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Defining a New Era of Leadership: The HBA Leads the Way

2022 HBA AC

One definition of an “era” is that it “begins a new period in history.”

With the experiences we have all shared during the last few years, we indeed are in the midst of this new period in our history.

You’ve witnessed how the HBA adopted and embraced a New Era of Leadership as a core theme this year. Recognizing that due to all that has transpired in our world, there has been a consequential shift in how industry innovates, how organizations operate and how leaders lead.

Integrated into HBA offerings and events throughout the year, our “New Era” theme was brought to life last week, culminating the year, at our Annual Conference in Philadelphia. It was palpable, present, and powerful.

Spoken word performer Ashlee Haze ignited that spark with her conference opening. Her words were an inspiring foundation to what we would experience in our two plus days together…this stanza capturing that spirit:

we know that authenticity is the most valuable currency we have and we are generous with our spending

this is a moment where our input matters as much as our output

a time for us to lean in to innovation

and also lean into rest when we need it

a time to get curious about what it takes to create meaningful change

in our communities and in the world

this is for the healthcare heavyweights

you are boldly taking your place

and using your voices to create changes that will not only impact this moment

but changes that will shift the culture into something more tender

because radical hospitality is a new standard

In talking with many of you there, and from feedback we’ve received since, we experienced how you—our United Force for Change community—leaned into authenticity, flexibility, empathy, compassion, and radical hospitality—characteristics now defined as valuable leadership qualities in this New Era.

We are grateful to the 840 attendees, from a dozen countries, and 103 companies who were present. We appreciate the generous support of more than a dozen sponsors. And a heartfelt shout out to the regional and chapter volunteers who welcomed our network to Philadelphia, the city of “Sisterly (and Brotherly) Love" especially Amy Turnquist, Krista Hamilton, and Susan Spitz.

As I reflect on our HBA experience last week, I can’t help but compare what happened this week in the U.S. during our midterm elections to promote more women and diverse candidates into positions of power on both sides of the aisle.

The country’s first openly lesbian candidate was elected to a governor’s office. Maryland voted in the state’s first Black governor, twelve women will serve as governors next year, beating the previous record of nine female governors (at one time) in 2004. And Vermont sending a female to the House of Representatives—finally.

Both outcomes give me hope for the future and a recognition of the importance of a new era of leadership.  

It seems fitting to pause here and close with the last stanza from Ashlee’s reading:

we don’t know what frontier is next

but we know it will require leadership unlike anything we’ve seen before

we know the world will need our collective power

it will require us to truly work together

and call on those who’s voices we haven’t heard

to guide us in the right direction

we’ll be there armed with the protection of sisterly love

ready to take on this new era as a united force for change


Authored by Wendy White, Interim CEO, Healthcare Businesswomen's Association.

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Wendy White is a purpose-driven and strategy-minded entrepreneur with a successful track record of innovation and building and growing companies. She is also a sought-after speaker and thought leader in rare disease inspired by the challenge of integrating the patient voice and emerging technologies into care development and delivery to improve patient outcomes.

Wendy currently serves on several boards and advisory boards including as Board Director for Ceek Women's Health—a fast growing, privately held, for-profit company that makes a medical device named by TIME magazine as one of the top inventions in 2020. 

In 2017 she was recognized by PharmaVoice with a Red Jacket lifetime achievement award as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry.