Kaouthar Lbiati Exclusive Interview – ‘I Prefer To Think Of Success In Terms Of Self-Fulfillment’


Kaouthar Lbiati was recently interviewed by RootsAndRoutesMag.com and below is the Q&A session we had with her.

Kaouthar Lbiati As Cover Story – March 2024 Edition

Could you provide a summary of yourself, including your background, and interests?

I am a Biotech and pharma business leader, strategic advisor, and corporate board director. After spending over a decade within “big pharma” companies, I shifted gears in the last six years, to focus on mid-size companies and help them optimize their technology platforms, define their value proposition, secure funding, strategic partnerships, and/or licensing deals, to develop medicines that have the potential to reach patients worldwide. I was fortunate to work across exciting areas such as immuno-oncology and regenerative medicine. In the next decade, I will continue doing so and will also be partnering with ventures and funds championing healthcare transformation through artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain, technology-based disease diagnostics, and synthetic biology. These innovations will shape the future of healthcare worldwide.

Can you describe a turning point in your life that helped shape who you are today?

There have been several turning points in my life. Perhaps the one worth mentioning, for the sake of this interview, is when I decided to join the large cohort of physicians migrating from the southern to the northern global hemisphere. At the time, I felt my career-to-be as clinician, and personal development were seriously conflicted, and I was badly lacking a role model. Moreover, making a meaningful impact on the healthcare system organization and/or contributing to the societal transformation I was aspiring to be part of in my country of birth was inaccessible to me. I decided to start over a new leaf under new horizons.
Higher Education played a pivotal role in my life, and as I have been expanding my knowledge through the pursuit of other healthcare-related disciplines (i.e. business and management, health economics, policy, finance, corporate governance), new ways appeared before me. I have also experimented for over a decade with a variety of operational and leadership roles globally within the pharmaceutical industry.
Ultimately, I consider bridging knowledge and businesses between different cultures to be my strongest “soft” skill. I have practiced it, at the individual level, nearly over two decades and look forward to doing so, at scale, in the near future as Partner within public or private investments funds, through the promotion of the life sciences and health technology investments between the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

As member of the diaspora, how do you actively contribute to and give back to your first home, and how have you been involved so far?

I am grateful to have been offered, over the past few years, several prestigious platforms to share my thoughts on global health issues and healthcare transformation in the low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries. Earlier this year, I participated, with other members of the Moroccan diaspora, in the event organized by the office of the Moroccan ministry of commerce and trade, focusing on shaping the national industrial and technological strategies of the kingdom in the next five years. As keynote speaker, I emphasized the critical role of the health technology ecosystem in significantly attracting foreign investments into the life sciences sector. And during the 2022 and 2023 editions of MEDAYS; a global event organized annually by the Amadeus Institute – a think tank for the global south – I had the privilege to share several panels with distinguished world speakers and discuss different strategies ranging from local drug manufacturing, procurement pooling of medicines across countries as an enabler of patients’ access to healthcare, improvement of drug procurement processes, including through technological platforms and targeted start-up investments, for the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) in LMIC. In 2020, in the context of the national initiative “the new model for development”, under the patronage of his Majesty the King of Morocco, I drafted and submitted twenty (20) proposals and a full chapter dedicated to healthcare transformation in Morocco, encompassing public policy reforms, and various industrial and technological strategies. These contributions (and more) are accessible online.

How has your cultural background influenced your personal and professional aspirations? Can you share an experience where you felt a clash of cultural values and how you resolved or navigated through it?

Both the ideals of the north and the south shaped my multilayered identity. Or, as Virginia Woolf brilliantly put it “I am deeply rooted but I flow”.
We certainly live presently in a polarized world, and it may feel at times there may be a clash of values. However, it is incumbent on us, the diaspora of the world, to gracefully navigate these complex times with dignity and resilience, in a way that reflects our grasp of past and new realities, to continue fostering dialogue, seal partnerships and contribute to building wealth amongst our respective nations.

Achieving economic and social development in the global south requires heavy national, regional and foreign investments. Sharing knowledge and strengthening collaborations between the north and the global south across key technological and industrial sectors, including the life sciences and healthcare, matters to the global biosecurity and for the achievement of global health goals.

What is your definition of success and how do you measure it?

I prefer to think of success in terms of self-fulfillment. The distance between the past-, the present- and future-self is a craftsmanship of a lifetime. Fulfilling myself while working hard to try to make a difference about something other than myself is what motivates me every day and keeps me grounded.

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