This month’s Member Spotlight
Heba el Mahdy
Country Director Egypt & Horn of Africa
Johnson & Johnson – Consumer
1.Can you tell us a bit about your background and your role?
I am the Country Director for Egypt & Horn of Africa at Johnson & Johnson Consumer. I am responsible for all commercial operations with full P&L responsibility and I lead a very diverse and multicultural team.
I spent my career in Consumer Marketing before I moved to a commercial role five years ago, first as Managing Director for Egypt and more recently with added responsibility for the Horn of Africa. I’m really enjoying stepping up to the challenge of a commercial leadership role and I feel privileged to be part of a company where you’re constantly given the opportunity to stretch and challenge yourself.
2.Why are you passionate about the mission of the LEAD Network?
I have been fortunate throughout my career to have supportive managers and outstanding mentors. However, I’ve also faced my share of challenges which at the time felt like monumental roadblocks.
It’s during these challenging moments that knowing you have a support network like LEAD really makes a difference. I have an immense appreciation for what LEAD does, providing support system via education, networking and experience sharing, as well as collaborating with companies to help them move into a more inclusive and supportive environment for women. When I’ve felt challenged, it’s the network and opportunity to learn from others who have faced similar obstacles that’s really helped me and given me the confidence to overcome anything.
3. What would you say is one of the most adventurous or riskiest moves you’ve made professionally?
Two particular moves come to mind. At the beginning of my career, I decided to work in Consumer Marketing. With my degree in Pharmaceutical Science, a lot of the people around me didn’t understand why I would want to take this path at the time. It was a big decision, but I knew it was the right thing for me and it has certainly paid off.
12 years later, deciding to move into a commercial role – a male dominated field where most of my stakeholders and direct reports were older men – was a daunting but exciting prospect. It’s a move I have never regretted and it has allowed me to grow and develop in new directions.
Both decisions turned out to be the best professional decisions I made as they not only accelerated my career but also gave me the thrill and enjoyment I look for in my day-to-day work.
4. What would you tell your younger self to ease her heart?
Always believe in yourself and know that there are no limits to what you can do despite what people might think or say. Don’t push yourself too hard to prove your value. And, only be yourself because that is where all your strength lies.