Talking courage with a Company Director

(3 minute read)

jaime mccoyJaime McCoy is Company Director and Power of Attorney at Eisai Australia.  She is a commercial leader with almost 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector. She is passionate about advancing the dialogue around the challenges facing women working in leadership roles. Jaime leads Eisai’s Australian organisation, a Japanese pharmaceutical company whose mission is to serve the needs of Oncology and Neurology patients across the world.


How would you describe workplace courage?

I would define workplace courage as upholding values and ideals even when it is not the easiest or most popular path.

What does courage look like in your workplace?

Courage in my workplace is seen when people speak up to challenge the status quo, with the best outcomes for our patients at the forefront of their mind. As a small company we need constructive tension and synergy to move forward. Our people are recruited because they are all performance oriented as individuals but to be a great team requires that people will be courageous in their decisions and discussions every day.

When recruiting new team members our leaders show courage in their commitment to hiring for culture – selecting people to join our organisation that have great potential and are aligned to our values, over all other attributes.  There is risk in this approach however we remain committed to our belief that people who are a great fit for Eisai will drive results and be engaged and committed to our mission.

Inside the business, unconventional peer-to-peer and peer-to-manager coaching and feedback occurs frequently.  This act of courage demonstrates deep commitment by our people to ensuring our organisation continues to learn and grow; so that we are better equipped to meet the healthcare challenges of our patients in the future.

Please describe 1or 2 examples of times in which you have been courageous.  What did you do?  Who/what enabled you to be courageous?  What was the outcome?  

In the past I have made decisions regarding the use of our medicines that may be surprising to others as they are not considered to be the most profitable outcome.

“hhc,” Eisai’s human health care philosophy, is championed by the CEO of our company.  This guiding principle puts patients and their families first in all that we do and enables me to be courageous, rather than what may bring a short-term gain. This deeply resonates with my views on how a healthcare organisation should operate, but may not align with our organisational financial goals and for this reason is not always considered to be the right decision by all stakeholders.

As a leader I try to be consistently transparent in two areas – owning my mistakes and my areas for development.  One way I have done this recently is to share the outcomes of my 360-degree feedback with my team and commit to working toward change in some areas.

Although at times it can feel daunting to be vulnerable with your team, it helps to build trust and a growth mind-set across the organisation – a view that none of us are perfect and all of us can learn and develop.  Subsequently some of my direct reports have done the same with their teams and peers which was great to see.  Ultimately, we cannot expect our colleagues to be open to coaching and development if we as their leaders are not.

From your point of view, to what extent are Australia’s leaders leading with courage?

Unfortunately, I think that courageous decisions often go unheralded and it is the leaders without integrity that more often linger in peoples’ minds.

My experience in discussions with leaders in my network is that they intend to lead courageously however they are at times stymied by politics and processes.  Australia also has a strong culture of ‘mates’ in business and on occasions this drives behaviours that are not courageous. Ultimately consistent commitment to your values is an attribute of a great leader, holding ourselves and others to this ideal must be without exception.

Courageous decisions gain you respect from colleagues, when you clearly communicate your values and consistently stay committed to them.  It is true that respect is enduring, but you are only well liked for your most recent decision.


Jaime’s commitment to her values is evident in every interaction and her energy  is contagious!  

If you would like to ask any questions of Jaime, please contact her at


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