2019 STAR Taren Grom
HBA chapter: Philadelphia
Current role with the HBA: volunteer lead/HBA Executive Women’s Forum
I volunteer for the united force for change because it is imperative that as an industry we bring about systemic change to ensure that women have equal opportunities in the life-sciences ecosystem to obtain their desired career objectives. Not all women — or men for that matter — aspire to reach the C-suite, however it is important to provide an equal playing field that objectively allows all to reach their full potential. Additionally, as healthcare purchasing is predominately at the discretion of women, it’s important that women have a seat of influence at the table thus ensuring there is diversity of thought about how decisions regarding product development, execution and implementation are made. This could have a large impact in closing many of the gaps that exist in our current healthcare system.
Volunteering has impacted my career by putting me shoulder to shoulder with women who represent all aspects of the healthcare ecosystem — in my opinion the “secret sauce” of the association — and at all levels. There is no other association where as a volunteer you can have equal access to seasoned veterans who can provide guidance based on their vast experiences and women who are just embarking on their careers or who are in mid-stream who can provide different perspectives and insights.
My favorite HBA event I ever attended was…this is an impossible question to answer. There are far too many to choose from, but if I were forced to narrow down my choice, I would have to say the 2010 Annual Conference in Philadelphia. This was a huge undertaking orchestrated, no pun intended, by a volunteer cadre with an unparalleled esprit de corps. I have never had so much fun working so hard to create an amazing experience for attendees. We broke new ground, created a unique atmosphere and elevated the HBA to new heights with this conference. It was an amazing, exhausting, mind-bending, uplifting, experiential learning experience — all wrapped up in a safe environment, where everyone was truly appreciated for their effort and energy. If I were allowed to choose a second experience, not so much an event, it would be the realization of the Luminary program as an extension of the Rising Stars. And third, would be the launch of the Gender Parity Collaborative. And so on, and so on. There are numerous Annual Conferences and Woman of the Years (WOTYs) that have left an indelible mark on me.
Volunteering has expanded my network by the sheer breadth and depth of the HBA network. Through volunteering on dozens of teams, I have had the privilege of working along side of some of the most talented, passionate and smart women — anywhere. Many of these same women have become core to my world providing invaluable support and sage advice when needed, but most importantly, laughter at all times. There is no greater joy than sharing amazing experiences with women who are filled with life and willing to share each others' life journeys.
What would be your advice to someone thinking about joining or getting more involved with the HBA? Just say yes…what are you waiting for? Join the cause, have some fun and do something very meaningful with far-reaching implications. What else could you ask for?