On Sept. 8, 2016, Deborah Waterhouse published, “A Recipe for Business Success? 3 ingredients that I always use,” on LinkedIn. At the time, Waterhouse was living in the U.S. and working for GSK as SVP and business unit head for primary care. Today, she serves as CEO of ViiV Healthcare, a joint venture (JV) between GSK, Pfizer, and Shionogi focused on HIV. During my interview of Waterhouse for the April 2019 feature article in Life Science Leader, I asked what prompted her to write that LinkedIn post. “I was frequently asked for advice about how I achieved success,” she begins. “As I was relatively new at the time to LinkedIn, I thought it would be a good platform to share some of what I had learned.”
Waterhouse says she had no expectation as to how many people would click on or read the article. “The fact that it has reached over 1,000 took me a bit by surprise,” she admits.
When asked if she’d revise anything given her experience of having since become a CEO, she replies no. “It was written from the heart, and I still stand behind that advice today,” she states. What was her advice?
Facilitate surround-sound feedback.
Move forward at the right time with the right people.
See the light at the end of the tunnel, and make sure everyone has the tools to get there.
Apparently, her wisdom touched a nerve, for she has received numerous invites to speak on the subject. Although a bit surprised by this interest, she says the people who know her best, “know that my brand is one of strong leadership with an emphasis on people. Companies want to attract great talent that people in the outside world are anxious to collaborate with. And that begins with leadership at the very top of the organization.”