The HBA ACE award

Roche Diagnostics’ Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) is the winner of the 2015 HBA ACE award. HBA created the award to recognize corporations’ efforts to strengthen the advancement, commitment and engagement of women’s careers in the healthcare industry. 

“Roche’s WLI clearly demonstrates a strong commitment to the career advancement of women and their impact on the healthcare industry,” said Wendy White, HBA president. They demonstrated measurable results in their sustainable program. This has led to enhanced business performance for the company.”

The Roche Diagnostics’ Women’s Leadership Initiative is an employee resource group launched in 2011 to support a Roche global goal of increasing the number of women in key leadership positions. The overall vision of WLI, as captured in the group’s tagline, “Get inspired. Get engaged. Get ahead.,” is to transform Roche leadership by using the power of gender diversity to meet the business needs of the future.

Roche’s WLI works to foster partnerships that help create a community of support and best practices for its female employees while creating a sustainable advantage for Roche Diagnostics.

“It is an honor to be recognized for our efforts with the 2015 HBA ACE award. As part of the overall Roche Diagnostics diversity and inclusion strategy, our Women’s Leadership Initiative has meaningful impact on the development of our leaders,” said Jack Phillips. “We know that focusing on women and diversity is essential to our success and directly impacts our ability to deliver on our purpose of doing now what patients need next.”

“The HBA is proud to honor Roche Diagnostics’ Women’s Leadership Initiative as the winner of the 2015 HBA ACE award,” said Laurie Cooke, HBA’s CEO. “One of the key ways the HBA accomplishes our mission to further the advancement and impact of women in healthcare worldwide is by recognizing companies that can serve as role models to others. The HBA serves as a convener supporting companies to learn from each other. By identifying and sharing what great looks like, we strive to inspire more companies to achieve direct corporate benefits from their gender diversity initiatives.”

A panel of industry leaders and academics judged ACE award entrants against five criteria: measurable results and impact on target population; degree to which it supports the overall business; stewardship, or depth of commitment to the program; effectiveness of the execution; and built-in sustainability.

The ACE award was  presented to Jack Phillips, president and CEO, Roche Diagnostics North America, and WLI advisory board members on November 4 at the 2015 HBA Annual Conference in Atlanta.


2015 ACE brochure. Nominations were due June 1, 2015

2015 ACE Award Information Session

Thanks to special guests from Baxter Women Leaders (BWL) Business Resource Group, the 2014 ACE award winning initiative Cathy Skala and Stacie Phillips and moderator and ACE award chair Michelle Radney.
Download the slide deck.


Internal corporate initiatives that support women are no longer just a nice to have – they are a must to realize business performance results, including innovation and retention.

Many thanks to all who submitted for the ACE award this past year. Please consider applying for the 2015 ACE Award now and plan to attend the 2015 HBA Annual Conference to meet leaders from the winning initiative.

Selection criteria and submission
The ACE award winner is selected via a rigorous and independent screening process against five criteria:

  • Measurable results and impact on target population; quantitative benchmarks
  • Business performance – the degree to which the initiative supports the overall business
  • Stewardship -  the depth of commitment to the program
  • Execution – the effectiveness of program execution
  • Sustainability – the survivability of the program beyond initial years

Winning company requirements
The ACE award will be presented to the winning company at the 2015 HBA Annual Conference. The conference is being held at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, November 3-5, 2015.

  • A senior level representative from the company with the winning program should be present to accept the ACE award.
  • The company is asked to develop a 3-5 minute video before the conference highlighting the program and its participants, which will be shown at the event. The HBA will work with the company on PR and video requirements.
  • The winning company will be also invited to briefly share its experience as the ACE award winner at the HBA’s 2015 Annual Conference
  • The winning company is invited to submit a poster describing the initiative, to be displayed at the Annual Conference. Visit the 2014 Poster Session webpage for details on the poster submission process.

If you would like to learn more about the ACE Award process, please contact Marianne Fray. 2015 Ace award brochure and application will be available shortly. Check back soon.

To assist you in applying for the ACE award for your company’s initiative we have prepared three audio files of ACE submission tips from ACE winners. Click on the link to listen to:

ACE Bayer podcast - Best practices for award submission (MP3)

Ellen Browne, executive director of global IT at Novartis (MP3)

Arisa Batista Cunningham, VP of global diversity at Johnson & Johnson (MP3)

Debbie McCollough, senior director of business innovation at sanofi-aventis (MP3)

We recognize our 2015 ACE Award judges: 
Jeanne Zucker, vice president, client development, athenahealth – ACE award judging chair
Cameron Durrant MD, pharma/biotech CEO and board member
James J. Gillespie, PhD, JD, MPA, CEO, Chicago Life Sciences Consortium
Paul Katz, MD, founding dean of the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Rayona Sharpnack, founder and CEO, Institute for Women’s Leadership, Inc.

ACE Award Winners

2014: Baxter Women Leaders Business Resource Group

Baxter International’s Baxter Women Leaders (BWL) business resource group is the winner of the 2014 HBA ACE award. HBA created the award to recognize corporations' efforts to strengthen the Advancement, Commitment and Engagement of women's careers in the healthcare industry.

The first of eight business resource groups established at Baxter, BWL fosters a culture that creates professional growth opportunities for women at all levels and stages in their careers. As captured in the group’s tagline, ''inspire, connect, advance,'' one of its main goals is to support an environment that increases education and networking opportunities for women across Baxter while also increasing representation in leadership positions. BWL’s other goals include advocating on behalf of women and engaging in women’s business issues as well as community-related activities.

BWL also provides opportunities for women to develop their skills by taking on leadership roles within BWL itself. By leading a workstream, chapter or special interest group, advocates (members) have the opportunity to lead a group of volunteers and help advance both the goals of the BWL and Baxter. BWL has seen a significant growth in the number of chapters across Baxter’s global operations both nationally and internationally. While BWL’s mission focuses on the development and advancement of women, the group welcomes the support of men, and both women and men are encouraged to become BWL advocates.

Ludwig Hantson, corporate vice president and president of Baxter’s BioScience business, and Jill Schaaf, corporate vice president and president of the company’s Renal business, are BWL’s executive sponsors. BWL has a strong governance model in place that allows for rotation and succession of leadership, as well as consistent contact with several levels of management across Baxter.

''BWL is an important part of the company's broader commitment to an inclusive culture and a diverse workforce,'' Hantson said. ''We believe an inclusive culture and diverse workforce can drive innovation, create trusted partnerships with customers, suppliers and community partners and ultimately, contribute to the success and sustainability of the business.''

''We have made great strides toward developing, leveraging and promoting the capabilities of women at all levels,'' Schaaf said. ''The networking events, seminars aimed at building capabilities, community outreach and highlighting the success of our women leaders all support an inclusive culture and help us succeed as individuals and as a company.''

2013: Quintiles’ Women Inspired Network (WIN)

Quintiles’ Women Inspired Network, WIN, demonstrates excellence in business performance, stewardship, execution, sustainability and measureable results. Quintiles proves why internal corporate initiatives that support women are no longer just a “nice to have” – they are “a must” to realize better business results.

Quintiles’ WIN program works to establish a corporate culture that inspires women to be leaders. It fosters recognition that diverse leadership enhances business success and makes Quintiles an employer of choice for talented women in the healthcare industry. The network has grown exponentially over the past few years, spanning all segments of the organization and every corner of the globe, including Asia, Japan, Africa, India, Latin America, the U. and Europe. Quintiles offers unique opportunities for WIN members to discuss leadership through groups such as the WIN book club, coaching program and informal conversations with Quintiles leaders. WIN also partners with the HBA chapters for insight, benchmarking and programming ideas. 

“Winning the 2013 HBA ACE Award validates Quintiles’ significant efforts to foster the development of women leaders throughout our organization and the industry,” said Tom Pike, chief executive officer of Quintiles. “WIN is a very important part of the fabric of our organization and one of the great catalysts we have internally for leadership development. Women comprise about 65% of Quintiles’ population and we promote the idea that women innovate, achieve business goals and advance Quintiles’ industry leadership in every job throughout the company.”


Kimberly Ray, from Quintiles, home of the ACE award winning Quintiles’ Women Inspired Network is interviewed by HBA media partner MM&M
Headliner: Multi-skilled leader's diversity drive.

2012: Cardinal Health Women’s Initiative Network (WIN)

Cardinal Health's WIN ACE awardWIN works to foster partnerships that help create a community of support and best practices for its female employees while creating a sustainable advantage for Cardinal Health. WIN is supported by an executive sponsor, steering committee composed of senior leaders from all business segments, an external coach and a dedicated program manager. The network has 2,000 men and women members throughout the company and offers mentor programs in all of its chapters. WIN also partners with highly regarded women's organizations for insight, benchmarking and programming. 

“It is an honor to be recognized for our efforts with the 2012 ACE award. As part of the overall Cardinal Health diversity and inclusion strategy, our Women’s Initiative Network has meaningful impact on the development of our leaders. We know that focusing on women and diversity is not only the right thing to do but it is also the smart thing to do – for our customers, our communities and our business,” said Mike Kaufmann, chief executive officer of the Pharmaceutical Segment of Cardinal Health.



Bayer Healthcare’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI)2011: Bayer Healthcare’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI)

The WLI was established and grew organically as a grassroots effort to foster women’s leadership at Bayer. It was not a company mandate or directive, rather it is an initiative that took hold as a result of a significant amount of time, energy and resources put forth by a small number of leaders. Today, the values of the WLI are becoming an integrated way of doing business for the organization—helping to shape organizational “thinking” with tangible and highly supported programs.

Bayer HealthCare’s WLI has a clear mission to “ignite the power of diversity by cultivating successful women leaders to strengthen business results.” The program provides networking opportunities, educational and mentoring programs, tools and other resources for female managers within the company. Its objectives are to identify talent within current organization while attracting top female talent; foster the advancement of women through targeted personal career plans, leadership skill building programs and support networks; and cultivate an environment and build competencies to ensure that high performing women have compelling reasons to stay and grow with the company.

The initiative has grown significantly throughout the past two years to become a value added resource for women within the company and is demonstrating clear success and business value in assisting women to move into more senior leadership positions within the company.

Read a profile of Tim Hayes, as he discussed the ACE award winning Bayer Healthcare WLI featured in HBA's media partner publicatoion MM&M.

2010: The WISE program from sanofi-aventis US

The WISE program from sanofi-aventis US won the HBA ACE Award in 2010. WISE -- Women Inspiring Sanofi-Aventis Excellence -- strengthens the “Advancement, Commitment and Engagement” of women inside the company. This internal women’s network with over 1000 members fosters the personal and professional leadership development of women working for the company. WISE - sponsored programs target a wide audience across different functions, locations, gender and levels within the company. sanofi-aventis US learned from HBA’s E.D.G.E. (Empowerment, Diversity, Growth, Excellence) Leadership study conducted in 2007 and directly linked them to the WISE Program: raising awareness about career advancement across the company; providing educational opportunities to develop skills; fostering mentoring and networking relationships; and leveraging internal and external resources for relevant skills building. Indeed, the success of the WISE program makes the business case for supporting leadership and diversity.

2009: Abbott’s Women Leaders in Action (WLA) Employee Network

In 2009 Abbott’s Women Leaders in Action (WLA) employee network was honored with the HBA ACE Award. Abbott's WLA has nearly 5,000 members from across the organization, and is led by an executive committee comprised of executive sponsors across all areas and functions of Abbott. This includes six corporate officers, the highest-ranking executive level at Abbott. The Abbott Executive Inclusion Council, chaired by company chairman and CEO, Miles D. White, also works in conjunction with the WLA executive committee, further demonstrating Abbott’s senior commitment. By focusing on career development, mentoring and informal networking, WLA and other Abbott employee groups expand opportunities for all employees to develop critical leadership skills.

2008: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Women’s Initiatives – EWIN/WIL

In 2008 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC) was honored with the HBA Ace Award for the depth, breadth and global reach of its women's leadership programs — headquarters-based Empowering Women to Impact Novartis (EWIN) and its field force counterpart, Women in Leadership (WIL). EWIN, marking its fifth anniversary, and WIL, looking ahead to its 10th, began as grass roots initiatives, gaining the support of executive management and becoming part of the corporate culture as they grew. The judges saw the involvement of top-level executives and the accompanying commitment of funding, time and executive resources as critical to success. A key factor in the award was the incorporation of diversity benchmarks into the NPC performance management system.

2007: Johnson & Johnson Women’s Leadership Initiative

Johnson & Johnson's Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) was named as the first winner of the HBA's ACE Award. The WLI is a grassroots employee organization with 47 chapters worldwide and membership in all business segments of the company. Since the launch of the WLI in 1995, Johnson & Johnson has tracked significant increases in the numbers and percentages of women on the executive committee, among company presidents and managing directors outside the US, corporate officers, company group chairs, executive and director level women and those with both line and staff management positions.

For more information, contact Marianne Fray.

HBA Wall of Recognition