A letter to members from Ceci Zak, the HBA’s 2010 Immediate Past President | HBA

A letter to members from Ceci Zak, the HBA’s 2010 Immediate Past President

WOW—what a great year! A big personal thanks to the 2009 Board of Directors, the HBA staff, and the Charles Group for making the accomplishments of the HBA so extraordinary this year as we exceeded our expectations in a tough transitional economy, significant industry consolidation, and momentous reform within healthcare commerce.

Ceci Zak, 2010 HBA Immediate Past PresidentWOW—what a great year! A big personal thanks to the 2009 Board of Directors, the HBA staff, and the Charles Group for making the accomplishments of the HBA so extraordinary this year as we exceeded our expectations in a tough transitional economy, significant industry consolidation, and momentous reform within healthcare commerce.

I started out this year with grandiose expectations, including double-digit membership and corporate partner growth, global expansion, staff increases, new value-based product launches, and a new volunteer development program as well as increased satisfaction rates and attendance at the annual Woman of the Year (WOTY) and Leadership Conference. In January, I thought we could do it all.

I had a rude awakening by Feb 15th, as I realized our goals were extremely lofty because of the new reality—the economy was tanking, 3 mega-mergers were taking shape, the direction of continuing medical education (CME) had taken a sharp turn, and the FDA had reported that they had a significant reduction in the number of new molecular entities (NMEs) that were being approved—just to name a few challenges. All seemed doomed.

However, through the tenacity, leadership, and commitment of the Board of Directors, we refocused on the most important “value add” initiatives to the HBA membership—YOU! We restructured our operational plans and made significant resource tradeoffs, delayed the hiring of 2 staff members, strengthened our value proposition to membership, corporate partners and senior leaders in the industry, and raised the bar on marketing our 2 annual flagship events—WOTY and the Leadership Conference (both of which have been acclaimed to be “the best ever”).

As a result, satisfaction rates and intent-to-return to WOTY continue to increase. And, while the results of 2009’s Leadership Conference are still pending, qualitatively, participants reported feeling more empowered than ever to generate their own leadership agenda and reach for higher career achievement then they had ever visualized.

As I reflect on all that we have accomplished, I am humbled to have been the leader of this remarkable organization and feel blessed to have met so many astounding women at chapter events (I visited 6 chapters this year—Boston, San Antonio, Indy, Metro, San Fran &, Greater Philadelphia ) as well as WOTY and the Leadership Conference. The inspiration all of you have given me has been my energy source and has driven me to work harder as your president to ensure the financial stability of the HBA, while solidifying the strategic pathway over the next 5 years in order to reach our vision – “to be the premier catalyst for the leadership development of women in healthcare worldwide.

Personally, the opportunity to serve as your president has enhanced my leadership skills and given me the confidence to tackle any situation. During my tenure, I have also recognized that to exceed one’s own expectations, it’s extremely important to get out of your own comfort zone and speculate on how to achieve your goals. And, I learned that my vulnerability was actually a strength this past year as long as I kept reprioritizing daily activities based on my objectives, values, and desires, while continually tapping into my “self awareness” in order to ensure your perceptions and mine were aligned.

It is with great emotion that I end my service in this role, as it has helped me truly understand the type of leader that I am and what my ultimate life goals are. But the most wonderful thing about this transition is the HBA has an extremely wonderful and capable new President that will take us to new heights….Please welcome Susan Torrorella with the same warmness that I have felt throughout the year! All the best!

Ceci Zak, 2010 HBA Immediate Past President