Naazia Mamdoo plays a valuable role in our Agri Inputs and Services segment. She is currently employed as a Responsible Pharmacist and QA Manager at Kyron—a career in which she finds tremendous fulfilment. Originally from Durban, Naazia proudly holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy qualification as well as an MBA. As Kyron currently boasts over 186 registered trademarks, Naazia’s job is no easy feat. The company develops, imports, and manufactures medication that serves both the production and companion animal health markets. Naazia recently celebrated her 4-year work anniversary—a position that she attributes as her greatest career milestone. She values the autonomy and flexibility that her role provides—particularly as a full-time working mother. While balancing a career along with raising a family certainly comes with its challenges, Naazia attributes Kyron’s compassionate culture to making this possible. We took a moment to chat to her about her career journey.
Please provide some insight into your years of experience within the industry.
“I have wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare industry for as long as I can remember,” says Naazia. “I have a total of approximately 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having spent 6 of those years within the animal/veterinary health industry,” continues Naazia.
“I began working at a dispensing doctor’s surgery as a student and remained there for 9 years of my career. This was my very first job. I learnt how to counsel patients and be more compassionate, and also learned a great deal about different medicines. This position acted as a strong stepping-stone in preparing me for my career. Shortly after, I completed my internship at a public hospital in KZN that catered for approximately 2000 outpatients and 1500 inpatients on a daily basis.
Admittedly, while I have a strong position in the sector now, I found getting a foothold into the pharmaceutical industry to be extremely challenging. After completing my internship, I chose the next best career option at the time and started a new position at a courier pharmacy. While this wasn’t exactly what I wanted at the time, it did bring me great joy in assisting renal and oncology patients, with their healthcare needs for approximately 3 years.
Shortly after this, I received my first real entry into the sector by joining a clinical trial facility. This position opened up another career milestone for me as a Production Manager for a complementary medicine facility and pharmaceutical company. After a year and a half in production pharmacy, I moved on to take an opportunity in quality compliance and regulatory affairs. Following which, I then moved into a senior role of Responsible Pharmacist for almost 3 years.
At this point in my life, I decided to slow down ever so slightly and become more active in the lives of my children. This required making a small sacrifice of working as a consultant for almost 2 years, consulting in regulatory affairs as well as quality systems in both the human and animal health industries. While this was an exceptionally rewarding experience, it was challenging from an economic point of view. After ensuring that my children were more settled from a school point of view, I decided to focus on my career aspirations once again—which led me to starting a new journey at Kyron Animal Health (as we know it now).
I began at Kyron at a critical time, needing to get the site SAHPRA licenced as an applicant and move the process of the quality management system forward. However, I must say, at this stage, having explored most of the diversities that the pharmaceutical industry had to offer, I really believed that regulatory affairs was my calling until this position made me realise that my passion is definitely quality assurance. I have no doubt and will never look back again,” says Naazia.
The United Nations has identified a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and gender equality (SDG 5) is one of them. Achieving equality by 2030 requires urgent action. In light of this, what do you believe can be done for women to receive more opportunities in the sector?
“I would say from my personal standpoint, as a wife and a very family-orientated human being who also holds my career dear to me—I do believe that a good, healthy work life balance with a reasonable degree of flexibility will allow women to function optimally and attain success in this sector,” says Naazia. “The pharmaceutical industry along with the veterinary industry is equipped in such a way that women are able to lead their teams to success without sacrificing their family life. I believe that if this balance continues and is supported by organisations, then companies have a better chance of success and achieving high performance teams.
At Kyron, I have received so much respect from my colleagues (top management to the bottom) male and female, who have played a big role in me being able to be successful in my function within the organisation and as a mother,” continues Naazia.
Have you ever had a career mentor? Or anyone that you have admired within the industry?
“My manager—Dr Jan Wentzel—has been instrumental within my career,” says Naazia. “I hold the sincerest appreciation for his backing and understanding in supporting all the quality decisions that have been made during my tenure. The autonomy that he has provided has really allowed me to grow within the company. He has certainly served as a career mentor to me by leading by example. One day, I aspire to do this for someone who reports to me. I also owe a great deal of gratitude towards my colleagues, Lee-Ann Charters and Catherine Wiid. Lee-Ann—for guiding me by sharing her wealth of knowledge in her capacity as the RA Manager for Kyron, and Catherine— for always reminding me to be kind to myself. We started as a small team with small goals and today are growing rapidly as a bigger team with bigger goals. None of this would have not been possible alone”, concludes Naazia.