Zoetis’ A.L.P.H.A. Initiative: creating sustainability in Africa
Tetiana Miroshnychenko started with Zoetis in December 2018 in a new position specifically created in order for her to lead the A.L.P.H.A initiative. Before she took this role, Miroshnychenko had begun her career in Ukraine, gaining experience in a variety of areas such as business development, marketing and commercial aspects of human pharma. She headed the Ukraine office before relocating to UK and Belgium to undertake global roles. Her extensive knowledge of the developing markets, experience within operational roles, and interaction with a vast variety of individuals and cultures placed her as the ideal candidate for the role.
The A.L.P.H.A initiative was introduced in 2017, in order to improve livestock health and positively impact farmer’s livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative is co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided a US$14.4mn in three-year grant to assist with sustainable growth and development of the farming sector in Africa. "The focus of the initiative can be defined by three pillars," explains Miroshnychenko, "The first is the improvement of medicines and veterinary services. The second is providing training and education, and the third is the implementation of diagnostic infrastructure, to ensure that people are not only receiving help, but understanding the relationship and the results." Miroshnychenko emphasises that the key to ensuring sustainability is the incorporation and development of veterinary laboratory networks across these regions. By improving access to critical veterinary products and services like diagnostics labs we can make a positive impact long-term on the quality of animal healthcare.
According to Zoetis’ statistics, 50% of the people in Sub-saharan Africa, who live on less than $1 a day, rely on livestock, which is responsible for 45% of household income. Miroshnychenko notes that the initiative is functioning across four countries; Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania. These locations were agreed upon with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as they have the fastest growing populations, and thus an increasing requirement for food and nutrition. "Nigeria is the third most populated country in the world, yet unfortunately, infrastructure is not very well developed. This means that Zoetis could not provide assistance directly, but instead with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we were able to set up an organisation within the country, which would allow us to establish the foundations for a sustainable future for commercial organisations." As an example, Zoetis recently opened a poultry diagnostic laboratory hub in Nigeria that will support the whole region. Currently, over 1500 farmers and farmers’ trainers have received specialised training via the ALPHA initiative.
Miroshnychenko says that the initiative has adapted to each country in a slightly different way. “In terms of the training and education we have, around 40% of women participating in our training and education campaign in Uganda, but only 30% in Nigeria,” she says. “There is a prevalence of women in Uganda caring for cattle and poultry in smallholding farms, and women are in charge of both caring for families and livestock, so it is important for them to learn and generate sustainability in order to provide for their families. In Nigeria, there are less women working in farming, as men take on the heavier tasks such as herding.” Miroshnychenko says that there is an increased number of women with a curiosity for agriculture and farming, and it is important to provide this education now as to best provide them with the tools to create a sustainable future for their families, and so the future of the country. “The Zoetis team work closely with local communities to understand local needs and provide relevant opportunities for women to participate in the activities held,” adds Miroshnychenko.
Miroshnychenko believes that a strong sense of accountability is the driving factor to excellent performance within Zoetis and the A.L.P.H.A initiative: "It’s all about personal accountability and team accountability for what you're doing and the results you are bringing to the company and to broader society." One major achievement made within the regions is the supply of medication, which was previously almost non-existent. "We have now submitted 66 products which require registration. The process can take up to a year and a half, so this is an excellent number," she says. In terms of education, Miroshnychenko states that women in particular are learning how to use vaccines, and work closely with veterinarians pharmas to learn how to build upon these skills.
As the initiative continues, Miroshnychenko says her company is ready for the challenge of the launch of the 66 products to the market, with the registration of more. This initiative is just one of many that Zoetis is operating in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation across several countries. "Our people are very passionate about social impact and the future," concludes Miroshnychenko, "we have a very diverse team who are really keen on building a sustainable future and bringing the social impact in Africa." If the A.L.P.H.A initiative continues with such diligence and commitment, it is undoubted that the essential foundations to sustainability will be created in these four countries.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.