When Kulpreeya Buddharudisuk began her new role as General Manager for Zoetis Thailand in April, she never imagined the leadership challenge she would face only two weeks into her tenure: COVID-19. Though confronted with the unprecedented economic, societal, and corporate situation created by the novel coronavirus, Kulpreeya didn’t waver in her leadership. Instead, she took decisive action to steadily guide her team with a spirit of adaptability and accountability.
It's no surprise that the Zoetis Core Belief that resonates with Kulpreeya the most is Run it Like You Own It. “Change is an opportunity to take control and guide the situation rather than be swept away by it," she said. And her leadership is reflective of this.
With the increasing importance and rapid adoption rate of digital tools in Thailand, Kulpreeya made digitalization one of her key objectives during COVID-19, accelerating the launch of digital platforms to capture customer engagement in times when face-to-face interactions were limited. She empowered her teams to seize the moment by capitalizing on the existing Zoetis technology to build their digital ecosystem, developing their channels through webinars and utilizing all available digital tools to stay connected with the customers. At the same time, the livestock and companion animal teams had important product launches on the horizon and Kulpreeya supported them in adapting the events to virtual launches, which led to a significant increase in their reach. Within a few short months the companion animal team connected with hundreds of the country's veterinarians and clinic owners to ensure Zoetis is first in customer's mind when it comes to innovation in animal health and support during challenging times. Kulpreeya guided her team to use every opportunity to strengthen existing customer relationships.
While assuming a leadership role during a global pandemic is a new experience for Kulpreeya, she has been successfully navigating transformation since she began her career at Zoetis in 2014. Kulpreeya joined Zoetis as the Finance Lead for Southeast Asia, after building her career through finance, business development, marketing, and commercial roles in several industries. Only 12 months after coming on board, a vast business transformation was implemented to optimize global resources and she was promoted to the Finance Lead for all Asia Pacific countries. This new position required her to steer her team through the transformation of the Finance function, which led to major structural changes. “This time was full of learning and challenges for me as a leader," said Kulpreeya. “I was able to positively manage the change by building strong fundamentals and ensuring we had the right capabilities for the future." Her composure and leadership in this seminal period led to securing a solid finance structure in Asia Pacific and built a strong partnership with commercial leaders to grow the business across these countries.
Kulpreeya is quick to acknowledge that embracing change as an opportunity is much easier when you have a supportive manager. “My idea of personal and professional growth has been to be open and flexible with the learning opportunities that come my way. Embracing the career move from leading the region's financial operations to leading Thailand's commercial team is a big change. I could have never made this transition if Rohini Persaud, Finance Lead, International Operations, hadn't supported my learning needs over the past five years. I have to thank her for the time she invested in coaching me and trusting me to drive the finance function forward."
It's this supportive management style that empowers our colleagues to run it like they own it – and Kulpreeya tries to impart this spirit of accountability on her own team in her role as General Manager of Thailand. Within her own team, she encourages colleagues to take ownership of their business results and constantly pursues faster, simpler, and better ways of doing business. Kulpreeya's key to success is “empowering our colleagues to make good business decisions, setting the right expectations so that they fully apply themselves in their work, and finally, supporting them with the correct tools and resources they need to get the job done."
It's a good thing that Kulpreeya thrives on change. The Thai animal health market, which has already firmly established itself as a semi-developed market, is also developing at breakneck speed. “Within the livestock market, overall productivity has become increasingly important for our customers and we see this in the trend of adoption of high technology products, such as Improvac®, in our key accounts," said Kulpreeya. “With a growing middle-class and increasing urbanization, the Companion Animal market is also a big opportunity as pet ownership is growing fast both horizontally and vertically." This means many opportunities for Zoetis to deliver value and innovation, and Kulpreeya is up for the challenge to adapt. We look forward to seeing how she will continue to guide her team through the headwinds of change.