HBA Honorees Exemplify 2006 WOTY Theme: Touching People’s Lives
2006 HBA Woman of the Year Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH (center), Genentech, and Herb W. Boyer, with HBA Immediate Past President and WOTY Committee Co-Chair Barbara M. Pritchard, The Pritchard Group & Intermedica, Inc.
Susan Youdovin, B&Y Communications
NEW YORK, NY—More than 1,700 HBA members and friends filled the New York Hilton Ballroom on Wednesday, May 10, to salute, celebrate and cheer the HBA’s 2006 honorees during the 17th Annual Woman of the Year (WOTY) Awards Luncheon. Those honored included Woman of the Year Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, President, Product Development, Genentech; Honorable Mentor Matthew Emmens, CEO, Shire Pharmaceuticals; and Star Volunteer Sharon Callahan, President, Summit Grey. A record 68 Rising Stars, women of outstanding accomplishment nominated by HBA corporate member companies, also were recognized during the gala event.
This year’s WOTY event showcased the HBA’s growth in recent years from a regional to an international organization that now boasts 11 chapters and affiliates throughout the U.S. and a recently launched European affiliate. Barbara M. Pritchard, HBA Immediate Past President, Co-Chair of the WOTY Committee and President, the Pritchard Group and Intermedica, Inc., announced several major new HBA initiatives. These include the HBA Research Institute, which, in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, will conduct a global industry benchmarking study on women in pharma leadership callled EDGE (Empowerment, Diversity, Growth, Excellence in Leadership); and the ACE Awards, which are designed to recognize companies for Advancement, Commitment and Engagement in women’s careers. Pritchard also introduced the HBA’s new and first-time ever CEO, Laurie Cooke, RPh.
Debra L. Newton, HBA President and President, Newton Grey, praised those in the HBA and the healthcare industry who are dedicated to “touching others’ lives.” Newton also addressed several new HBA initiatives, including new affinity groups for women in science and for entrepreneurs, and a distance employee program for sales representatives. She also acknowledged the creation and growth of new HBA affiliates in Southern California, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Europe.
HBA 2006 Woman of the Year: Sue Desmond-Hellmann
To her colleagues at Genentech, Sue Desmond-Hellmann is a “teacher, a mentor, a supporter and the ultimate team leader, making the world a better place to live.” To Herb W. Boyer, PhD, Cofounder of Genentech and Chairman of the Board, Genentech Foundation for Biomedical Sciences, Desmond-Hellmann is a friend, colleague and “remarkable woman in every respect.” Summarizing her career and extraordinary achievements since coming to Genentech in 1995, particularly her role in developing oncology drugs based on a new paradigm for treating cancer, Boyer paid tribute to Desmond-Hellmann and her husband, Nick Hellmann, also a physician, who works with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Together, Boyer said, these two individuals “epitomize a basic, but not universal, trait,” – one that is not learned in the classroom. “Their altruism is manifested in their numerous contributions to the community and the world,” Boyer said.
In accepting the HBA award, Desmond-Hellmann said she appreciated it because of the encouragement it will give women to enter biotechnology and take on leadership positions. She also spoke of her love for the innovation, discovery and development of biotech, which, in her view, represents an approach that “allows us to think about patients who need something from us and enables us to achieve something better for them.” Desmond-Hellmann shared six “pearls” for success and achievement, using examples from her own career:
- Flexibility. If there’s an obstacle, “go around it,” as she did when a graduate program did not work out, sending her in another, more productive, direction.
- Don’t underestimate yourself and what you are capable of. Desmond-Hellmann cited her and her husband’s experience in building an AIDS program in Uganda from the ground up.
- Take risks. Desmond-Hellmann recalled that when she was offered the job at Genentech, biotech seemed very risky at the time. But she accepted, anyway. “Be willing to look like a ‘goat,’ ” she advised. “The bigger the risk, the sweeter it is, and the more it matters when things work out.”
- Be relentless. Women certainly bring compassion and caring to a job. But Desmond-Hellmann noted that she also enjoys “just being a pain” in order to achieve certain goals. For example, if a clinical trial fails, “think about the finish line and relentlessly pursue what will benefit patients.”
- Think about your legacy. Good leaders always ask, “How can I bring out the best in others?”
- Be yourself. “You don’t need to be perfect. Use all the things you bring to the table, plus all the best from others.”
2006 HBA Honorable Mentor, Matthew Emmens, Shire Pharmaceuticals
Honorable Mentor: Matthew Emmens
Cathy Kerzner, HBA President-Elect, WOTY Co-Chair and President and COO of EKR Therapeutics, Inc., presented Matthew Emmens as the 2006 HBA Honorable Mentor. Kerzner praised Emmens for valuing diversity in thinking, business styles and leadership approaches, and for consistently hiring, mentoring and promoting qualified women throughout his 33-year career. Charlotte Sibley, Vice President of Global Market Research and Business Analysis at Shire, said of Emmens, “Matt creates a culture of teamwork and cooperation and is particularly mindful of making sure there are opportunities for women and men.”
In accepting the award, Emmens, who said he was “mentored more by women than I mentored them,” spoke about the “compassion, sensitivity and creativity” women bring to an issue, and the importance of having different points of view on a business team. “We are in the business of helping people,” Emmens stressed. “Please extend that to all aspects of life, and be sure to serve as a mentor for someone in your life.”
Sharon Callahan, Summit Grey, accepted the Star Volunteer Award from HBA President Debra L. Newton, Newton Grey
Star Volunteer: Sharon Callahan
Newton introduced Sharon Callahan and cited her as the ideal volunteer and a perfect example of a “bridge” between generations. Callahan joined the HBA in 1989, and has since served in a number of key volunteer roles, including editor of the first HBA newsletter, HBA Advisory Board member, winner of the first HBA “Time to Make a Difference”Award, HBA Metro Chapter President, and National HBA President. In accepting the award, Callahan recounted the many times over the years when she was asked to volunteer and said, “I accept. Sure. No problem. I’d love to,” – then encouraged others to do the same. “Today, with the HBA’s global position as a voice of leadership in our industry, there’s even more opportunity to be at the center of change,” Callahan said. “And I know firsthand that there’s no better way to fast track your career than by honing your leadership skills as an HBA volunteer.”
2005 HBA WOTY Lynn O'Connor Vos (left), Grey Healthcare Group, Inc. with Rising Star Deborah Seifert, Wyeth
Kerzer and Pritchard introduced the 2006 Rising Stars, who were also honored at the event. Several of these honorees shared their thoughts on what the HBA means to them:
"HBA is a tremendous organization, giving women the opportunity to use each other as resources.” — Lilla Swan, Senior Director, Market Research and Sales Operations, Millennium Pharmaceuticals (Boston)
“HBA provides a great opportunity for women to really make a difference because it is geared to women’s leadership in healthcare.” —Ranjana Pathak, Vice President, Quality and Compliance, Endo Pharmaceuticals (Philadelphia)
“HBA gives me an opportunity to learn from others, especially with all the challenges we’re facing.” — Lisa Ebert, Managing Director, Medicus New York (Metro)
“It’s great to see more science women getting involved. HBA is a way to combine science and business.” — Catherine Tak Piech, Vice President, Outcomes Research and Biometrics, Ortho Biotech Products (Metro)