Prof. Glenda Gray | President & CEO South African Medical Research Council

Glenda has expertise in mother to child transmission of HIV, HIV vaccines and microbicides. She is the Co-PI of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and Director of the HVTN International Programs. In 2002, she was awarded the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award for pioneering work done in the field of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV-1. She is a member of the Academy of Science in South Africa, and chairs their standing committee on health. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine, of the National Academies, and serves on their Global Health Board.

Glenda Gray 3My Definition Of Success | Success means doing something that impacts on the lives of others. Success means impact, and means significance. Over the years, I have realized that the only way to measure success is the impact you have on others and this is means both doing medical research that improves lives or saves lives; but also impact on others like mentoring, training and developing the next generation scientist. Personally, is understanding the value of my children and what great and insightful children they are, despite me.

I Am Driven By | I am passionate about finding a HIV vaccine, this is what drives me in my medical research. In my life as the President of the SAMRC, what drives me is making sure that the money we get, we do high quality research that changes lives. That we train and deliver to the country the next generation scientist. That we develop capacity and transform how we do science, who we fund and where we fund.

My Highlights | The highlight of my career was being a pioneer in interventions that prevented mother to child transmission and seeing them rolled out, and seeing the impact it has made, and how these interventions start to eliminate HIV in children. Highlights in my life are my children, seeing them grow and develop as human beings, their insight, spirituality and compassion for humankind.

The Difference Between Good And Great | Passion, commitment, going the extra mile, understanding the concept of significance.

A Key Talent | Passion for what you do, having no work life balance, hard work and the ability to dream and be courageous. My advice is dream big, believe in yourself and be courageous. Take risk and work hard, listen to your instincts.

The Characteristics Of Success | Understanding the human element and having compassion. As a medical doctor and scientist, there are many problems to solve, find one that intrigues you and follow it relentlessly by doing research to answer that question.

Principles I Live By | Hard work, also being willing to do the hard slog, love you work, and you will not have to work a day in your life. Love your work so much that its easy to work at nights, on the weekends, and you would even do it for free.

Glenda Gray 2Critical Skills I Develop | Being a doctor has helped, learning scientific methods, understanding the design and analysis of research.

How I Use My Mind |  I am an optimist and a believer. I have great instincts when it comes to science so understand intuitively what to do.

Lessons I Have Learnt | Learning to lean on people, learning to rely on others, trusting others, allowing yourself to be mentored and taught.

Dealing With Doubt | I also have self-reflection. I have high standards for myself and always judge myself by my failure and not my success. I have needed to learn to appreciate the good I have done, and not only look at my failures.

Performing At My Peak | I am lucky that I have always had loads of energy. Being alone on a bike clears my head, silence in the car, being quiet in my head.

Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | walking on the beach, riding my bike, sailing on the sea help. I love Bob Dylan, and listening to him always inspires me. I like reading, but am always behind on books, but when I want to escape, I escape into books. Good movies, snuggled up with my daughters makes me feel human.

My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I want to be part of a team that finds an effective HIV vaccine. As the President of the SAMRC, I want to fund science that changes mankind!

The Meaning Of Life | Is knowing that at the end of it, you can hold your head up and say  “I did good”

The Best Advice I’ve Received | Listen to others

Advice On Building Wealth | Not sure, money has never motivated me, I just want to keep working till I die!

On Inspiring Others | Recognize their brilliance and their talents, nurture them, give them opportunity and never be scared of them achieving more than you!

Glenda Gray 1I Am Inspired By | Great medical scientists….and people who have humanity…Nelson Mandela is my all-time role model, Louis Pastuer, Jenner

The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | A HIV vaccine