From Phlebotomy to Chemistry, Flavia has come a long way

Come rain or shine, all of us were at the lab in our shiny coats, making sure that our customers got accurate reports on time.

At Metropolis, it is our people who drive our success. Every accurate report, every happy customer and every clinician who is at ease — is thanks to our people who walk the extra mile. We are proud to present one of our oldest and champion Metropolitan… Flavia Almeida

Flavia joined us in the year 1989 at our very first lab at Gamdevi. It was a small lab as compared to the current swanky 40,000 sq. ft. Global Reference Laboratory. When we met Flavia at the GRL, she is seen juggling multiple calls from all over the country.

Her interview back in 1989 was very straightforward. Our chairman and founder, Dr Sushil Shah met her and asked, ‘Do you want to work? Flavia responded in the affirmative. Then, Dr Sushil Shah said, “Come to the lab from tomorrow.” However, Flavia did not turn up the next day. It took two days to convince her parents to allow her to work.

A step towards empowerment

That was the first step towards empowerment. An MBA, Flavia was a topper in her college. She cleared her graduation with a distinction. She dreamt of becoming a doctor. However, 3 decades back, there was very little career guidance and, getting admitted to a private college for medical education was difficult. Nonetheless, the Chemistry topper from those days is today handling an integral part of our Clinical Chemistry section.

Flavia fondly remembers the early days. Most of the tests were either manual or semi-automated. At times, she used to collect, separate, process and test the sample all by herself along with drawing the report. Reports were typed on a typewriter and Dr Sushil Shah made sure that every single report was reviewed and signed by him. Flavia adds, “He checked reports meticulously. Our DNA of quality comes from there. He questioned every report and at times randomly checked batches himself. This way, he was always sure that the lab was giving out accurate reports.”

“There was no accreditation 30 years back and the diagnostic industry is still crippled with regulatory issues. We are proud that Metropolis always did what was right and earned the trust of doctors and patients.”

Flavia quips. “Come rain or shine, all of us were at the lab in our shiny coats, making sure that our customers got accurate reports on time. Back then, there was no formal home visit booking. Customers used to visit the lab, or peek through the windows and say “kal ghar aana, blood lene (Come home to collect my blood sample tomorrow). All of us knew our customers personally. We knew their family and their history.” Flavia recalls collecting the blood samples of Ms Romi Bhatia (Cricketer Kapil Dev’s wife) and Aarti Surendranth (Advertising Filmmaker, Kailash Surendranath’s wife).

From reports being typed on a typewriter to the first computer that ran on FoxPro, Flavia has witnessed the growth of Metropolis. She has seen new technologies and new machines come in every year. “Dr Shah focussed on automation as he felt that was the future. He made sure that we reduce manual intervention to the greatest extent possible. We started off with Radioimmunoassay Technique, IVF tests and then one by one, we introduced newer sections in the lab namely Automated Immunoassays, HIV Viral Load, ELISA, IF, Flow Cytometry and a string of specialized test. Terms and names that we hadn’t even heard before…”

We asked her what she likes most about Metropolis and she is quick to reply, “It has always been like a family. When I meet the chairman, he is always kind. He enquires about my family. We look up to him. He is like a father figure.”

Flavia recalls a memory that she distinctly remembers. Metropolis had set up a lab at Worli in the year 2000. One day, when she reported to work, she saw Ameera sitting at the reception desk. She had heard about Ameera, Dr Shah’s daughter coming back from the US to help her dad with the business. She was astounded to find her sitting at the reception.

“For two years, Ameera juggled between departments; at the reception desk, the customer care team, the medical team, the sales and marketing team. She did spend a considerable amount of time on the field. This explains the strong and the depth of the knowledege she has about the indsutry.”

We asked Flavia as to what keeps her at Metropolis? After a thought, she replied, “I do get various job offers. The reason for non-acceptance is that, here at Metropolis, it feels like one big family. She said and we quote, “Metropolis is a very happening place”