The name Shailaja Suresh, CEO, Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Bengaluru, has become a brand in the Indian healthcare domain. The incredible story of Shailaja highlights the homecoming of a successful woman of substance of Indian origin, who had been living in Singapore for more than 20 years. She has been a social change maker who followed her heart with courage and conviction to make a difference to the community and society in Singapore and elsewhere.
A fore-runner in her field, Shailaja, who is a proud Bangalorean, grew up in Jayanagar, did her schooling in Carmel Convent and furthered her studies in Coimbatore having completed a Bachelors and Masters in Biochemistry. Post marriage, she migrated to Singapore with her husband, a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from IIT, Chennai, and her daughters. She pursued another Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering from one of the leading universities in Singapore.
With 20 years of working experience in Singapore, holding senior administrative, lecturing and management posts at various Government and Statutory Boards such as A*STAR, Nanyang Polytechnic and Ministry of Health, Singapore, Shailaja is a brilliantly-seasoned professional. Her commitment and dedication aided her in becoming a part of the management team heading the operations of Mount Elizabeth Hospital (a Parkway Pantai Enterprise), prior to relocating to Bangalore. Shailaja was deployed by Parkway Pantai in April 2018, to lead the Gleneagles Global Hospitals in Bangalore. It is her first working experience in India and as an individual, her reputation and values are exemplary. She has grace and courage to lead from the front and inspire others.
She quit the corporate world in February 2013 as a Deputy Director at the Dept. of Infectious Diseases, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, to commit full time to her One-stop Health and Wellness Centre in Singapore (Om Vedic Heritage Centre Pte Ltd, an Ayurveda clinic). Shailaja was nominated as Singapore’s Top Five finalists for ‘Promising Indian Entrepreneur of 2011’ by the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce.
This apart, she also used to volunteer in bid to promote Indian traditions in a foreign country. Shailaja is an inspiring speaker and has been invited by many organisations in Singapore, such as Ministry of Community and Youth Singapore, SINDA (Singapore Indian Association) and Hindu Endowments Board, Esplanade theatres to deliver talks on health, religion, Indian customs & festivals, as well as motivational talks for students.
She also strongly supports ‘Go Green’ projects — one such project was to collect used oil (from kitchens, restaurants and therapy centres) to prevent the public from disposing it or reusing it, as it is carcinogenic. She facilitated the collection of reused cooking oil from apartments in Singapore, and later transferred it to a Singapore-based company — Alpha Biofuels — that converted it into Biodiesel, thus, reducing the CO2 footprint.
While in Singapore, she also volunteered the Indian NGO Goonj by actively collecting old clothes and has sent clothing weighing roughly 1,600 kg to Goonj in India. She used to also raise funds in SG to support the education of the poor in Bali. Shailaja has even trained the needy Balinese children in Ayurvedic therapy skills by sending them to India and started a therapy training centre in Bali to provide the poor local youth with life skills in Ayurvedic therapy.
As the founder President of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association of Singapore (APAS), she made another bold move to integrate all Ayurvedic Practitioners in Singapore.
Shailaja is a leader and strongly believes in Indian Shastras (knowledge that never changes with time), can influence thinking of others for good, is optimistic, witty & cheerful, with strong values and principles. She sets an example for each person she works with.
Being a mother to two daughters, and balancing work and home, she has proved that women can be successful in their lives no matter wherever you place them, Shailaja says, “I owe all this to my upbringing and especially my parents who have made me a strong believer and follower of Indian values, culture, traditions and heritage, and that is why Indian youth, especially women, need to be passionate about everything they do, and have perseverance, be smart, compassionate, punctual, and lead a disciplined life style (by even waking up before sunrise), and be a proud Indian and carry Indian values wherever you go”.