Deborah Coogan Seltzer awarded HBA's 2016 STAR (Strategic Transformation Achievement Recognition)

Deborah Seltzer

The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) announced that it has named Deborah Coogan Seltzer, director, services management and a member of the life sciences practice of executive search consulting firm Spencer Stuart, as its 2016 STAR (Strategic Transformation Achievement Recognition). Each year, the HBA honors a STAR who stands apart as a truly exemplary role model by demonstrating a long-term commitment to the HBA’s strategic goals of furthering the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare.

Deborah will be formally recognized in New York City on Thursday, May 12, 2016, at the HBA’s 27th Woman of the Year event, a premier annual event celebrating the achievements of remarkable leaders in healthcare attended by more than 2,500 industry executives.

A member of the HBA since 1997, Deborah has held numerous association and chapter-level board and leadership positions, and has played a leading role in countless initiatives to help the HBA grow and thrive during her nearly 20 years with the organization. “From her leadership founding our first chapter, to her current work on HBA Next creating a new structure for the HBA, Deb demonstrates visionary leadership and unending dedication,” says Laurie Cooke, HBA CEO. “Deb’s mentoring supports new leaders and strengthens seasoned leaders in the healthcare industry.”

In addition to serving as HBA president in 2011, Deborah was first vice president, second vice president, secretary and a director at large. She also served as a founding board member of the first HBA chapter — Atlanta — and served as the chapter president from 2003 to 2005. In 2015, she was a member of the task force defining the HBA’s new operating model and currently serves as a key advisor in the launch of the Dallas affiliate and as mentor to HBA Florida.

“Deb has always demonstrated her loyalty and passion for the HBA and has jumped in with no hesitance whenever the HBA has needed her counsel and support,“ says Buket Grau, vice president and asset executive at Biogen Idec, and 2012 HBA president. “She is a very resourceful and trusted leader and is a mentor to many women in the industry.”

Deborah has played a vital role in supporting the HBA’s transition from its early days as a single entity focused on the greater New York area and the pharmaceutical industry, to a multi-faceted organization with 15 chapters across the US and Europe, more than 7,000 members and tens of thousands of participants representing all segments of the healthcare industry.

“The HBA is a very special organization. We embrace the concept of ‘radical hospitality,’ where new people can come in and quickly feel like they are part of something bigger —  at the level of engagement that feels right for them personally. For me, the HBA offers the opportunity to grow, to try new things that I wouldn’t have the chance — or courage — to do in my day-to-day life,” said Deborah. “I am proud of my work in supporting the HBA's transformation and therefore its ability to pursue its important mission more.”

During a 20-plus year career in executive search, Deborah has worked extensively in the pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and services sectors of the life sciences industry, serving clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 organizations. Her work spans functional areas, including executive/general management, sales, marketing, human resources, business development, finance and technically-oriented executives in areas such as R&D, clinical and pre-clinical development, technical operations/manufacturing, scientific affairs/regulatory and quality assurance.

“The HBA has helped me expand and deepen my network and increased my visibility in the industry,” said Deborah. “I have met and spent meaningful time with a wide range of executives, men and women, at various levels in organizations running the gamut from startups to the Fortune 10. The HBA provides a platform for engaging with other industry executives in a broader context than would be possible otherwise.”

Graham Galloway, who leads Spencer Stuart’s global life sciences practice, sees a strong connection between the HBA’s mission and what Spencer Stuart stands for. “We at Spencer Stuart believe leadership matters and are motivated by the power of our work to make a difference in the lives of individuals and the performance of client organizations,” he said. “The HBA is dedicated to developing strong leaders for today and the future and, more specifically, it focuses on the development, advancement and impact of women leaders. We see a mutual commitment with the HBA to developing leaders and applaud its efforts in improving the diversity of leadership teams. And, this year especially, we couldn’t be more proud to be aligned with the HBA as they recognize and honor Deborah. ”

Read "A conversation with Deb" from the HBAdvantage magazine.

Read Deb's remarks from the Woman of the Year event.