Angela Hwang is a name that is still unknown by many.
If you didn’t know, she leads the group that produced the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine at Pfizer and is ranked #16 on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list.
Originally from South Africa, Angela grew up in the era of Apartheid. As a result, she didn’t have the same access to educational resources due to racial segregation. However, she credits her parents for painting a world with much larger possibilities than reality, which gave her the ability to dream big. Angela began her career as a biochemist in South Africa, before the turning point in her career.
Today, Angela is the Group President at Pfizer, leading a 26,000 people organization with seven business units, generating $42 billion in revenues in 2020. Together, these businesses strive to deliver transformational medicines that address major global health priorities in cancer, rare disease, inflammation & immunology, primary care, infectious diseases, and preventative care with vaccines. Even more incredible, she launched a podcast series in 2019 called Diverse Perspectives, where she hosts global thought leaders pioneering change across a variety of industries.
Mom, work, daughter, caretaker, podcaster, how does she do it all?
Angela stresses that she leads with her ability to create a strong vision, objective, and purpose. Once those are created, she lets people run with it. Her trust in her team members allows her to manage the $42 billion enterprise with grace. Teamwork, she stressed, is how she gets it done.
What kind of leader is Angela?
In an interview with BioCT, Angela shares the following traits have helped her get to where she is today:
- Creating an environment of fairness
- The South African spirit in her: gritty, determined, hardworking
As leaders, you may have a success formula of your own. I have worked with leaders who are known for driving results, who are known for seeing a bold future that doesn’t seem possible today, and those who can generate enthusiasm in his/her listeners. Regardless of what has made you successful, I would encourage you to really reflect on how curious are you as a leader.
Angela says she always has a thousand questions for everything. There is a reason she thought of curiosity as the top trait she has that has made her successful.
How do you become more curious?
It starts with acknowledging that you still don’t know a lot about the world. It takes discipline to challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and be vulnerable. Being curious allows leaders to continue to challenge the status quo and create bold futures for their organizations to step into.