Letter from HBA president Wendy White

Impacting change. Creating a sphere of influenceWendy White

The influence that the HBA presidents have had on the organization and the industry is immeasurable; they share their insights on the impact the experience had on them.

As I enthusiastically assume the role of president of the HBA in 2015, I look at an association that is at an inflection point— we are at the precipice of great change, not only in how we serve our members, Corporate Partners, and other stakeholders but in the influence and impact that we can have on the healthcare industry at large as we continue to fulfill our mission: to further the advancement and impact of women in healthcare worldwide. Imagine the possibilities if, collectively, we as an active and continuously growing community of nearly 40,000 women and men, stood together to create opportunities and develop a framework of change for future generations of women leaders.

I am grateful to the previous dedicated HBA presidents who have laid a solid foundation from which we can spring- board into the next phase of the association’s evolution. As we move forward, we need to create alignment around our goals, build awareness around the needs and talents of women in the healthcare workplace and be the champions for change. These are ambitious goals, and I challenge myself, the association’s board of directors, our chapter leaders, our dedicated staff, our volunteers and our members to ask and answer: to what end are we taking these actions? We have the opportunity to create a legacy to influence healthcare now and in the future.

Last November at the HBA Annual Conference in Chicago, our 2012 Woman of the Year Carolyn Buck Luce shared data from her work with the SHEconomy noting that we as women in our many roles—as mothers, daughters, aunts—are the chief medical officers of our own lives, but most importantly as collaborative leaders we can have a tremendous impact. We are the drivers of this change. I believe the HBA, with all of us working together, can take a stand to narrow the gap between the labor force and women as leaders in the industry. (See related article in this issue: Mind the gap.)

Like the HBA, the industry is also at an inflection point; companies are broadening their business models to be more patient-centric opposed to pill-centric; to be more value-driven opposed to being driven solely by competition; and to be more collaborative to increase the rates of success in bringing value-based products to market that address the many unmet needs for chronic and specialty patient populations. We, as current and future leaders, need to build our business acumen, learn the skills to create opportunities through relationship building and networking and work across verticals as the diversity of companies that comprise the healthcare industry continues to expand. And it’s not just about getting to the C-suite, it’s about creating seats of influence to evoke change. The HBA is a natural convener and counts a vast range of diverse industry sectors and companies among its growing community. And through these associations, the HBA provides unparalleled access to the business leaders who are driving the industry forward as well as the tools and resources we all need to advance our careers or meet our own personal goals.

My experience in rare disease has taught me the power of collective action for driving impact. When my daughter was born with Nail Patella Syndrome, a very rare genetic disease, I did everything in my power to figure out how to get her the care she needed. I spoke about my journey as a “Detective Mom” at the Annual Conference several years ago in Philadelphia. I refocused my company and joined appropriate boards to gather the leadership power, the influence I needed to help others avoid the early challenges that I encountered. And I can now collaborate with others to create more innovation in rare disease. We say in rare disease, “alone we are rare and together we are strong.”

As we go forward together on this journey we want a high collaborative IQ, we want a Moonshot, we want to think about the why. We know we have the ability to influence and affect change and in 2015 and beyond. We know we can con- tribute to the global conversation and be a catalyst for change. Together we are strong. Together we can make a difference.