‘Johnson & Johnson has taught me to harness system smarts’

4 Sep 20193.83k Views

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Swami Raote. Image: Johnson & Johnson Vision Care

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Siliconrepublic.com spoke to global president of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Swami Raote, as he visited the company’s facility in Limerick.

Worldwide president for Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Vision Care, Swami Raote, flew into Ireland last week to visit the company’s facility in Limerick, one of its large-scale manufacturing operations for its contact lens business.

Raote is regular visitor in Ireland, meeting with employees to discuss and advance their leading work on eye health. On this occasion, he spoke to Siliconrepublic.com about the work that J&J Vision Care is doing today, and how Ireland plays an important role within the business strategy.

Vision care

We’re all familiar with the prevalence of eye conditions, whether it be nearsightedness or something more serious. Sight is arguably one of our most vital senses, integral in leading a healthy and productive life.

That quality of life can be better captured when eyesight problems are detected early, at more treatable or even preventable stages. Driving forward technologies to make accurate and fast detection are at the core of J&J Vision Care’s ethos.

“All of us value eyesight – it is the sense which drives learning, it is the sense that we fear losing the most,” Raote explained.

“Nearly 1.3bn people around the world face impaired vision and as we live longer and adopt more digital lifestyles, this problem is projected to grow. At Johnson & Johnson Vision, we are committed to changing the trajectory of eye health around the world by working in close partnership with eye care professionals.”

‘One of my favourite accountabilities as a leader is inspiring growth in young talent. I encourage our teams to learn every day and to understand the diverse ways we work across the world’
– SWAMI RAOTE

Raote also provided some insights into the kinds of technologies the company is working on right now, which include contact lenses that one day could deliver medicine alongside correcting vision.

“We now address patient needs in cataract surgery, laser vision correction and the treatment of ocular surface disease,” he said.

“We want to ensure that young people have dramatically reduced risk of myopic macular degeneration, retinal detachment or, in extreme cases, even blindness later in life.”

Irish workforce

J&J Vision Care’s Irish team is helping the company achieve these goals.

“Our Ireland manufacturing site is one of our large-scale manufacturing operations for our contact lens business,” Raote said.

“The site is critically important. Its workforce and capabilities are serving patients today with our current portfolio and are also working to deliver new breakthroughs in contact lens technology for the future.”

Earlier this year, an expansion plan was announced for the facility in Limerick, hiring 100 new staff for roles in manufacturing, process, quality and engineering.

“This additional talent is helping us bring new, innovative contact lens products to our patients and customers around the world at an industry leading pace,” Raote added.

The company also has plans to continue attracting new talent for its Irish workforce. Raote expressed particular pride about the Limerick facility’s apprenticeship programme, through which new talent can join J&J Vision, availing of exciting career opportunities and contributing meaningfully to its future.

“One of my favourite accountabilities as a leader is inspiring growth in young talent. I encourage our teams to learn every day and to understand the diverse ways we work across the world,” he said.

“We are investing to ensure we have a strong pipeline of talent, not just for today, but for the future. So far, we have been delighted with the calibre of apprentices we have recruited through this programme and we look forward to its continued success.

‘I have learned more than I ever imagined by serving in different business units and diving into new experiences with my colleagues and the healthcare professionals that we serve.’
– SWAMI RAOTE

Career advice

Finally, Raote gave some of his key tips and advice for people at any stage of their career.

“At Johnson & Johnson, I have had the fortune of my supervisors investing in my learning and growth through a variety of experiences across the company,” he said.

“I have learned more than I ever imagined by serving in different business units and diving into new experiences with my colleagues and the healthcare professionals that we serve. I also encourage experimenting with self to understand what truly drives us individually and to learn to be comfortable with our own aspirations versus seeking approval from others.

“Lastly, as good as we individually might be, Johnson & Johnson has taught me to harness ‘system smarts’ — involving and listening to others with diverse perspectives— to deliver on our mission in healthcare.

“This is how we operate on our best day at Johnson & Johnson and the advice is relevant for anyone who is inspired to make a difference in the world around them,” Raote concluded.

Lisa Ardill is a senior Careers reporter at Siliconrepublic.com

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