HBA embodies this year’s International Women’s Day theme--make it happen.

Part one of this theme is to celebrate women’s achievements. A major way the HBA achieves our mission to further the advancement and impact of women in healthcare worldwide is recognizing outstanding women. For 26 years our Woman of the Year award lauds an outstanding woman who is  a role model for other women to aspire to. It is through the development of women within our healthcare industry that we will move the needle on women’s relevant representation at all levels. Each year we celebrate nearly 100 Rising Stars and Luminaries.

The second part of the theme is to call for greater equality. We commissioned the commissioned the Empowerment, Diversity, Growth, and Excellence (EDGE) in Leadership Study and found that companies struggle to accelerate the advancement and retention of senior executive women even though evidence shows that hiring and promoting women pays off. We found that performance-related factors such as job skills are expected as a prerequisite to be in any level of management and that interpersonal skills make the real difference in the effort to get ahead.

Based on the EDGE results the HBA has developed four best practices for women to use in order to achieve impact and advancement in their careers:

  • Build a professional network. This should be a 360-degree network where senior management in your company and your industry learn who you and all you contribute. Attend company events, join cross-functional and cross department teams, and get involved with professional associations in your function and your industry.
  • Develop a variety of skills so you are valuable in many departments and many organizations. Accept lateral transfers. Bring team members onto your projects from across the organization. Being able to offer your employer a diverse skill set makes you more valuable.
  • Seek feedback. Then seek mentors who can assist your development in weak areas. Look for a mentor who demonstrates the quality you need to improve upon and ask for mentoring in that specific area.
  • Cultivate advocates and sponsors. These are people senior to you in your company who will use their political capital to put you forth for promotions, teams and other opportunities. Working on side projects that put you in front of influential people is a great way to cultivate advocates.

We encourage all women in healthcare to fill our prescription for more women healthcare leaders by joining the nearly 40,000 women and men from leading biotech, healthcare, pharmaceutical and supporting companies who connect with each other, share knowledge and grow with the HBA.

 **As seen in the Women in Business Supplement in USAToday. Warm thanks to LLNS for providing creative services for this effort.