Stories and Viewpoints

Partnership, Agility Characterize Anita Chan’s Approach to Work


By: Niki Kapsambelis


Anita Chan




From the time she was a schoolgirl in her native Hong Kong, Anita Chan has been – quite literally – raising her voice. 



She credits her early education with giving her the confidence to express her opinions, which developed her interest in public speaking and singing. Today, as Viatris’ general manager for Hong Kong and Macau, she is paying it forward by cultivating a workplace that encourages colleagues to step outside their comfort zones. 


That sense of empowerment is one of the qualities Anita enjoys most about her job. Trust from both her supervisor and team, coupled with supportive data, help drive her decisionmaking – and she works hard to ensure that she also fosters that quality in others. 


“As a manager, don’t treat me as your boss. We are partners,” she said in summarizing her philosophy. “We all have specific roles. But it’s not about seniority or hierarchy. We all bring our own expertise to work that can help us reach that common goal: ultimately, to help empower patients to live healthier.”  


Anita attended college in the United States after high school, initially with plans of becoming a surgeon. She earned a pharmacy degree to familiarize herself with available medications, then pivoted her plans after gaining acceptance to medical school so she could focus on her family.  


She worked as a community pharmacist in the Midwest of the United States, eventually moving into pharmacy management and, later, a district director on the U.S. West Coast.  


“This helped open my eyes to working with different people, cultures and values,” Anita said. “Ultimately, it helped me understand and appreciate a whole range of views and listen to others’ perspectives.”  


In 2009, she decided to return to Hong Kong to be closer to her extended family. It was a move that required re-taking board examinations so she could practice; after passing, she helped set up a nonprofit community pharmacy to focus on greater patient access.   


The experience left Anita with the impression that gaps still exist in public health knowledge, so she returned to school at Hong Kong University to earn a public health degree. Eventually, her experiences working in the nonprofit sector led to her current role as Viatris’ first general manager in Hong Kong. 


Her approach to building the Hong Kong team is to create an environment of partnership and agility. She also hopes her example will inspire others to welcome opportunities as they present themselves. 


“I evolved from being a medical to a commercial person. But my ultimate goal to promote public health hasn’t changed,” she said. “Enjoy something new, and jump out of your comfort zone to give it a try.” 

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