Leading by example: Anita Chan puts community well-being at the heart of her work and life

The general manager for Hong Kong of the global pharmaceutical brand Viatris—Mastercard's first pharmaceutical brand partner on Priceless Planet Coalition in Asia Pacific—is focused on empowering people to live healthier. Here, she shares her thoughts on the global health mission she's chosen, the accomplishments she's most proud of, and the unique challenges she sets for herself


As general manager for Hong Kong of global healthcare company Viatris - Mastercard's first pharmaceutical brand partner on Priceless Planet Coalition in Asia Pacific - Anita Chan’s mission is to empower people to live healthier & happier at every stage of life. Here, she shares her thoughts on this ambitious global objective, the accomplishments she's most proud of and the unique challenges she sets herself. For Anita Chan, serving the community means surmounting challenge one after another—and she wouldn't have it any other way. Her first job as a community pharmacist in the U.S. sparked a passion for promoting good health practices that led her to establish the first Hong Kong Non -Profit community pharmacy, under the auspices of a local charity. In her role as general manager for Hong Kong of global healthcare company Viatris, Chan continues to pursue her ambitious mission. She is more focused than ever on educating people about the awareness of noncommunicable diseases , prevention and management of the disease. Aim to maintain their overall health & wellness. While recognising the demanding nature of this task, Chan remains undeterred, relying on her years of experience and an unwavering  positive attitude. The busy mother of two recently took time to share some of the secrets of her success.




How would you describe your approach to work and life?


Being open-minded, positive, vibrant and energetic are the keys to success in life and work. I am not afraid of challenges. Early in my career, from a frontline practicing pharmacist to pharmacies management. Moving across states in the US and even relocating back to Hong Kong after decades living in US. Career changed from community pharmacy to pharmaceutical company, and currently as the first general manager of Viatris in Hong Kong. I love learning new things – I even started learning ballet just a year and a half ago! Every new experience is an opportunity to grow. A new dimension to view life.


What experiences have shaped your outlook?


I am passionate about helping the community. After getting my pharmacy degree, I worked in a community pharmacy in a small town in US. The interaction that I had among patients and the caring neighbourhood culture has engraved a great framework of community health in me. As my career evolved and became the director of pharmacy operation of various states in the US. The eye opening experiences really shed lights in diversity and inclusion. When I returned to Hong Kong, I worked at an NGO for five years and set up Hong Kong’s first non-profit community pharmacy. Through Viatris, I continue to put the spotlight on community well-being, partner with patient groups and NGOs.


Viatris is the first pharmaceutical brand in APAC to partner with Mastercard to pursue sustainability through the Mastercard Priceless Planet Coalition. How did this partnership come about?


Sustainability is a paramount responsibility for everyone. It’s about pursuing results today while safeguarding the future for the next generation. I strongly believe that we should lay the groundwork for future generations, and as a company focused on empowering people to live healthier at every stage of their lives, there is no better way to expand this mission than to work together with Mastercard to mitigate the impact of climate change on our only home, Earth.


How do you try to make a positive impact in Hong Kong and the world, and how does your vision align with Mastercard's Priceless Planet Coalition?


Just like the Priceless Planet Coalition’s approach of restoring trees to stop climate change – which we know disproportionately affects the world’s most vulnerable communities – I believe it is important to go straight to the root cause. Ride on our strength and partners with our stakeholders to educate the public about disease awareness, prevention and tips to better maintain health and wellness. We collaborated with local media outlets to share concerns from laymen and in response valuable health information through weekly columns featuring academics and healthcare professionals. We leverage our capabilities & resources as a healthcare company to better support the community.


Mastercard is one of the world's most recognisable brands with a global network. This makes them an ideal partner to spread our sustainability message.


How do you plan to take Viatris' ESG (environmental, social, and governance) engagement into the future?


Every company shares the same goal to make the world better – better for the planet, for the community, for people – and we strive to stay true to our original aspiration. Going forward, our ESG focus will continue to be on education. Aside from our partnership with academics and healthcare professionals on our educational initiatives, we have designed our internship program to cultivate future talent for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.


We have also set aside funding to support various vulnerable groups in society. It includes physical and especially mental health which has been a taboo in the society. Recently we partner with health care professionals & NGO to support counselling sessions for inmates’ family members whom may be experiencing different mental & emotional stress.


Of your many achievements, what are you most proud?


I am immensely proud of my role as a mother, a lucky mom with a passing grade! It is extremely grateful that my two children are growing up as sunny and positive people in a loving environment. Watching them pursue their dreams, live with passion & love in life inspires me every day and motivates me to better myself. One of the reasons I went back to school pursuing further understanding in public health is to demonstrate the importance of continue ever learning . Learning never stops and so does relationship. I am so blessed to have close relationships with my children as dear besties which I truly treasure and forever nurture.


You participated this year in the Oxfam Trailwalker, a physically demanding race. Tell us about your experience.


That was a major milestone in my life. The journey started when I (participated in) the 25-kilometer Green Power Walk back in 2016. From there, I challenged myself to do the 50-kilometer race the year after, and eventually I set a goal, together with Viatris colleagues, to do the 100-kilometer Oxfam Trailwalker. COVID dampened so much energy in the society,  when Trailwalker resumed this year, eight of us at Viatris with just 10 weeks to prepare. We trained through from freezing cold to scorching heat and extreme humidity even with pouring rain. The outcome was astonishing, we finished the race in 28 hours, well ahead of the estimated time. It is a true teamwork demonstrating perseverance and trust. The bonding we have had is so special, a life long memorable experience.


What lessons have you learned?


Life is full of challenges. A true constant is to stay agile and learn to tackle them. I can be impatient at times, be extra mindful about others, be open-minded , I have learned to respect different perspectives, and stay tuned and listen to what matters to others most.


What is priceless to you and why?


The ultimate priceless pursuit is to be H.A.P.P.Y.  As rhetorical meaning also the acronym means being Healthy and Happy, Agile, Passionate, People (collaborating with), and Young at heart, the capability to learn & to feed one’s curiosity. Every moment is priceless, no one can live that same moment twice. Seize the moment and make every second counts.