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Professor Elmi Muller – Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University – Leading Your Way

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Professor Elmi Muller, who is the dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University (FMHS). She is a global authority on kidney and liver transplantation and trailblazer in the field of organ transplantation in HIV-positive patients. During her tenure as head of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Division of General Surgery, she initiated a Donation after Cardiac Death programme and a transplant programme for HIV-positive patients utilising HIV-positive donors at Groote Schuur Hospital. She is a past president of the South African Transplantation Society and currently president of the International Transplantation Society (TTS).

Our conversation touches on leadership under challenging conditions, where people operate in resource constrained environments and uncertain circumstances. Under these situations it can be daunting to expend energy on innovation and bigger picture thinking about the future without being swamped by day-to-day pressures. To succeed leaders need to be enabled, supported and recognised for their efforts. We acknowledge that leadership looks different for different people and individuals lead in their own way. Being open to diversity creates a more nuanced environment that considers alterative perspectives. We comment on informal and formal channels to encourage leadership, such as social engagements and mentorship programs. Building a successful career does not mean sacrificing your personal life. Prof  Muller shares her strategy for compartmentalizing different facets of her life, which helps her to separate her work and home life to be present in the space that demands her attention.

In closing, Prof Muller inspires us to celebrate ourselves, and rather than trying to change who we are to fit in, we should work with our environments to bring out our strengths.

Tune in for  more…

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