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2017 Ceci Zak

Ceci Zak named the 2017 STAR (Strategic Transformation Achievement Recognition)

The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) awarded Ceci Zak, principal and chief operating officer at Batten & Co its 2017 Strategic Transformation Achievement Recognition (STAR) award.

Ceci Zak

Each year, the HBA honors a STAR who stands apart as an 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.

“I had the opportunity and pleasure to observe Ceci’s leadership firsthand as she progressed through increasingly senior roles on the executive committee on the HBA board of directors - ultimately serving in as chair in 2009,” said Laurie Cooke, HBA CEO. “Ceci continually demonstrates visionary leadership and clearly sets operational goals that enable an organization to achieve the highest levels of performance.”

As a long-term member of the HBA, Ceci has held numerous global and chapter- level leadership positions that directly contributed to the HBA’s ability to grow and thrive. Some of her contributions to the organization include: playing a key role on the Woman of the Year committee; providing mentorship to two chapter boards; serving as a trusted advisor; serving on the global nominating committee responsible for choosing the HBA board slate; and driving several key initiatives with executive women and a program to engage past HBA senior leaders.

“Ceci’s deep understanding of the healthcare and life sciences industry and her business acumen have been invaluable assets to the HBA,” said Rhonda Johnson, executive vice president, Market Performance Group and 2017 HBA board chair. “She is a very resourceful, trusted leader, and serves as a mentor to many women in the industry.”

Upon accepting the award, Ceci stated, “Since the days of carrying the bag, I’ve been in awe of the caliber and talent of women that make up the DNA of the HBA family – likeminded women who are motivated to improve healthcare outcomes while championing each other’s professional and personal dreams. I’m humbled to be a part of this family.”

Ceci is a 20-plus year pharmaceutical industry veteran and current principal and chief operating officer at Batten & Co, a strategic consulting firm within Omnicom, which builds and activates ambition for corporations by operating at the intersection of business, brands and culture. In this role, she helps the C-suite articulate, align and activate their True North across internal and external; stakeholders. Previously, Ceci was chief operating officer of healthcare at DAS/Omnicom, a global conglomerate of professional service agencies. Prior to Omnicom, Ceci held various senior executive roles at Sanofi, leading global franchises including Allegra, Actonel, Nasacort and Xyzal as well as Centers of Excellence in Learning and Organizational Development, Digital and Commercial Innovation. Ceci started her career at Roche Pharmaceuticals and has held a wide variety of positions in sales and marketing, ranging from product and franchise management, managed markets strategy and operations, sales management as well as market research and sales training. 

“There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to change the trajectory of women leaders in the industry, but through the courageous mission of the HBA, I know the industry can make the shift,” said Ceci. “By focusing its mission on achieving gender parity in leadership positions, the HBA is a trailblazer in an area that needs abrupt transformation in order to drive the cataclysmic change that is needed in healthcare. My hope is that senior executives realize that the external rate of change is happening faster than the internal rate of change and one of the key ways to close that gap is to diversify executive leadership–something the HBA knows a lot about.”

Ceci is also extremely active within the healthcare community. She currently serves as a board member of HealthRight International, a global NGO focused on empowering marginalized communities to live healthy lives, and a board member of the Julia’s Butterfly Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing funding to families with chronic and terminally ill children. She is also actively involved with the Pachamama Alliance, a nonprofit organization that strives to empower indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their land and culture.

“We are so proud to see Ceci recognized by the HBA for her contributions to the organization and its mission to further the advancement and impact of women in the business healthcare,” said Dale Adams, chairman and CEO, DAS. “We place a significant focus on advancing our top female talent to senior roles within our organization and our agency networks. Ceci has been a champion for this cause both internally and externally, and it’s through the efforts of people like her that real, impactful change will happen in this critical area of developing and advancing female leaders.”


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.