Now that the 2019 HBA Annual Conference is in our rearview mirror, I want to take a moment and reflect on the value that the HBA brings to its individual members and corporate partners. My personal journey started in 2010 after Pfizer acquired Wyeth and I found myself without a job and a network. Although Pfizer offered outplacement services as part of the severance package, there was something missing from the experience. How do you build a network and keep advancing in your career during a transition? For me the answer was the HBA.
I joined the HBA at the urging of another colleague and attended my first event at Shire. I met some amazing women as well as a couple pioneering men and started to build my network. At subsequent events, I connected with old friends from Wyeth and met new acquaintances, some of whom became friends. Joining the Women in Transition affinity group (WIT) led to volunteering, which is the next step on the HBA path to success.
It is often best to start small and volunteer for a single event or a committee position. Over the next few years, I volunteered in different capacities. Before long, I was hooked and secured a seat on the HBA Greater Philadelphia chapter board as the director at large for programs, holding several positions in the chapter before moving into the regional model. I am proud to say that I will be the chair of the HBA Mid-Atlantic region in 2020. However, this is only half of the story as the HBA also serves their corporate partners.
What does it mean to be a corporate partner? It means you work for a company committed to the advancement of women in the business of healthcare. There are several different offerings at different levels of financial commitment and you can choose the package that works best for your company. Understanding your benefits is an important first step to reaping the rewards of an HBA corporate partnership, which includes some level of memberships that should be distributed to your employees. A corporate partner can take advantage of the webinars and online tools as well as leverage HBA corporate relations ambassadors to hold lunch and learns at their site. The HBA can help support or augment an internal women’s leadership group regardless of the where your company may be on the spectrum. The Woman of the Year luncheon, the Annual Conference and the ACE Awards are more offerings in which a company can participate.
In closing, if you are a member volunteer and if you are a corporate partner, maximize the benefit of the HBA for your employees. Together we will move the gender parity needle as a united force for change.
Written by Jacqueline Franke, 2020 HBA Mid-Atlantic regional chair