International Women’s Day

March 5, 2014

IWDSaturday March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD). This year’s theme is inspiring change. International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900′s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

HBA board members share how the HBA intersects with IWD:

“Recently, significant public attention surrounded Mary Barra, the newly named CEO of General Motors, and Dr. Janet Yellen, the newly appointed chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, as they assumed high ranking and influential leadership roles traditionally held by men. Someday women reaching these highest levels and executive posts won’t command as much attention as it will be completely commonplace for women to take the helm and lead major organizations. Women bring important qualities to organizational leadership whether it’s in the auto industry, consumer goods, finance, life sciences, or other segments. Until we reach full parity with men—advancement of women worldwide through programs designed to sponsor women and help them prepare for and assume leadership roles in business are now more critical than ever.  The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) provides programs and services to help women advance in the careers of their choosing.”

Jeanne Zucker, president

“The HBA represents the collaboration and power of women united toward a common goal and mission. The impact and focus of our over 6,300 members is creating momentum toward success to change leadership and opportunities within the healthcare industry.

Keri Collete, second vice president

“Like so many of the inspiring women who have preceded us in changing the landscape for women in the workplace, being a member of the HBA allows me to be a part of “the change I wish to change!”  HBA leaders are full of hope and courage that will, no doubt, impact opportunities that await future generations of women. Perhaps Margaret Mead said it best, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Amy Bybee, secretary

“International Women’s Day is an important time for us to honor how far women have come as leaders in society and business. We still have much to do to achieve equality! Being part of the HBA has been one way in which I try and make a difference in helping women achieve their personal and professional dreams.”

Kathy Fitzpatrick, treasurer

What does this day mean to you? How are you marking this occasion with your team? Please submit a comment to share your thoughts and activities.

Make Your Mark At LLNS we are celebrating the day by giving fully paid HBA memberships, and copies of Make Your Mark by Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, chief medical officer of Pfizer Inc.  “Make Your Mark contains inspirational leadership lessons gleaned from Dr. Lewis-Hall’s remarkable career in healthcare, as well as inspiration gained from her family, mentors and colleagues. I hope that Dr. Lewis-Hall’s warm, caring and solid leadership lessons will inspire my team to create a meaningful career for themselves and others.

Sharon F. Callahan
CEO, LLNS & EVP Omnicom Group, Inc.

Join the conversation on social media too:
Follow #womensday on Twitter
Comment on the IWD Facebook page: facebook/internationalwomensday
Discuss at LinkedIn/internationalwomensday

Message from the HBA president Jeanne Zucker

February 7, 2014
Jeanne Zucker

Jeanne Zucker

I was thrilled when I read that Mary Barra was named CEO of General Motors. Someday women reaching the highest levels and executive posts of major corporations won’t command as much attention because it will be completely commonplace for women to take the helm at major organizations. Someday, women will achieve equal rank, equal pay, and equal representation in both the labor force and the leadership force. Until then, we have our work cut out for ourselves.

To advance our place as women leaders, we must join the future-shaping conversations, we must become relevant, we must advocate for women at every step along their career track, and we must empower women to flourish and have impact in whatever career path or position they choose.

At HBA, our mission is to further the advancement and engagement of women in healthcare worldwide. The way we will fulfill this is to matter and be influential in the key arenas and decision making forums where we can move the needle to address the disparity of women as 73% of the labor force but only 4% of the leadership force1.

During my year as president in 2014 we will build upon the strong foundation laid out during 2012 and 2013 by Buket Grau and Terri Pascarelli, respectively. In these years, we set out our objectives to become portable—able to move with our constituents over time, geography and career path; to become a trusted partner and advisor to our constituents and an authority on women’s leadership needs in the areas of skill building, networking, recognition and mentoring.

The year, 2014 will be a year to ground ourselves in our mission and prepare ourselves for exponential growth. Growth will create recognition and an opportunity for raising our public persona and awareness. By maintaining continuity between 2013 and 2014, we expect completion of our six strategic initiatives which will bring us (1) refreshed branding and positioning for the HBA to capitalize on new market segments and better describe our value proposition to our key stakeholders; (2) a re-investment in our mentoring programs and virtual program offerings to address career advancement; (3) a new business development approach for attracting and engaging new corporate partners that includes revenue and cost share with our chapters and simultaneously scale and operate as one HBA; (4) improved technology for event and membership management; (5) successful flagship events with a clear future state; and (6) enhancements to our  membership model for explosive growth in the coming years.

Critical to our current and future plans and fulfillment of our expectations for 2014, as outlined above, is a clear and achievable operating plan. To support our efforts, we have developed a one page summary of our financial goals and critical deliverables. To help our leadership team and staff manage toward these expectations, we have developed several milestone trackers representing all of our key areas of focus which we will review quarterly to assess our progress as an association board and management team. Using new management tools and a clear set of financial goals and operational deliverables, we have clear sightlines to what success in 2014 will look like and what will position us for growth and influence in the immediate years to come.

With greater tour de force behind us and our inspiring HBA esprit de corps in front of us, we can start to move the needle on our industry influence and impact.

I look forward to serving as the HBA president in 2014.

1. as measured by women holding the CEO role in healthcare companies (medical and health service managers) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in July 2012.

HBA President Terri Pascarelli’s Reflections on 2013

December 9, 2013

In the 2013 HBA, we too have an opportunity to go where there is no path, and blaze a trail. As I reflect on what we’ve accomplished together this year, here’s what I’m thinking about:

Our HBA leadership team has taken significant steps to address how we will fulfill our mission and vision heading into the future – and it’s causing us to blaze a new trail. We updated our board operating structure, carefully prioritized our strategies, and engaged across the corporate and chapter operating units of the HBA to set the strategic direction in motion.

We’ve committed to three strategic focus areas:Strategic pillars

Career Advancement – so that through the HBA, women can more fully own the navigation of their careers

Brand Enhancement– so that we more clearly communicate and deliver value from the HBA to you – regardless of where you engage with us, geographically or virtually

Stakeholder Engagement - so that individual member and company stakeholders are supported by HBA membership models that are up-to-date and empower  members to flourish in their careers and to achieve enhanced business success for themselves and their employers.

TechnologyIn 2013 we’ve validated and are launching a new Association Management System (AMS)- a technology to support the way we share information, engage with one another, and reach beyond our current geographies to become a more truly global HBA. We delivered a vibrant Leadership Competency Framework that will unify our career advancement initiatives across chapters and global HBA. We’re critically evaluating our membership models through an integrated Strategic Research Initiative (SIR) – providing a tested foundation to confirm our membership and value proposition for the years ahead. The SIR we invested in this year will also deliver key insights into the career advancement suite of initiatives, i.e. our HBA toolkit for delivering value from the HBA to all our members, regardless of where they explore careers in the business of healthcare.

This year has been one focused on strategy, the discipline to prioritize, and integration across our strategic initiatives. Our passion is delivering value on your behalf – our individual and corporate members. My biggest reflection is how much we are accomplishing together because we’re testing our boundaries and stepping together into some big and important strategic decisions. I’m so appreciative of the leadership of our board, our volunteers and our staff – trailblazers, all!

Emmerson quote

Book review: The Improvisation Edge: Secrets to Building Trust and Radical Collaboration at Work

September 27, 2013

Book by Karen Hough

Reviewed by Carol Meerschaert

As a staff member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, an organization that offers a radical hospitality experience, reading a book with a theme of radical collaboration warmed my heart and peaked my interest.

The introduction of this book describes “your biggest problem at work and the most unexpected solution.” This section examines how work issues are tied to the need to collaborate, be flexible, and most importantly engage and engender trust. Karen then shares how the four secrets of improvisation solves these problems.

Theatrical improvisers rely on trust in each other to succeed. In addition they demonstrate the vital business skills of risk management and radical collaboration. Improv teaches people to turn disasters into opportunities.

Chapter one details how an atmosphere of acceptance and a positive nature creates deep capacities for collaboration, innovation and acceptance. Chapter two examines the deep meaning of the word “and” and explains why it is critical to get in there and play. Chapter three explores radical collaboration. Chapter four brings us from “opps to eureka” so we learn how the unexpected can actually create advantages.

Karen’s workshop was the top rated workshop at the HBA 2012 Leadership Conference and her workshops at the HBA 2013 Leadership Conference is sold out.

Karen’s second book with publisher, Berrett-Koehle, “Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever! Break the Rules, Make Mistakes and Win Them Over” will be published in 2014.

Karen Hough is the founder and CEO of ImprovEdge, a company that creates learning experiences, training and consulting using improvisation to teach business skills. For many years a senior sales executive in the networking engineering industry, she has also been a professional improviser and actor for 20 years, including training at Chicago’s legendary Second City.

Book review: The Charisma Edge: A How-To Guide For Turning On Your Leadership Power

September 26, 2013
The Charisma Edge

The Charisma Edge

by Cynthia Burnham

As Cynthia writes in the introduction to this book, to be a leader “being smart and technically competent is absolutely critical, but it isn’t enough. To be a great leader, whether a man or a woman, you need something more, a spark that makes people want to follow you.” That spark is charisma.

The good news is charisma is a learnable skill and this book is your guide.

This guide suggests you set a goal of nine weeks plus one day to reach great charisma. The book offers a week-by-week program so that the 101 tips in the book are broken into easy to practice and master sessions. Cynthia explains the neuroscience behind why the tips work and also offers self-assessments so you can see where you are.

The book is divided into three main sections. You will learn to look, act and feel charismatic. The look section covers posture and clothing. Act discusses expressions, adjusting your voice, choosing your words and articulation. Feeling charismatic is taught via lessons on attitude, self-identity and calming your nerves.

The HBA is thrilled to have Cynthia Burnham, founder of Ideas Take Flight presenting two sold out workshops titled: Owning the Room: Simple Secrets to Increasing Your Leadership Charisma at the 2013 HBA Leadership ConferenceNovember 13-15, 2013 in Boston.

Register today

Re-imagining the healthcare industry: The role of women

September 4, 2013

HBA Leadership Conference

Meg Columbia-Walsh, Sunergos LLC

A whirlwind of change is underway in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Change of this magnitude has not been seen in almost 50 years. The healthcare industry as a whole is dealing with the implications of reform and a pharmaceutical business model in transition. The current day-to-day reality many executives face is challenging. Looking from this current reality, it is critical to envision a future that restores trust in the industry, ensures a patient centric model, inspires employee engagement, and solidifies financial performance.

At a time of intense change, women executives are being called on to “lean in” and many are asking – what role can executive women play in the future of the healthcare industry?

To help explore this question, Sunergos has been selected to lead a double session at the 2013 Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Leadership Conference. On Friday, November 15, Sunergos will bring the heart of the cutting-edge transformational leadership program, Living From Your Legacy Now, to select executive women at the conference. This powerful three-hour session is part of the conference’s first-ever Executive Women’s Forum track.

The power of women’s impact and the need for transformation in the industry has never been greater. In this highly inspirational session participants will discover the inherent power of leading and living from a designed legacy. The executives will begin to create their own compelling legacy and explore the enduring impact their legacy will have on their life and performance. The women in this session will join together for a community discussion to explore and imagine the impact women can have in shaping the future of the pharmaceutical industry.

In this time of intense change, I say women must do more than “lean in”, we must join together in becoming the trailblazers of our industry and companies, creating the transformation of a re-imagined, ground breaking business model. It will take the empowerment of women executives to make this happen.

Join us at the session by registering for the conference and the Executive Women’s Forum track at  Read more about the world of transformation at Become part of this community and jump into this critical discussion by posting your comments here.

The impact of patient advocacy on healthcare: Bringing a whole new meaning to personalized medicine

August 20, 2013

by Susan Cuozzo

Kathy Giusti, CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). Marilyn Geller, CEO of the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF). Wendy S. White, founder and president of Siren Interactive, an advertising agency focused solely on rare disease. What do these women have in common? They are leading organizations that are driving innovation, awareness and research in diseases once relatively unknown or incurable—and they’re all coming at it from a personal connection.

A pioneer of patient advocacy

In 1996, when Kathy Giusti, then a 37-year-old executive director at G.D. Searle (now part of Pfizer), was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and told her cancer had a zero percent cure rate, personalized medicine was not a commonly talked about theme in healthcare and the idea of pharmaceutical companies working directly with patients—or even marketing directly to them—was in its infancy.

But being a savvy business leader and a pharma insider, former HBA Woman of the Year (WOTY) Giusti, along with her twin sister, a corporate attorney, recognized that they could—in fact had to—make a big and rapid impact. They founded the MMRF, formed partnerships with corporations like Searle, Time Inc. and Grey Healthcare, and within 16 months, had raised nearly a million dollars for research.

Fifteen years later, the MMRF has raised $225 million, sequenced the myeloma genome, opened 46 trials of 23 drugs and supported the FDA approval of six new treatments. The result? They’ve helped to more than double the life span of multiple myeloma patients. And, they’ve founded CoMMpassSM (Relating Clinical Outcomes in MM to Personal Assessment of Genetic Profile), the first study of its kind in multiple myeloma that will collect and analyze tissue samples and genetic information from approximately 1,000 multiple myeloma patients—and match it with longitudinal clinical data—over the next 8-10 years. Ultimately, the data, which will be placed into the public domain for researchers worldwide to access, will help to speed the progression to targeted treatment approaches. The study, which includes an unprecedented collaboration with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, funding by several pharmaceutical companies and participation by more than 50 cancer centers across the country, marks an incredible coming together of a non-profit association with government, corporations and clinical centers to drive innovation.

What’s more is that Giusti, and others like her, have inspired millions of patients with rare or difficult-to-cure diseases to take matters into their own hands—bringing a whole new meaning to the term “personalized medicine.” For them, it’s all personal, and it’s that determination to cure themselves, their parents and siblings, children and friends that drives them to demand awareness, attention and research.

“Today more than ever, patients have the power to play a major role in their treatment and care,” says Giusti. “By donating tissue and sharing their data through MMRF initiatives, patients are directly contributing to the advancement of precision-based medicines from which they themselves will benefit.”

An agency leader dedicated to rare diseases

Wendy White, founder and president of Siren Interactive and board member of the executive committee for the HBA, knows all too well the important role that patient advocacy plays in both rare disease diagnosis and bringing orphan drugs to market. Her daughter, born in 2001 with a rare disorder, was diagnosed as a direct result of White’s becoming an empowered caregiver through access to online information.

White turned her experience and passion into Siren Interactive, where she leads an agency team that works to make a positive difference in the lives of rare disease patients, caregivers and physicians through relationship marketing. She has witnessed first-hand the win-win results that come from the collaboration of industry and non-profit organizations to advance the treatment of patients with rare diseases. “Patient advocacy groups frequently lead the way, driving the science and working with academics getting drugs through clinical trials and sometimes actually funding pharma,” says White, referencing her friend Pat Furlong, founding president and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD). Furlong lost two sons to Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood, affecting approximately 1 in every 3,500 live male births (about 20,000 new cases each year). PPMD has funded research conducted by independent researchers as well as major pharmaceutical companies to help develop much needed therapies for Duchenne.

“In the rare disease space, advocacy and industry work collaboratively and differently than in the traditional model and this is probably going to happen more in the future as people are forced into taking healthcare into their own hands,” says White, noting the MMRF’s CoMMpass study as a key example. She also explains that another model often seen in rare disease, where there may be a more fractured advocacy landscape, is when a drug therapy or brand can actually serve as a consolidator to bring multiple advocacy groups for a given disease together. “Regardless of the model, it is really all about the common denominator—patient outcomes,” she says.

A mother raising awareness of a serious disease

In addition to research and treatment, patient advocates and their philanthropic organizations are also driving awareness and understanding of previously overlooked diseases. Marilyn Geller’s journey to becoming CEO of the CDF began when her son Henry was finally diagnosed with celiac disease after suffering from chronic sinusitis and severe stomachaches for the first 14 years of his life. After being seen by a variety of specialists, it was recommended that Henry have sinus surgery to address the post-nasal drip that was presumably causing his terrible stomachaches. Uncertain about the surgery, Geller asked for every possible test to be done first. It was a simple $29 blood test that led to a celiac disease diagnosis—a test that should have been ordered years before.

Like any good parent, Geller went on to educate herself about the disease, eventually leading to her involvement in the CDF, where she now works to educate others. “Raising awareness is critical,” she notes, as an estimated 2.5 million of the 3 million Americans with celiac disease remain undiagnosed.

In addition to education and outreach, the CDF is pushing for legislation requiring accurate labeling of all food and medications to give people the information they need to avoid gluten. The organization also actively raises funds to support research and advocates for continued federal funding to further the understanding of celiac disease. According to Geller, relationships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies help the CDF execute its myriad programs. For example, partnerships with ALBA Therapeutics, Alvine Pharmaceuticals, Bioline Rx and ImmusanT helped to make the 2013 National Education Conference and Gluten-free EXPO—the nation’s leading patient education and support conference for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity—a reality.

Taking matters into your own hands

We hope these women have inspired you to make medicine personal. White offers this advice for getting involved in a partnership to drive awareness, research and innovation in medicine: Have an idea, start a dialog and don’t be afraid to follow your passion. The possibilities are greater than ever before as the borders between advocacy and industry continue to become more fluid. “If you want to make a difference, the opportunities are there for you to follow your passion,” says White. “The concrete steps are to be brave and lean in and make a suggestion about what may be best for patient outcomes and think about it more broadly than your own job description.”

Tell us how your organization works with non-profits to further healthcare causes

Share your experiences partnering with patient advocacy or philanthropic organizations to further healthcare causes. Please comment on this blog post.


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