Jan 7, 2023

Dr. Nupur Kohli

Dr. Nupur Kohli is a multi-award-winning healthcare leader, advisor, speaker, author, and medical doctor. She is currently pursuing an executive MBA PLD program at Harvard Business School. Dr. Kohli is the founder and CEO of Vedanka BV, where she guides top executives of non-European businesses in European business leadership roles. She is also the founder and director of NIS Health, focused on improving healthcare operational efficiency. Dr. Kohli serves on the supervisory board of UNIceF Netherlands, is co-secretary with the United Nations Foundation, and is a World Economic Forum Global Shapers impact council member. She has spoken on seven TEDx platforms and authored the book “Chill” on stress and productivity, with forewords by two former prime ministers. Dr. Kohli emphasizes lifelong learning, building bridges globally, courage, using one’s voice, kindness, curiosity, and inner well-being for success.

Episode Highlights

  • (0:00:00) – Nitin Bajaj welcomes Dr. Nupur Kohli to the show
  • (0:00:15) – Nupur Kohli is a multi award winning healthcare leader and advisor
  • (0:02:31) – Nupur runs two businesses: healthcare advisory and Vedanka BV
  • (0:05:56) – You define your impact through your businesses, through your engagement with institutions
  • (0:08:07) – What is the one big challenge you’re facing as you focus on impact
  • (0:09:37) – Let’s talk about your most exciting opportunity right now
  • (0:11:36) – You learned that we should continue our lifelong education and not postpone that
  • (0:14:33) – You spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year
  • (0:16:01) – Nupur shares five life lessons with us ahead of the new year

Show Transcript

Transcript - Full Episode

Nitin Bajaj: (0:00:00) – Hey everyone, welcome to the industry show. I’m your host Nitin Bajaj. And joining me today is Dr. Nupur Kohli. Nupur, welcome on the show.


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:00:10) – Thank you Dr. Nitin, thank you so much for inviting me today.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:00:14) – Pleasure is all ours. So let’s start with the big question. Who is Nupur?


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:00:19) – Thank you for such an interesting question. It’s always very nice to describe myself, so let me do my best to do that for you. I am Dr. Nupur Kohli. I’m a multi award winning healthcare leader, advisor, speaker. I’m also an author and a medical doctor. And at the moment I am also doing an executive MBA PLD program at Harvard Business School. Apart from that, I am a founder and CEO of Vedanka BV, with which I guide top executives of non-European businesses to excel in their european business leadership roles. And I also am the founder and director of advisory healthcare advisory aoundation, just to name a few. And I’m also connected to the World Economic Forum as an impact council member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers. I was very happy to write a book on stress and productivity called Chill in which two former prime ministers have written their foreword. And I believe if I have to describe myself, I’m a person who loves to share her knowledge with all kinds of people around the world. Which also gave me a chance to, by now, speak on seven different TEDx platforms. So that’s quite a bit to describe.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:02:07) – It indeed is. Well, first off, congratulations and kudos to you for so many accomplishments at such a young age. And I have to wonder how many hours you have in your day. But I know it’s all about optimizing, all about time management. So give us a sense for amongst all of these different engagements. If I were to ask you, what do you do for a living? What would your answer be?


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:02:39) – Well, when you asked me who is Nupur, I already was able to describe some of the things that I do for a living. Yes, most of it I run my own business, which I was just talking about, called Vedanka BV, with which I guide top executives of non european businesses to excel in european business leadership roles. And I also run another business next to it, which is healthcare advisory. NIS Health. And with the first business, the goal is to help as many non european businesses and their executives to thrive in a european business environment. And with NIS healthcare I help to improve mainly the operational side of healthcare for businesses. So those are two of the main things that I do. Apart from that big part of the year. I travel all over the world as a speaker to share my knowledge, not only on healthcare, but especially on women who are active in entrepreneurship.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:03:54) – So you’re a trained medical doctor, and for many people, that in and of itself is plenty and a great accomplishment. Why do the rest of the things? Why do them and why do them now?


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:04:12) – Well, I believe very much in connecting sectors with each other. I also believe that we live in a world where instead of only to be a specialist, we are now being trained and also seeing several different types of problems that need a multisector approach, so that we also need to develop ourselves broad. That’s one part of the why. Apart from that, I believe it’s important to build bridges in a global world, to build leadership and also do that in a multicultural business environment. All these are part of that and to understand each other better and to let our businesses thrive. It’s a cornerstone for companies to develop their executives for that, to develop their companies for that, to not only be a specialist, but also look in the broader sense and when it comes to healthcare. We saw during the pandemic the state of healthcare that many countries were in. Some countries were able to execute their strategies very well. Others were able to not do that in the best way. So it’s important that we keep improving our healthcare systems and healthcare business to provide better health care globally. So these are two of the very big reasons for me, of which I say why I do the things that I do today.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:05:46) – I love that thought process. I love the holistic approach to it and the fact that you’re not just thinking, but actually doing these things and helping others do the same. If you were to define the impact that you have created through your businesses, through your engagement with the multitude of institutions you work with, how would you define that?


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:06:12) – I believe my impact has been in several ways, and I’ll do my best to describe that for you here. First of all, I described that I was able to speak to several audience all over the world also. Now, being in this amazing industry show, I am able to bring my message across. I’ve been able to reach out to hundreds of thousands of people over the last years, sharing with them knowledge about women, entrepreneurship, healthcare, but also that we should build bridges of business, especially between Europe and India, or Europe and the indian diaspora. If we talk about that apart from that, also through several media engagements, I’ve been able to ask attention for that. When I look at my own businesses, my businesses are both now still in a startup phase. I was in an executive role in a big corporate before this, and I believe that making an impact also while being in early stages of your business, you can do that in many ways. And as I described, I do that through especially training and guiding these non european business leaders to thrive in Europe, to build their capabilities, to strengthen that also with a focus on the multicultural environments that we are in. And that is, I believe, the future for the world and also where we can make an impact.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:07:53) – Yeah, I really love that focus and that importance around how different cultures can and should come together to make that impact. That’s really needed in the healthcare space. Tell me about, as you’re working through so many different, I would say, challenges, what is the one big challenge you’re facing?


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:08:21) – I find that both an interesting as well as also a challenging question in itself. There are many problems that can be solved in the world and there are many opportunities. Again, when we look at a world in which we have technology, so much information, so many options of things that we can do. For me, a big challenge is how to divide my attention between all the interesting things, opportunities that there are, or even problems that are occurring in the world, and how to prioritize. And I think that’s maybe for quite some people. So a challenge these days, there are so many choices that you can choose from that that’s a challenge in itself. So which one do you address first? Because so many topics are important for people globally when we are talking about impact. So while we’re living in a world where we are moving from not only being a specialist to more, also being generalists, I think that is what a lot of companies will come across, and I myself as well, is how to keep prioritizing on the right things.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:09:35) – An important challenge indeed. Let’s, on the flip side, talk about the most exciting opportunity that’s making you really excited.


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:09:47) – I believe it still comes back to my core business. My most exciting opportunity now is to grow that pool of top executives of non european businesses that I can guide with my team to excel in their european business leadership roles, to connect more companies to that chain that we have created. And this is a very exciting opportunity to expand. Another is that there are some big speaking opportunities coming up for me. And as I explained, it’s of big importance to me that I share my knowledge with audiences worldwide. So for me, it’s always a combination of not only winning, but also be able to give back and that in itself is a good opportunity for me to always keep that in mind that while as an entrepreneur, as a business, you are winning, to always keep in the back of my mind that how are we giving back, whether it’s to the society or country that I’m living in, which is Netherlands at the moment, or it would be the country of my roots, India, which I also find very important to give back to. As a business leader and entrepreneur, I.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:11:12) – Love the focus on not missing out. As an entrepreneur, I believe a lot of us keep chasing and forget our roots, forget the community, forget the responsibility that we have to help all others rise along with us. So I really appreciate that. Now, as we look forward towards all of these opportunities, I want to take a moment and look back a little bit. And I would love for you to share two moments. One where things blew your own expectations and you tasted success beyond your imagination, and on the other end, something that did not work out as you had expected and was a failure in your assessment and became a lesson that helped you improve.


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:12:10) – Well, I will start with the moment of where I definitely learned a lesson and where it turned out to be a great teacher for me. And this is actually a lesson that led to success. So being in a business and being a business owner, I failed at sometimes to understand the right financial side of my business. When you are, as any business owner, I’m trained as a medical doctor. So when you are not in first instance, trained on the financial side and being able to understand and also have the best insight in the financial risks that your business can have. Yes, sometimes there can be an oversight or it can feel as a failure when that doesn’t go in the right direction and to develop that in the optimal way. I think the greatest lesson that I learned is that we should continue our lifelong education and not postpone that. Whether for me, it was now on the financial side or it’s in any other side, not to think as a business owner or leader that you already know it all and that you should not hesitate to get the right education or guidance also for yourself. So for me, that was that I went back to studying. So it led me to go back to business studies, which, as I described at the start, I’m very happy to do that. At Harvard Business School, it’s a program of almost a year. It’s a huge time investment, but it has turned out to be a great teacher. And it has convinced me and also shown to me that lifelong learning will be something that I’ll keep with myself always when it comes to your. Oh, sorry, go ahead.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:14:11) – No, I was going to say you’re also in the process making some lifelong friends, which is a good bonus.


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:14:18) – Absolutely. And that is something you learn on the way. So no matter what age you are, I would encourage everyone who is listening to really take care of your own lifelong education. And when it comes to the success part that you asked me. So the real success story is something that I’m really proud of. So in 2022, I was part of, from the Netherlands, to be at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. I spoke in two official sessions at that annual meeting, and in one meeting, I was also able to address the role of young leadership. Leadership development, as I said, is very important to me. And why I really consider this a success is because there are many different forms of leadership. And to me, it’s a huge success that I have been able to build bridges there, that I can keep building bridges. That has been a huge success for me this year to see how much I not only could grow from that experience, being able to address this with world leaders all over the world, but also connect other businesses with each other.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:15:48) – That is an amazing success story, and that’s a great audience to be addressing. So again, congratulations. And I know you’re just getting started, so we’ll see you a lot more in a lot of these important forums. Now let’s transition to what’s my favorite part of the show, which we call the one line life lessons. I would love for you to share some of your life lessons with us.


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:16:15) – Yes, definitely. And I have to say why it’s so interesting is I hope I can show the diversity of my life lessons in this. So the first one would be, always have courage. Courage leads you far in life. And then especially courage to take certain decisions that might be very difficult. That’s a motto that is always there. The second is, we all have a voice. Use it well, use it wisely.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:16:50) – Love it.


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:16:51) – Sometimes, whether it’s in our personal life or professional life, we do not speak while we do have something to say, or later we felt we should have said something. And I think that’s a cornerstone of success, to use your voice. The third one is never underestimate the power of a smile and kindness. I put that one in there because often, sometimes still, business leaders think that you should be the tough one. And we sometimes forget to smile also as business owners and to be kind, not only to ourselves and our employees. So that’s key for me. Number four is those who are curious and ask questions will come far. I think you should never be afraid to be curious and ask questions. I think this is my best characteristic in life, to be curious and it has gotten me many places. And the last one, number five, which I really like, is happiness, beauty and success are an inside job. I truly believe that whether it’s happiness, beauty or success, it starts from the inside and when you radiate that to the outer world, it will also affect your environment in a positive way.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:18:15) – Love them and thank you again for sharing them. I’m not surprised that with these life lessons, when you see the end result, the success, all the kudos and credibility you’ve built, it’s no surprise because it’s coming from all of this wisdom. Nupur thank you once again for taking the time to be with us. We really appreciate it and wish you many more success and congratulations on your upcoming graduation from hvs and wish you a very successful new year.


Dr. Nupur Kohli: (0:18:52) – Thank you so much for having me on the show and wishing you a great new year as well. Thank you.



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