Growth and change can be challenging within dynamic, evolving startups, but it’s easier to navigate when you are tuned in to how people experience the world. Heidi Pucel, Antheia’s new Chief People Officer, knows a thing or two about this. She’s a certified executive coach who loves to activate robust people-centric solutions that are purpose-built for a company’s unique workplace and designed to meet the needs of a company’s first priority: employees.
As Antheia evolves into a new phase of scale-up and growth, especially in the areas of recruitment, employee engagement, and retention, we sat down with Heidi to learn more about her vision for Antheia’s employees and workplace culture, as its official Chief People Officer.
Antheia: You were working as a consulting HR professional with us for two years before we were lucky enough to have you join our team. What convinced you to make the transition back to an in-house position?
Heidi: I made the choice early on that if I were to ever leave consulting, I would only do so for an opportunity that would allow me to make a transformative impact within an organization. It had to be the right company – a place where my values aligned with leadership and I could truly make a difference. Antheia was the perfect fit, founded by women scientists whom I respect and believe will have a huge impact in the industry.
Plus, I’ve loved working with this leadership team – there are so many brilliant minds committed to transparency, teaching, and learning. It’s a unique and caring place primed for growth, and there was a point in our relationship where I realized that I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. When our CEO Christina Smolke and I began these hiring discussions, it was an easy path to “yes” for us both.
Antheia: What are you most excited about in your new role?
Heidi: Antheia is doing something that nobody else has done in the industry and I’m excited to help the company prepare itself for pivotal growth as it leans hard into its mission. I’m also thrilled to join a health and life sciences company. In HR, I’m able to work with an array of industries, but working directly in an industry that will have a positive impact on pharma and making healthcare accessible for people of diverse populations is huge to me. So, I’m happy that I can make a difference in a sector that I deeply value.
Antheia: As you mentioned, we’re at an exciting stage of growth. What are the big workplace opportunities you see for us?
Heidi: The most important opportunity is employee engagement. Keeping an open dialogue with our employees through surveys and team meetings allows us to pulse-check the organization and ensure people’s needs are met – it’s also critical for talent retention in an increasingly competitive market. We want to ensure that people’s experiences are rewarding and satisfying, both at work and when they leave the office. That means we will also be expanding our formal rewards programs to include other appreciation and recognition programs that are meaningful and uplifting for our teams.
Antheia: How does your coaching background inform your approach to leading and empowering employees?
Heidi: I am someone who enjoys listening to people and helping them find their own answers. To my core, that’s who I am – someone who meets people where they are to unlock their highest potential. Coaching is empowering an individual, not being directive or prescriptive about what they need to do to achieve their goals. That means I’m trained to listen without judgment and to ask powerful, provocative questions to help others reflect on what they want, what works, and what doesn’t. It’s critical to hone talent that way – through empowerment – because as you scale and develop new leaders, you must focus on what people want to do to grow themselves. It’s the magic to upleveling, and I believe it will set Antheia a step ahead of its peers. I’m thrilled to be a part of every Antheia team member’s journey.
Antheia: What are you hoping to bring to the people-side of the company, as CPO?
Heidi: I want to focus on weaving diverse thinking into our cultural fabric, as a natural part of our organizational flow and way of being. Antheia was founded to help ensure equitable access to essential medicines that people around the world rely on and I want to ensure that our roots in accessibility and diversity are represented in every aspect of the business, including my work in recruitment, retention, and promotions. While it can be harder to accomplish aggressive DEI goals in an earlier stage of a business, we are committed to laying the foundation now, so that as we scale our organization, we do so thoughtfully and inclusively.
If you’re interested in joining the Antheia team, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date with our open job opportunities and for a deeper look into what it’s like to work at Antheia, read more on our blog.