Meet Karina Castagna

Karina Castagna
senior vice president specialty solutions, OptimizeRx
HBA chapter: Los Angeles 
Current role with the HBA: HBA Los Angeles president

What made you want to take on leadership duties within the HBA?
The HBA mission of strengthening the business of healthcare and playing a role in advancing the careers of women is what brought me to the HBA. The reality is that while women are making big strides we still see a gap in women in leadership roles. The HBA above all brings women who are ambitious and driven to excel together to help each other be successful. This is powerful.

You have transformed HBA Los Angeles. Tell us more about it?
Southern California is a growing hot spot for healthcare companies, but our geography often gets in the way of people being connected. In LA, we have focused on advancing women’s careers by connecting the local healthcare community – inclusive of both men and women – and bringing more opportunities for networking, knowledge transfer, capability training and collaboration to our members and corporate partners. As a result, we are one of the fastest-growing chapters in the HBA Pacific region in terms of member and corporate partner growth.

What personal experience attracted you to the HBA?
I am a first-generation Mexican American and the first in my family to graduate with a BA and an MBA. I grew up in a working-class family with no professional mentors or any idea where my career would take me. I am very grateful for the many mentors and professional organizations that guided me to a successful career.

What advice would you give to women who aspire to leadership positions, both in an organization like the HBA and in a career path like yours?
Embrace and seek leadership roles on boards. I have held several non-profit board seats including president of the HBA Los Angeles, director for the Board of FoodShare of Ventura County an organization dedicated to ending the fight against hunger in the community and director of the Board for the Ventura County American Red Cross. These opportunities have helped me grow as a leader and advance my career.

Which leaders in healthcare, STEM and beyond do you look to as role models?
Above all, I admire leaders who are willing to take risks and innovate to drive science and technology forward in healthcare so that we can make the lives of our patients better.