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2006 Sue Desmond-Hellmann

Sue Desmond-Hellmann named 2006 Woman of the Year

The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) named Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD as its 2006 Woman of the Year. Sue is credited with possessing extraordinary leadership, unwavering compassion and with helping to lead Genentech toward the development of new therapeutics for cancer and other serious diseases, which have the potential to change the practice of medicine.

“Sue has made an amazing impact in her corporate role at Genentech and remains dedicated to patient care, a critical combination in today’s healthcare environment,” said HBA chair emeritus, Debra L. Newton. “Her colleagues credit her with making the world a better place to live. Sue also is a mentor to many within her company and through her commitment to the HBA and other networking opportunities.”

At the time of this award, Sue was president of product production and responsible for Genentech’s medical affairs, regulatory affairs, product development, development sciences, quality, business development and strategic pipeline development functions. Sue, an oncologist by training, is widely recognized within the company and by outside analysts as one of the key drivers of Genentech’s successes.

“I am humbled by this recognition and, as the HBA Woman of the Year, I am grateful for the opportunity to reach out to so many women in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries,” said Sue.

A determined leader, Sue is highly respected by her employees and colleagues. “She always puts the patient first, and her integrity is relentless,” said Pamela Yanchik, R&D finance, Genentech. “She is both a teacher and a student, and she remains focused on innovation for the future.”

“Sue is instrumental in leading all of our development programs. She is an outstanding leader and has proven repeatedly her capability to make wise business decisions,” wrote Mary O’Donovan, a business analyst at Genentech, in her nomination of Sue for the 2006 HBA Woman of the Year.

Sue was named to FORTUNE magazine’s “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list for the fourth time in 2005, when she was also included on the Wall Street Journal’s “50 Woman to Watch” list. 

Prior to taking her first job in industry, Sue and her husband spent two years as visiting faculty at the Uganda Cancer Institute studying AIDS and cancer. After returning to the U.S., she spent two years in private oncology practice, which helped shaped her career path. Her frustration over the lack of treatment options for her cancer patients was a big factor in her decision to join the research side of health care and to bring more cancer therapies to market.

Read highlights from the 2006 HBA Woman of the Year event

About the HBA
The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) is a global nonprofit organization serving a community women and men in leading life sciences, biotech, pharmaceutical and supporting companies. The HBA has nearly 120 Corporate Partners and nearly 8,000 members served by more than 20 chapters and affiliates across the U.S. and Europe. advancement issues. HBA has nearly 5,000 individual members and over 130 Corporate Partners. It is widely recognized as the catalyst for leadership development of women in healthcare worldwide.