In this modern, ever-growing competitive era, most businesses tend to overlook one of the most significant aspects of their organization i.e., the people. Without question, they are the foundation of any business and carry the potential to take it to the zenith of success. While it is simple to attach this ideology to a business’s employees, it also holds immense value with respect to the world leaders who forge vital partnerships, pave the way for innovation, and advance the industry.
Successful world leaders genuinely understand this notion and believe in the idea of collective growth. In fact, it is one of the key factors that distinguishes successful entrepreneurs from their counterparts — their ability to delegate things, adapt to different scenarios, always be on the learning edge, and do multiple things at once. This characteristic is as true for those who are starting their entrepreneurial journey and for those who lead at the global level.
Cynthia Tsai, CEO of Tana Systems & Healthquest, stands out as a global leader who believes that the road to excellent global leadership cements on forming personal connections with the people along with a personal commitment to exploration and curiosity. In her dictionary, extraordinary global leaders are humble, recognize the contribution of others, value time, and most importantly, develop and use keen intuition.
In this exclusive cover feature, Cynthia discusses the importance of having people-centric culture & value that helps to make a mark on the global front.
People are the Key
According to Cynthia, the most significant part of any business is the people. Her experience of over four decades serving multiple business sectors has revealed that there is no other factor more essential to achieving success than people. “Watching a human hand place a catheter, sharing a spicy curry lunch with an engineer from Hyderabad, or celebrating the birthday of a fellow entrepreneur who has invented an energy drink from ketones is an exciting part of learning and observing. Nothing will overpower the presence of such an emotion,” she expresses.
She also believes in perceiving everybody’s life as a page-turning novel with a variety of twists and turns but comprising a powerful story from which ideas and solutions emerge to overcome business challenges. She says, “Whether your product is in Lopud, a beautiful small island off the coast of southern Croatia, or you wish to meet with the Technology Transfer officer in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, global leadership is about asking questions and listening to the response.”
While Cynthia has imprinted her name on a worldwide scale, her understanding of relying on people started a long time ago in the 1980s.
Taking the First Step
A graduate of Psychology from the University of Missouri, Cynthia Tsai commenced her professional journey in the finance industry on Wall Street, where she quickly rose through the ranks. The Wall Street education gave her a sturdy foundation for her current career as an entrepreneur and a global leader.
She recalls early on how stressful the job of an entrepreneur can be to strive for constant innovation and meet the demands of an evolving market place. She also understood that a CEO’s job requires thick skin and resilience to disruption, which at the time used to challenge her in the face of becoming a successful businessperson.
Cynthia found the answer in a multifaceted career filled with experience working in diverse fields and at various stages of company development. This helped her empathize with entrepreneurs and understand what they need to grow, flourish, and succeed. She understood that the perfect combination of creativity, skills, capabilities, and resources unite uniquely to create value for others. Along the way came the crucial understanding that by building relationships and collaborating with people, any individual could successfully navigate through any obstacle in their way.
With this core understanding, Cynthia spent 12 years on Wall Street as a Vice President with Merrill Lynch and Kidder Peabody and later introduced Healthquest, a global biotechnology and medical technologies advisory firm to the world in 1995. For her contribution to the medical world, just after three years, the Harvard Business School Alumni Chapter in New York recognized her with an Early-Stage Honor Roll Award for Entrepreneurship in 1999. And after five years, she also received a ‘Leading Woman Entrepreneur of the World’ Award from the Star Foundation in Overland Park, Kansas.
Fifteen years later, Cynthia became the CEO of Tana systems leading a team of fifty engineers in the US and five hundred engineers in India. Presently, at the firm, she looks after US business development and has negotiated multi-million-dollar contracts for the Company.
A Luck by Chance
Cynthia describes serendipity to have played a wonderful role in the formation of Tana Systems. It all happened while she was at a tech conference in Chicago when she saw a successful Indian Founder leading a number of tech companies. “I saw him enjoying an ice cream cone. His enjoyment of the moment encouraged me to want to meet him,” shares Cynthia.
Reaching out to him, she shared an excellent conversation with him that lasted an hour where they both shared many business interests in common. “He invited me to India to meet his team of impressive technologists, engineers, and world-leading scientists. Tana Systems was born from this connection. My fascination is with the discovery of the unique personalities of innovators that work to commercialize the technology.”
This essence of working collectively also translates well to the organization’s approach to ensuring optimal client satisfaction. “We focus on building and sustaining mutually beneficial relationships.”
Leading Like Cynthia
Being curious, staying relevant, and forging connections has made Cynthia Tsai what she is today. Hence, her advice to women entrepreneurs in the tech space also reflects the aesthetics of connecting with people and staying confident, prepared, and visionary. She says, “Firstly, write your own personal success plan for attainable and measurable goals. Secondly, strong networking skills are among the most important attributes of an effective global leader. Networking precedes trust building and effective collaboration.”
A Resourceful Future
Cynthia highlights that the modern business world is all about being global. And to lead globally, it is essential to use technology to share your mission and brand message. In this regard, she will continue to lead Healthquest to be a mentor, guide, and funder, empowering global entrepreneurs in the biotech and med tech field to do better for the industry.
“It is a privilege to learn from scientists and engineers around the globe who are working to solve health challenges, such as infertility, and bring novel solutions to patients. Making strategic introductions is essential to accelerate success for young companies,” remarks Cynthia. Tana Systems, on the other hand, will continue to empower businesses to form a strong foothold in the ever-growing digital world.
Collectively, Cynthia has kept her keen eyes on both of her companies to transcend the boundaries of the conventional, seeking an environment to nurture innovation and discovery.