Equality in dentistry: Dr Kavita Lobo
To celebrate International Women's Day we’re sharing career stories and advice from women in various roles across Bupa this month. Here we speak to Dr. Kavita Lobo, Clinical Director for Bupa Dental, ANZ.
1. Can you tell us a little about your career journey?
I started my career about 25 years ago with my undergraduate degree in dentistry at the University of Sydney. My initial roles as a dentist enhanced my critical thinking skills and provided me with mentors for whom ethics were a primary driver.My personal values in natural justice and the protection of people then led me towards the dental regulators on New South Wales. My career as a dentist also led me to work in large corporate practices which strengthened my principles around corporate and clinical governance. I currently maintain a position as the Deputy President of the Dental Council of NSW and the Clinical Director of Bupa Dental Corporation.
2. How have you balanced your personal life with your career?
Three kids under the age of four meant that I required significant family support to ensure a happy work life balance. My partner and I were lucky enough to be able to alternate our working days when our children were young to maintain a healthy balance. Dentistry as a profession enabled me to set my working hours to suit my personal life.
3. Why do you think it’s important to have diversity at all levels?
Diversity around gender, race and religion provides for the fabric of our society. Diversity brings in varied thinking based on cultural norms, upbringing, family values and personal experiences (be they positive or negative).One would and should expect that the diversity in views and opinions are appropriately shared at all levels so that we do not unintentionally discriminate against people who have valid but different opinions.Diversity at the higher levels can only lead to better conversations and outcomes at every level in an organisation.
4. As a leader, how do you advocate for women at Bupa?
Advocation for women is best done through action and demonstration of one's ability. Success and authority in senior roles can inspire generational change in thinking and provide inspiration that gender is not a limiting factor in breaking through the glass ceiling.
Personally, I prefer to celebrate success and mentor up-and-coming young women trying to demonstrate their critical thinking skills and ambitions.
5. What advice would you give other women aiming to progress into senior roles?
Never be afraid to take up a new opportunity - being scared is not a good enough reason to say 'No'.