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2007 Meryl Zausner

Meryl Zausner recognized as 2007 Woman of the Year

The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) named Meryl Zausner as its 2007 Woman of the Year. 

Zausner was a founding member and, at the time of receiving this award, vice president and CFO of the Novartis Oncology global business unit, established in 2000 with less than 1000 employees and $1.5 billion in sales. Now Novartis Oncology is one of the world’s top oncology companies. “In a day and age when women are emerging as public leaders, this award takes on a special significance for me,” Zausner said. “I am excited about the recognition from friends and colleagues at Novartis and fellow members of the HBA and am proud to add my name to the list of past Woman of the Year recipients.”

Based on many strong nomination letters, the HBA Board of Directors agreed that Zausner personified the criteria for Woman of the Year, which includes success in the healthcare industry, strong leadership capabilities, proven mentoring skills, dedication, giving back to women and contributions to the community. “Meryl is one of the rare global professionals who effectively balance the performance and personal sides of business to bring out the best in people and in an organization,” said HBA chair emeritus, Cathy Kerzner. “Colleagues credit her approachable and genuine manner, effective and inclusive leadership style, and dedication to addressing issues that are unique and specific to women.”

Zausner’s most notable accomplishment has been working closely with the President and CEO of Novartis Oncology, David Epstein – himself an HBA Honorable Mentor of the Year – in growing the oncology business to yield exceptional results for six consecutive years since its launch. “Meryl is a truly unique and exceptional business leader, talent nurturer, role model and person,” wrote David Epstein, president and CEO, Novartis Oncology in his nomination letter. “She is tough on business, but caring and compassionate about people. Her distinctive leadership has had a tremendous impact on Novartis and its people.” Thomas Ebeling, CEO of Novartis Pharma AG and HBA Europe Board member, wrote in his nomination that “Meryl is perceived as a pioneer and inspiration to those around her. She has exemplified her stellar leadership as a business woman, cultivator of internal talent and champion of diversity and inclusion.”

Colleagues who work with Zausner consider themselves privileged to do so. “Meryl’s approach to her work keeps us all energized to ensure that every individual, regardless of who they are, has equal access and an opportunity to achieve their career aspirations,” said Michelle Gadsden-Williams, vice president and global head, office of diversity and inclusion, Novartis Pharma.

Zausner has worked in the Consumer Products and Pharmaceutical industries for 28 years. She started her career in public accounting, and after receiving her CPA in New York joined the Colgate Palmolive Co. Her roles at Colgate included work in M&A, global internal audit, an assignment in Zimbabwe and support of their European and African divisions. In 1986, she assumed the role of controller of a new start-up venture company within the Colgate umbrella. Zausner joined Novartis (then Sandoz) in 1988 as an associate director in the OTC business and was promoted to director and then executive director. She continued working in the U.S. Pharmaceutical organization until her appointment as head of finance for the Global Oncology business unit in 2000. 

About the HBA
The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) is a global nonprofit organization serving a community women and men in leading life sciences, biotech, pharmaceutical and supporting companies. The HBA has nearly 120 Corporate Partners and nearly 8,000 members served by more than 20 chapters and affiliates across the U.S. and Europe.