Executive Director, Access, Policy and Government Relations at Roche Diagnostics Canada, François Drolet, discusses the value of leadership and what it means to be a corporate member of the College.

September 9, 2021

“Leadership is the number one weapon in our arsenal to build a very effective and impactful healthcare system. We have seen it through the pandemic, but this is a golden rule that we should always remember” says François Drolet, representing Roche Canada. 

This year, François is celebrating 33 years in the healthcare industry. He began his career in healthcare as a surgical sales representative in 1988 and went on to hold many commercial positions before becoming the Covidien’s Vice President of sales and marketing. He realized he wasn’t spending enough time with customers, so he went to work for Roche Canada, where he has been for the past 11 years. Today, he works as the Executive Director, Access, Policy and Government Relations. 

One of his greatest achievements thus far has been the creation of a vast and extended network. The healthcare system’s connection and gathering knowledge of its inner workings, as well as being able to discover the correct go-to person for the information you’re lacking and cultivating this ever-growing community is something he is very proud of. “I am proud to say that I am still in touch with folks from 33 years ago who worked with me, and that network has grown immensely.”

“Throughout the pandemic, it became clear that while we have technology, medication, and a variety of other tools at our disposal, leadership is the most important weapon we have against COVID-19, as I stated during a webinar with Jaason Geerts, Director, Research and Leadership Development at the College. “This may not be obvious to everyone, but I believe that excellent leadership leads to highly engaged teams, which in turn leads to appropriate patient care, which is exactly what the College is all about. As a member of the industry, I believe it is critical to support the College’s work in this area.”

François has been a corporate member for the last 16 years. “It has been a fantastic experience. I’ve seen the College evolve over the years and play an ever-growing vital position within the ecosystem, and I believe the College is always reinventing itself and thinking long-term rather than short-term.” Roche has been involved in a variety of ways as an organization. From the HPRS program to the mentorship program that arose from a trial program Roche started with the College over a decade ago 

Prior to working in healthcare, François worked in the publishing industry as a sales representative selling books to book stores. “When I decided to change careers, there was this real sense of purpose that is unique to the healthcare industry; we’re all in it together, whether you’re working in procurement in a hospital, as a nurse on the front lines, or with an industry leader like myself. We all have a role to play to improve and save lives, and that was the purpose-driven decision that led me to my current role”.  François came from a business family, so entering the healthcare field was a big move for him.

“If I had to counsel a potential applicant considering joining the College, I would strongly suggest them to do so because it provides a wealth of resources. I would also advise that business members become involved. In any relationship, the more time and effort you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Yes, you will have access to webinars or books if you become a bystander, but it will not be as rich as if you make the most of it. Participate in events, corporate advisor councils, and other activities that are available to help you build and develop your relationships.”

At the June 2021 Honouring Health Leadership event, Roche Canada was recognized as the recipient of the 2021 President’s Award for Outstanding Corporate Membership in the College.