The Birth of the HBA Florida Pre-Affiliate

In 2000, the first HBA chapter was launched in Atlanta followed by San Francisco and Boston in 2001. In 2003, the Metro Chapter (Conn, N.Y. and N.J.) was spun off from the then national organization.  Also in 2003, three additional chapters were created:  Indiana, Chicago and Mid-Atlantic (MD, DE, DC, and VA).

In 2006, two new chapters launched: Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and Greater Philadelphia.  During 2007 our Europe chapter launched.  The Southern California chapter was formed in 2008.  Our growth continued in 2009 with the launch of the San Antonio and St. Louis chapters and an Ohio Affiliate. Now in 2010 we have interest in several geographic areas and Mary Margaret Armstrong, the HBA director of chapter development works with interested members to foster these new groups.

A group first must get approved as a pre-affiliate and grow their local membership.  HBA member Lynn McDermott tells the story of how the Florida pre-affiliate was conceived:

Lynda McDermott
Lynda McDermott

I had been a member of HBA for about 5 years and I spoke at the Chicago Leadership Conference.  I was so impressed with the organization and the women I was meeting,  I decided to attend the WOTY 2009 Luncheon.  (I lived and worked in NYC for over 30 years but we were re-locating our family to Tampa because our daughter is an elite swimmer and we wanted her to swim for a top coach). At the luncheon Laurie Cooke, the HBA CEO put up a slide showing the chapters and there was none in Florida. I called Mary Margaret Armstrong and asked why (knowing at that point that Florida was a HUGE healthcare state).  She said “No one has raised their hand.”  In response, I said, “Well, I’ve got one foot in NYC and one in Florida and I’m raising my hand!”  I thought it would be a good for the HBA and a good way for me to jump with both feet into the Tampa Bay business arena.

Then I called the only woman I knew in healthcare–Dr. Mimi Farmer–Mom of a swim team member and a client of mine at Pfizer who sent me to the GM of Florida who gave me the name of his RSM for Florida (who happened to be an HBA member in Atlanta)–and I had the beginning of a committee.  I am a team expert and I was not about to do this by myself!  We now have a Steering Committee of eight members, we had our first social event in February and over 50 women attended.  We knew then that we had an ‘unmet need.’  We have a planning picnic scheduled for July, where we are inviting anyone who wants to volunteer for committees, and our kick-off event has the CEO of Bayfront Health Systems, Sue Brody, addressing us.

If anyone knows anyone in Florida who should know about this new HBA initiative–let us know!


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