The Power of Vulnerability: On Being Your Authentic Self (With Dr. Priya Agrawal)

The Power of Vulnerability: On Being Your Authentic Self (Guest Dr. Priya Agrawal)

Episode 8 is live, and Dr. Priya Agrawal, Global Lead for HPV Vaccines at Merck, joins Melissa to talk through why she strives to be an authentic leader, the power and energy that she finds in vulnerability… and why we all need to stop worrying so much about what others think.

Priya has spent her life dedicated to advancing global public health with a special focus on vaccines and women’s health. She is a proven transformational leader with a strong track record for launching or advancing successful public health initiatives and innovations within both the private and public sectors.

dr. priya agrawal
  • 3:50: Priya’s background and lessons learned growing up.
  • 10:10: More about Priya’s career journey, and how it has evolved. 
  • 14:00: How Priya was able to find the courage to trust her calling.
  • 18:15: How authenticity and vulnerability have helped her to define her journey. 
  • 21:30: More about the concept ‘You Be You‘.
  • 23:25: Why being authentic can be energizing.
  • 29:28: The power of purpose-drive choices.
  • 34:00: The one thing that every women needs in her life. 

More about Dr. Priya Agrawal

Dr. Priya Agrawal is Global Lead for HPV Vaccines at Merck. The second most important product portfolio at Merck. 

She has worked and travelled in more than 45 countries using the introduction and scale-up of innovations to improve health outcomes. When COVID struck, she was asked to serve as Chief Behavioral Science Officer for Global Vaccines at Merck due to the rising Vaccine hesitancy the world was experiencing. Previous to that, she led the African business for Merck, and launched the Vaccines and Women’s Health business unit in the UK. She started at Merck over nine years ago to launch the company’s signature initiative Merck for Mothers – a 500 million dollar initiative focused on ensuring no woman dies while giving life.

Prior to Merck, she worked as a clinician, an academic, led digital healthcare innovations at Harvard, was technical advisor to WHO, and was a social entrepreneur – a portfolio career always fueled by her singular purpose: Ensuring that girls and women have voice and choice, so they can fulfill their potential and lift up society. 

Priya is trained as an obstetrician and gynecologist in the UK. She received her degrees in medicine from the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford, and graduated with a master’s from the Harvard School of Public Health on a Fulbright Scholarship. She is a board member of Pathfinder International and a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. In 2015 she was honored with the Forbes Impact Award in Brain-powered Advocacy

If you want to find Priya – she is either sharing her latest ‘from the heart’ insights on LinkedIn, enjoying the latest foodie discovery, dancing with her tribe of women, or hiking or swimming in the ocean with her family. If she magically has found a few minutes of quiet in the world to rejuvenate her mind and spirit, you might find her reading one of her many new books, or on an incomparable catch up call with her mother!

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Melissa Dawn Simkins Coined “The First Lady of Personal Branding”, Melissa is the CEO of Velvet Suite, a trusted advisor to Fortune 100s, C-Suite executives and influencers, highly-sought after keynote speaker on leadership innovation, a contributor to and a frequent guest on news and business media, including CNN, HLN, MSNBC, Essence, Black Enterprise and more.

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