the corporate world working in
healthcare and in pharma there's been
often times where you are the the only
woman at the table could you share a
little bit of that experience and an
offer advice to the female listeners
that we have that are starting out their
career are young in there and their
professional life yeah so actually I
have been always the only woman the
leadership teams at local or
international level so the first thing I
have never felt that it is an advantage
or a disadvantage because I have been
always seen myself as professional and
collaborator employee and the holding
disfunction and I have to deliver on
this faction or on this position the the
it's not easy because as a female maybe
you have to meet the expectations and
also you have to monitor the perceptions
so I have always I had always had to be
the good example of the professional
Phoebus in Morocco and outside Morocco
so and II and more outside miroku
because you are an ambassador of your
country in at the global level so you
have to present your country the best
that you can and you have to come a
female can be very competent very
professional can deliver better than any
man so this is you have so the other
thing is that's when you when you are
granted the role I think my first
management role my manager he he lets a
bet on me said let's take the risk
because I'm this very senior position
you don't you cannot do them a mistake
when you are when you appoint someone as
a gentleman Adger and maybe as a man he
would think that he is taking the risk
because he doesn't know what a woman can
can deliver but I have been always you
know beyond with their expectation of my
managers and that's why I have been
promoted in in many minerals so the
advice is the first thing you have to
deliver man or woman you have to meet
the expectation you have to deliver your
number your objectives and you have to
be professional with integrity and
compliant for the woman the difficulty
is to get this access to the role what
happens today we will have a lot of mid
managers woman
when what win we'd come to leadership
position you know we are 52% female in
Morocco this is the static statistics
but are only three percent which are
sitting on the board of directors of
companies which is extremely low it
doesn't mean that we don't have a
competent woman and leaders and it means
that you have to be endorsed you have to
have someone to bring you to the seat
and so to move this back here I think
with women is that we we are not good in
network at at least working so men they
have this network they will be
recommended they will be pushed they
will be helped but you know we organize
the workshop I am man I am a member of
WFC which is what I'm working for change
a group of executives which want to
change things and we organize the focus
group yeah
seniors in the country and we discovered
a lot of things one of things is that
when when when when a woman rich top
position she do it by her own I have
been working very very very hard to
reach this position I studied I
developed myself I did a lot of things
but it's my on my own right I got the
opportunity of this manager who gave me
the opportunity but afterwards when a
man reached top position he is
surrounded with other men when a woman
face of fellows
she she caught by her own and no one
will be there to to help while men they
will be always there to help each other
and so we need to have this network the
strong network to be able to so you mean
of other women because I've seen like
you're talking about the the executive
group that you're part of women working
for change I've seen some other networks
online that are specifically for women
or are you saying women need to really
integrate into other networks but they
have a large collection of friends and
colleagues that are males as well so
they can be recommended for these roles
yes of course you have to have your
network male and female and you have to
the other thing which is very important
you have to have a sponsor what do you
mean my sponsor also would someone who
is who is supporting you who will be
talking about you when you are not in
the room when someone is looking for
position they said we need yes I have
someone for you okay an advocate we need
we need male who can advocate female
because today the decision makers are 90
percent male so we need them to advocate
this female and help them to be part of
those boards or leadership teams because
diversity is very important if you don't
have a woman in your board you are
missing 50 percent of potential
customers 52 perspective of course and
diversity is will always very important
when I come to your question what
advises be bold be porridges beyond
Bish's go and get what you want once as
don't wait for something someone don't
ask for pay me to speak you have to have
your share of voice don't wait for
someone to give you the seeds go and
take it this is something that we need
to develop as a woman to have the
courage to to
don't wait till you are perfect nobody
is perfect we are learning on the role
70% of the learning is on the roll
don't you know afraid of failure it's a
part of life to fail so that's okay so
we need more woman in executive position
and in senior position and my experience
they are great I I had you know in my
board female they did a great job
they are very engaged they are committed
they're loyal they are compliant so and
innovative yeah so that's great and I
think you know you you as a pioneer are
paving the way for others that are
coming after you because once you've
been the one woman in the room then it's
not nearly as much of a leap or a jump
to invite another woman into the room
because you've proven yourself and
you've helped shift people's perceptions
or their paradigms of what a board or a
leadership team should look like and so
I'm sure there's many women that are
grateful to you for helping clear the
way for them to come up and I am
grateful to the men who the first time
gave me the opportunity to have this
management position and there they were
many actually and I want to thank all
the men who are helping women to step up
and to rise and to get this kind of
position and to gain the self confidence
so yeah well I mean they're not doing it
as an act of charity they're doing it
because you're extremely capable and
it's good for the company so it makes
them look good it's a smart move on
their part yes yes yeah yeah it's always
a win-win relationship yeah oh that's
exciting right did you have any and I
think that's a great question to end on
it was very inspiring and a great advice
for for 52% of our listeners were
actually a hundred percent of our
listeners you know your advice applies
to everyone
be bold be courageous work hard take
risks you know sacrifice this is all
great advice that anyone should follow
and you know if you just endure and you
you work hard and produce results you'll
you'll see success you know in the end
so we thank you so much for your time
Rania and your experience and sharing
all these wise points with us we wish
you the best of luck in the future and
your your your consulting business as an
entrepreneur and hopefully we can have
you back on the podcast sometime soon
thank you for inviting me
thanks very thank you very much thank
you ready yeah bye

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