My name is Sachin Patel, and I am a senior ethical commercial development manager at Boots UK. I am also honored and privileged to be part of WBA’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) business resource group (BRG) leadership team and one of the BAME site leads for the Weybridge office in the UK. The BAME BRG has supported me in bringing my true self to work, and has created a platform to challenge, listen, learn and celebrate our cultural diversity.
I’m proud to be British and Indian, and it’s important for me to feel like I belong and that I am being heard so I feel comfortable expressing my opinions. If each of us creates this environment for all our team members, this will lead to both greater collaboration and more innovation to create and deliver the best products, services and personalized care for all our diverse customers across the world, while recruiting and retaining the best talent. Embracing our differences can be our greatest strength.
A typical day before the pandemic would start about 5 a.m., as I’d usually go to the gym before getting ready for the day ahead in the office. Once I’d park at the office, I’d have a quick scan of the other cars to see who else was already in from my team. I’d give them a call to see who wants a coffee, and then make my way over to the cafeteria. After I’d have that first sip of coffee over a quick catch-up with the team (which usually meant talking about the football match from the night before), the workday would begin.
My routine is very different now due to the pandemic. I find myself waking up at 6:30 a.m., going into my daughter’s room, watching her jump up and down and say, “Good morning, Daddy,” followed by, “Jai Shri Krishna.” The latter is a Hindu greeting which means “Praise Lord Krishna.” I then drive my daughter to nursery at 7:15 a.m., and we usually play “I Spy.”
I’m extremely grateful that during this difficult period I have managed to spend more time with my daughter creating wonderful memories, which would have been harder to do if I was working in the office full-time. On the days when my wife does the nursery drop-off, I manage to get in a run before the workday begins, all part of my preparation for the London Marathon in October.
The rest of the workday is filled with leading cross-functional operational activities, consulting as the lead commercial stakeholder in key projects transforming supply chain and dispensing practices, as well as leading commercial negotiations between Boots and pharmaceutical manufacturers with complex distribution arrangements … all with the aim of guaranteeing the maximum benefit is realized by Boots across its dispensing and pharmacy services activities.
Like so many others, the lockdowns have had a strain on my mental well-being. At work, we established a well-being team that I love being a part of, which builds on the activities we had pre-lockdown to benefit the well-being of the team. The last 12 months have been difficult to say the least, but we have adapted to the situation and brought more care to our team members, organizing virtual coffee mornings, mindfulness courses, fitness classes and a host of activities during UK Mental Health Awareness Week, which took place May 10 to 16.
I’m a sociable person, part of many groups and organizations and someone who spends a lot of time with lots of people. I’ve adapted my regular activities to make them virtual when possible, hosting events for the local football supporters club, providing support as an NHS volunteer responder for my local community by delivering medicines and food for those who are vulnerable, fundraising for the local hospital, and actively taking part in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives with established organizations such as the Football Supporters’ Association.
My weekends have changed too. Instead of watching football, playing club hockey or golf, they’re filled with virtual football fan zone events, long walks with the family by the river, ice cream in the park, family cooking time and Zoom cocktail nights with university friends and family.
I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over, but I am grateful for my family, my job and my team members who have all supported me to get through this. I can’t wait see them all in person soon.