The 2010 Woman of the Year is Deirdre P. Connelly, president of North America Pharmaceuticals for GlaxoSmithKline. Recognized for three consecutive years by Fortune magazine as one of the 50 most powerful women in business, Ms. Connelly is a respected leader in healthcare whose intense commitment to the patient has long driven her to foster innovation within the pharmaceutical industry.
“I am deeply honored to be named Woman of the Year by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association,” said Ms. Connelly. “I have not only been fortunate to have mentors throughout my own career, but have also experienced firsthand the HBA’s commitment to develop and inspire female executives in healthcare.”
Ms. Connelly will be honored at the HBA’s 21st annual “Woman of the Year” (WOTY) Luncheon on Thursday, May 6, at the Hilton New York. This is the event of the year for the healthcare community attended by over 2,000 leaders in the industry. Awards for Honorable Mentor, the Star Volunteer, and a group of some 100 “Rising Stars,” noted for their accomplishments and contributions to the healthcare industry, will also be presented at the luncheon.
While the HBA annually receives many compelling nominations for the WOTY award, the 2010 HBA nominating committee overwhelmingly agreed that Ms. Connelly’s many accomplishments embodied the criteria for Woman of the Year, which includes success in the healthcare industry, strong leadership capabilities, proven mentoring skills, dedication, a commitment to giving back to women, and contributions to the community. Described by others as an approachable and engaged leader, Ms. Connelly is widely recognized by her colleagues as a passionate advocate for mentoring and continuous learning.
“The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association is extremely proud to honor Deirdre Connelly as our 2010 Woman of the Year, and we are inspired by her visionary capabilities in setting a clear path for success in a changing marketplace,” said Susan Torroella, president of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and COO of MEDEX Global Group. “In addition to her numerous career accomplishments, Ms. Connelly’s values of commitment to patients, integrity, transparency and respect are widely heralded among all who know her. Women leaders like Ms. Connelly serve as role models for all women in the healthcare industry, demonstrating first-hand the contributions we can all make to society.”
Ms. Connelly joined GlaxoSmithKline in February 2009, where she leads an organization of approximately 10,000 employees and over $14 billion in sales. As part of her current responsibilities, she helps shape the future of the company as a member of its global corporate executive team and co-chairs its research portfolio management board. Prior to joining GlaxoSmithKline last year, Ms. Connelly spent 24 years with Eli Lilly and Company, where she most recently served as president of Lilly USA. She held a variety of executive positions at the company, including senior vice president of human resources for Eli Lilly and Company, vice president of human resources for pharmaceutical operations, executive director of global marketing for Evista, and leader of the U.S. women’s health business unit. She began her career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1984 as a sales representative for Lilly in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she was born.
“Deirdre has a deep commitment to the patient, the customer, and the values that are absolutely necessary for our future,” said Andrew Witty, chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline. “The healthcare world is rapidly changing and our industry will continue to operate effective only if we gain society’s trust. Since joining us, Deirdre has established a strong strategic vision for the US market and has created a culture of performance while operating within a framework of integrity, respect and transparency. She not only talks about these values, she is a leader who lives these values and cultivates them in others.”
In 2008, Ms. Connelly was appointed to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, a prestigious program that grooms young professionals for work in public service. She also serves as a member of the board of directors of Macy’s Inc.
Ms. Connelly earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and marketing from Lycoming College in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program. She has served as a mentor and leadership speaker for a number of organizations, including the HBA.