Career Conversations | HBA

Career Conversations

Career Conversations 2022

Leadership is poised to look remarkably different as a result of our shared experiences around the world during the last year. A global pandemic and critical attention on issues of equality have caused a consequential shift in how leaders lead, organizations operate, and the industry innovates.

The 2022 Career Conversations series will focus on bold actions leaders can take to rise to the challenges that companies will face in this new era. These bold actions require self-awareness and the courage to step out of comfort zones to explore opportunities for enhancing and acquiring new skills. Executive leaders, who themselves are known for their bold leadership, will share their experiences and offer insights into the kinds of actions and mindsets that propelled their careers.

Sign up for the full 2022 Career Conversations webinar series and receive all four webinars for the price of three!


19 May – Setting Boundaries to Make Room for Advancement 

Studies continue to show that women in corporate positions are experiencing burnout in disproportionate numbers due to a variety of factors. Among them, women take on more responsibility for caregiving, in spite of the increasing number of men in these roles. The ongoing pandemic, and all the associated challenges – from monitoring children in virtual schooling to caring for aging parents – exasperate the demands on their time. Relative to their professional lives, studies also reveal that women in mid-level positions are more often assigned with “busy work” than their male counterparts, which contributes to burnout and limits their potential for taking on high-visibility projects and responsibilities that lead to promotion.  

In spite of these types of challenges that were a common theme even prior to the pandemic, many executives, like those featured on this dynamic panel, mastered strategies for setting personal and professional boundaries, making strategic decisions about how to position themselves for the most coveted projects, and challenging perceptions about who is suited for high-impact responsibilities. These executive leaders from HBA’s corporate partners will share insights from their career journeys, including the “aha” moments when they recognized they would be left behind if they did not figure out how to navigate these types of challenges. They will offer advice on how to critically examine the challenges you face, identify what you can and cannot control, and take bold steps to move from feeling overwhelmed and stagnant to feeling liberated and dynamic. 


  • Lucy Abreu, Senior Vice President, Syneos Health
  • Sarah Cantrell, Roche Genentech
  • Susan Childs, Principal Managing Partner, Strategic Workforce & Business Dynamics, LCA Enterprises & Consulting, LLC

More speakers to come.


23 June – Expanding Capabilities Through Creative Means

Many aspiring executives have an interest in expanding their skillsets but have limited opportunities within their current positions to gain exposure to the types of activities that can broaden their experience in preparation for the next level of leadership. The capabilities often cited by business school and people operations professionals as being essential for C-suite executives include communication and presentation skills, change management skills, strategic thinking, decision making, relationship building, and global/cultural competency, among others.

Accomplished executive leaders from HBA’s corporate partners will share stories about how they found bold and creative ways to propel their careers by getting involved with employee resource groups (ERGs), volunteering with professional associations such as the HBA, and engaging in local and national causes related to their industries. Their stories will inspire you to identify the capabilities you want to elevate and encourage you to think outside the box to determine how you can gain the experience you seek while contributing to worthy causes. 


  • Shauna Markes-Wilson, Healthcare Specialty Supervisor, Walgreens Boots Alliance
  • Jan Nissen, Vice President, Patient Innovation & Engagement, Merck & Co., Inc.

More speakers to come.


15 September – Developing a Mindset for Innovation

One of the best ways to show your value at your company is to contribute to its competitive edge, which is especially important as executive leaders try to grasp what the future holds after continuous seasons of disruption.  According to Linda Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, and Kent Lineback, faculty at Harvard University and authors of “The Capabilities Your Organization Needs to Sustain Innovation”, the capabilities of innovation are creative abrasion (the ability to generate ideas through discourse and debate), creative resolution (the ability to make integrative decisions that provide disparate or even opposing ideas), and creative agility (the ability to test and experiment through quick pursuit, reflection, and adjustment).

These capabilities are not always easy to master, but our panelists have a reputation for creating environments conducive to sustainable innovation. They will share how they cultivated these environments, bold steps aspiring executives can take to reframe how they view discourse and debate, and how the willingness to incorporate these techniques can position you for contributing to your company’s bottom line.  


  • Harietta Eleftherochorinou, IQVIA
  • Susan Garfield, Chief Public Health Officer and Global Client Service Partner, EY (Ernst & Young) - US
  • Bela Labovitch, Vice President, Engineering, athenahealth

More speakers to come.


8 December – Developing a Strategy for Advancement

The 2022 Career Conversations series will conclude with reflection and a call to action. Once you set boundaries to make room for advancement, expand your capabilities through creative means, and develop a mindset for innovation, how will you propel these bold actions into advancement?  How will you get noticed?  Who will speak for you?  How will you summon the courage to take risks?  

Each of our panelists for this concluding conversation answered these questions on the journey to their current positions and will share the strategies they utilized to position themselves for advancement. They will also speak to the ups and downs they endured along the way. Their experiences will stir you to consider how you will gain visibility and recognition for your work, build relationships that lead to sponsorship, and make bold moves.


  • Daina Borteck, Kyowa Kirin USA Inc.
  • Reshema Kemps-Polanco, Executive Vice President, US Head, Novartis Oncology, Novartis Oncology - Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation
  • Jennifer McCafferty, Merck & Co., Inc.

More speakers to come.


To suggest future program topics, or to recommend yourself or a colleague as a speaker or panelist on one of the above topics, email Telesia Davis.