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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Carmel O'Dwyer MBA MSc. Business

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Carmel O'Dwyer MBA MSc. Business

Name: Carmel O'Dwyer MBA MSc. Business

Current title: Distribution Manager - APAC Region

Current organisation: SP Scientific, a Division of SP

An award winning, Dynamic Leader in the biopharmaceutical arena, managing the Asia Pacific Regions channel to market. In addition to this, I also invest some time as a non-executive Board Member with Not-for-Profit entities and on relevant sub-committees within the organisation,

My specialisms are leading commercial teams, blending clinical, technical and commercial acumen. I currently reside in the countryside in Ireland with my husband and two teenage "children '', spending 3-4 months a year located in Australia managing the teams in the region.. In non-Covid times. In my spare time, I am continuing my studies, enjoy running and swimming and have also known to dabble in a little farming and property development!

7 Questions with Carmel O'Dwyer MBA MSc. Business


1. What have you found most challenging as a board member of a large enterprise?

Key things:

Change Management

Gender Imbalance

Covid Challenges

HR Challenges - Staff (good staff!) retention


Strategic implementation

Coming from a commercial background, learning to understand the mindset of the "non-commercial" people

2. How did you become a board member of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

After I completed my MBA, I undertook some consultancy work to "hone" my skills and also engage the theories that I had learnt. During this time, I was contracted by businesses, looking to set up entities in Ireland (Brexit related) and one of these asked me to move onto their Board and initiate their entity for the Irish and then EU region.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I am very organised, allocating times for communication, emails etc and organise my calendar accordingly, leaving ample time for emergency emails etc.

Key piece of advice - do not let your inbox be your to-do list and clean out your inbox every Friday evening/Sunday morning.

If it is an actual task/project - set a time in your calendar, if you are just procrastinating - do it!

Do, diarise or delegate.. do not delay!

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

Especially during these times, everyone is exhausted from teams/zoom/skype calls. once every few weeks, have a social virtual call (maybe even a few drinks) and set a casual task. For example, everyone has to share something with the team that nobody would know about them etc.

Also, delegate the leading of the calls to others in the group to shake it up a bit!

5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in a large enterprise?

Communication (effective), communication, communication

Collaborative strategising

A varied mix of board members



6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of a large enterprise?

The Board acts as a sounding board and safety net for the CEO and all decisions should be made from a united front. The board should provide a safe environment for sounding ideas, resolving and issues and also considering scenarios of risk to the business. In most situations, the CEO is running the business from day to day and in conjunction with the board, they should enable a more hyperopic view of the external and internal environments of the organisation.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a board member of a large enterprise so far?

Without going into specific information....

taking time out of the usual to undertake some scenario planning and identifying a potential risk to the organisation that had never been diagnosed previously. This risk has now been addressed and has actually created a new element to the business model and potential revenue stream. we did utilise the business model canvas to identify this opportunity.

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