KIRAN MAZUMDAR SHAW
VOGUE India|November 2020
She’s India’s good-girl billionaire, who overcame rejection and gender bias and went on to lead one of the most successful biotechnology companies in the country.
Renuka Joshi Modi

In September this year, Biocon Limited’s executive chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw was trending across the globe, and not for the usual business of pharma reasons. The 67-year-old Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awardee became a viral sensation, pun not intended, when her blog chronicling her experience and recovery from COVID-19 made the rounds from Sydney to Spain (even being translated into Spanish).

It’s mid-September when we speak and she has since recovered from the virus, jumping straight into a packed diary. Looking back, she says she was surprised at the attention but also thrilled. “I wanted to remove the stigma around being tested positive. I wanted people to know that even if you have the slightest symptoms, please go and test yourself. I know far too many people who have unnecessarily put themselves into a serious condition because they did not test and report themselves,” she tells me over a Zoom call from her home in Bengaluru, where she is staying with her husband, John, and her 89-year-old mother Yamini. “I had to be particularly careful, as my husband is a cancer patient and my mother is a cancer survivor,” she says.

Just as she didn’t flinch from sharing her own COVID-19 experience to break the stigma, she has used her experience and that of her family’s with the Big C to fund a 1,400-bed cancer facility in collaboration with Dr. Devi Shetty, the founder of Narayana Health. Mazumdar Shaw has consistently made professional personal, practicing a more ‘compassionate capitalism’ and becoming one of the few pharma leaders with clear humanitarian goals.

REJECTION TO RETALIATION

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