Payal Sahni's journey from a childhood in Afghanistan to her current role as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Pfizer is a testament to the power of purpose and perseverance.
Born in Afghanistan, Sahni's family sought refuge in the United States when she was just six years old. This early experience instilled in her a deep appreciation for the opportunities and safety her new homeland provided. Sahni's parents worked tirelessly, holding multiple jobs, to offer her a better life, a sacrifice she carries with her to this day.
The generosity and compassion she saw in her parents influenced Sahni's values. Their willingness to drop everything to support a friend left an indelible mark on her. This spirit of giving back became a cornerstone of Sahni's life.
Initially aspiring to become a doctor to honor her family's wishes, Sahni's path took a different turn when she discovered that medicine wasn't her calling. Instead, she pursued psychology, finding a passion for human understanding of human behavior and choices. It was a wise professor who steered her towards a career in human resources, recognizing her innate ability to motivate and inspire others.
Since joining Pfizer in 1997, Sahni's journey with the company spans nearly 25 years. Her dedication is rooted in the shared mission to save lives, a mission that resonates deeply with her. In 2020, when faced with the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic, she assumed the role of Chief Human Resources Officer, a position that required her to draw on her decades of organizational knowledge and trust her instincts.
Under Sahni's leadership, Pfizer's purpose-driven culture has flourished. She places a strong emphasis on hiring individuals not only for their technical skills but also for their moral compass. This approach ensures that every team member is aligned with the company's mission of putting patients first.
Sahni's commitment extends beyond the walls of Pfizer. As a refugee herself, she is dedicated to helping others find safety and a better life. Collaborating with organizations like TENT, Pfizer has committed to hiring and mentoring refugees, a cause Sahni holds close to her heart.
For Sahni, leadership is synonymous with compassion. She believes that true strength lies in lifting others up, and she leads by example. Though she may not work directly with patients, she understands that her team's efforts have the power to change lives.
Sahni is a shining example of the impact one person can have in a world that is purpose-driven. Her story reminds us that no matter our beginnings, it is our choices and dedication to a greater cause that define our legacy.