Nancy Larsen, HBA STAR, remarks from the Woman of the Year event, May 2012

Nancy Larson
Nancy Larsen, HBA’s 2012 STAR
The historical figure, Paul Revere, earned a living as a silversmith. But, what do we most remember him for? We remember the night he volunteered.

I so appreciate being recognized with the 2012 STAR award for my volunteer efforts with HBA over the years. I will share with you what volunteering with HBA has done for me.

But first…hands up…how many of you have volunteered for something outside of the company you work with? So why do people like us volunteer?

When I thought about what one word could sum up why I have continued to volunteer…well it all boils down to what I have gotten back from HBA and that is connections. Connections to diverse groups of people.

For example, I got to know Leslie Reynolds from the HBA Mid-Atlantic chapter. She is a Washington DC lawyer who joined HBA to learn more about the healthcare industry.  Leslie went on to become a president of the Mid-Atlantic chapter. We connected when we both volunteered for the 2011 HBA Leadership Conference , she on content, me on sponsorship. I accepted the role of conference co-chair for content for this year’s HBA Leadership Conference because of our connection and knew I could count on her to share with me how to climb that rope.

Another thing I have gotten in return for volunteering is the ability to hone some of my leadership skills and give back as a mentor. One example I can give was when I purely observed a fellow member. Let me tell you about that. It was when I had an opportunity to serve as a co-mentor with Wendy Mantel of the HBA Metro chapter. While Wendy and I were teamed up to mentor a group of young women who were looking to develop and fine tune their networking skills, I was struck by the way Wendy was coaching these women. I learned from that HBA volunteer relationship. By the way, I recommended that she really should be a coach. She listened to me and she is that today.

HBA volunteering also provided me with a sense of achievement and satisfaction. I was lucky enough to have been asked by HBA if I would team up with a woman from San Antonio who wanted to start a chapter. Deb Wells is her name. She moved to San Antonio from Chicago, where she was used to being a member of HBA. So when she found that there was no chapter in Texas, Deb decided that there needed to be one, as San Antonio is one of the hubs of the healthcare and bioscience industry. I spent 3 wonderful years working with Deb and her affiliate as she and the San Antonio members made their journey from affiliate to chapter status. I have heard a Texas saying “ You’ve got a friend in Texas”… because of volunteering with the HBA, I wouldn’t dream  of going  to Texas and not calling on my chapter of friends.

I am just one of the thousands of volunteers who have, over the years, brought their ideas to HBA; ideas that have shaped HBA into what it is today. I am pleased to say the one idea that I was intimately involved in was the design and implementation of the ACE Award. This major award is given, each year, to a company that demonstrates its dedication to increasing the recognition of women in its organization.I know future volunteers will continue to shape HBA into an organization befitting the future of our healthcare industry.

And, if you want to better prepare yourself for your own future in the healthcare industry, this year’s Leadership Conference is the place to be.Three of the reasons this year’s conference is extra special are our keynote speakers, Pat Mitchell, Noreen Fraser and Bonnie St. John. So, I will hope to see you in November.

And, let me leave you with something Lily Tomlin said…She said…I keep wondering why someone doesn’t do something about that…then I realized that I was the someone. And she is right. It is all up to you to volunteer and do something.


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