3 Continents, 3 Women, 3 Unique Paths to success

In Lundbeck, our female talents are visionary and leaders. We need not look further than its second employee, Grete Lundbeck, who started the Lundbeck Foundation to ensure that Lundbeck’s profits served a larger purpose. On International Women’s Day, we’re hearing from three leaders who defined success on their own terms. Women who have successful careers without ever having left Lundbeck.

Meet Wendy Cupido. Country Manager in South Africa - been with Lundbeck for 19 years. 

Meet Claudia de Souza Silva. Marketing Director in Brazil - been with Lundbeck for 19 years. 

Meet Andrea Jung. Managing Director, Business Area Central - been with Lundbeck for 21 years. 

Three women. Three continents. Three paths to success - one planned, one progressive, and one circular.   



Wendy Cupido – When “No” became her career’s biggest “Yes” 
After having worked as a Sales Representative for seven years, Wendy felt she had more to give, but Lundbeck South Africa was too small to nurture that ambition. So, she decided to quit. But when she informed her boss, he did not accept her resignation. Instead, he created a Junior Product Manager role for her, which “was the moment that literally defined and changed the course of my career”. 

19 years and many learning experiences later, Wendy continues to grow at Lundbeck. Some of her learnings was by doing – shadowing her peers or taking additional qualifications until she acquired the skills that were necessary for the next step of her career ladder; one that was planned early on. “I have come from very humble beginnings...I mapped up a career path for myself as to where I wanted to go... I learned that from my father who instilled that ambitious behavior in me from a very young age”.  

As Country Manager, Wendy holds onto this learner's mindset, which she explains, goes hand-in-hand with inclusive leadership.  

“Self-acceptance, especially as a leader, comes from saying I don't know everything and it's okay. When you tell yourself, I’m here to learn, you allow others within the organization to share their expertise. You allow them to develop within their expertise. And you give them that space and you give them that platform to operate and be the best versions of themselves. And you, as a leader, you understand people more, you can feed into what they need more. And by doing that you're able to get the best out of people”. - Wendy Cupido 

Wendy's advice to young talent? “Be patient, be in the moment. Learn what it is that you need to learn right now. And if you have worked hard, you take your seat at the table that you've earned”. 

Claudia de Souza Silva - “Success can also be a circle” 

“When I was approached to do this story, at first I was uncertain because my path has been different. But now I understand that yes, success can also be a circle; not just an ascension.” 

As a Scientist, a Physicist to be more precise, Claudia knows that things are not always as they seem. “My Scientist background taught me that there is no linear path. Everything is much more complex than we suppose. We need to be open and acknowledge there are zillions of possibilities to solve a problem”. Seeing possibilities is also how Claudia’s career can be described. She followed her curiosities to create opportunities across countries and functions. Starting in Marketing, Claudia then worked in HR and Finance functions, also at HQ in Valby before returning to Marketing and Brazil. In a virtuous circle, these moves allowed Claudia to feel comfortable jumping into new, unknown areas and created even more opportunities.  

"In my case by having the opportunity to be exposed to different problems, perspectives, and people in the business, this was a way to be there because I was needed. So, you get connected to people. And if you're interacting and doing your job well, people will automatically think of you for something similar in the future. It's a natural way". – Claudia de Souza Silva 

For Claudia, Rio de Janeiro, is not only where she lives and works but also a part of how she thinks. “There's an important component of our culture and our local environment that gives us a lot of resiliency skills. Most people in Brazil need to develop this early on because in our society, we have a large social difference. We don't all have access to education. So, to succeed, we look for opportunities and we are flexible so we can recognize them when they appear”. 

For young talents who are not following a direct path but following potentials, Claudia's example shows that success is not necessarily about moving upwards. It can very much be circular.  

Andrea Jung - "I went to the boss' boss and said, why are you searching? I'm already here."  
As the eldest of three siblings, taking on responsibility was a natural role for Andrea. When positions within the organization came up that she wanted, she told herself to take the responsibility while also taking the risk. The same principle applies in her leadership style.

"I'm quite demanding because I really want my team to give their best, but at the same time I'm supporting and trusting, which builds confidence in my teams. They have the freedom to make mistakes because I want them to try and do things. You can avoid mistakes by doing nothing, but that is not the way".  

Few would have such courage to put themselves so boldly in the line of sight for a new position. Was it however, easy for her to say, I'm here, I'm a worthwhile candidate? In dealing with doubt, Andrea is quick to point out that: 

"No one can look inside your head. So, you have to tell people what you want. Nobody fits 100% to a job posting." - Andrea Jung 

This is familiar to anyone who has followed previous research. A famous Hewlet Packard internal report, for example, found that men apply for jobs even if they meet only 60% of the qualifications, while women only apply if they meet 100% of the requirements. So even doubt isn't evenly distributed along gender lines. 

Andrea sees herself as a feminist because she is

"deeply convinced that women should have equal rights and opportunity. And I think we have to admit that we are not where we should be. We can tell ourselves it's so good here, especially in Scandinavia or in Europe, but you have to dig deeper, because if you dig deeper, there are still many fields where we haven't reached equal opportunities and rights for women".  

Therefore, their work, Lundbeck's work, and our shared responsibility to promote gender equality continues.  

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