At an age when children would shudder at the sight of blood, 10-year-old Gauri Puri would remain calm. When her friend fell and hurt his leg badly, Gauri promptly cleaned his wound and stopped the bleeding before taking him back to school.
Not surprisingly, Gauri, who grew up in the hills of Mussoorie, chose the medical profession. She trained as a dentist and started working at AIIMS when she was 21. “I owe a lot to AIIMS…it taught me humility,” she says.
After a couple of years at the country’s premier medical institution, she took a sabbatical for six months. Not one to while away the hours, Gauri took up an opportunity offered by a business process management (BPM) company that wanted a medical doctor to help them adjudicate health claims in the US market.
“I had to lead a team of around 60 doctors and we had to fly to the US. I had to learn everything from scratch, right from managing a team to learning new subjects. It was thrilling,” she says. When her tenure was about to get over, she chose to stay with the company, and made the transition from operation theatres to board rooms. “Till date, I look forward to every new learning opportunity,” she says.
In 2007, she joined BPM company WNS as an associate vice-president. She started in the training role in banking, financial services, insurance and healthcare. After three years, she sought a change because she wanted to move out of her comfort zone. So, along with her existing role, she started working in HR and handled new geographies, including Philippines and Sri Lanka. “This role made me appreciate different cultures,” she says.
In 2017, Gauri was elevated to the role of business unit leader for healthcare and life science. In the first couple of months, she would spend 18-20 hours a day understanding the nitty gritties of the business. “I also worked with the team to integrate them as one strong cohesive unit and create a shared vision.” Over the years, she built her skills in operations management, HR, transformation, robotics and digitisation in BPM.
When Gauri took over the healthcare unit, it used to contribute 7% to revenues; today it is 20%.
But, it is not just the growth she is proud of. She’s happy that her entire team has progressed during this journey. She leads a team of around 4,000 doctors, coders, pharmacists and healthcare professionals. Gauri says not a single senior member of her team has quit under her leadership.