Re-decorating the C-Suite

As in many professions, the life sciences have seen a growing population of women in their ranks – but not accompanied by a growing representation in their corner offices.


Only 4% of CEOs at healthcare companies are female, according to a recent survey, which is a little embarrassing when you consider that HP, IBM, PepsiCo, DuPont, Xerox and numerous other Fortune 500 companies have smashed the glass ceiling. Half of all medical school graduates and 73% of medical and health services managers are women. Another survey, from the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) and Booz Allen, found that women were in 34% of the middle management positions in our profession, but had only 17% of senior titles.

And yet it makes fiscal sense to reconsider this imbalance. Why? Because companies with no women on the board have the lowest gross sales numbers, averaging just $2.74 billion, while companies who have over 20% female directors average pharma sales of $19.15 billion, according to Scrip Intelligence.

We don’t have an immediate Rx to fix this, but we thought it presented a good opportunity to celebrate those achievers who are beating the odds and showing the way, according to the HBA.

The HBA Rising Stars are professionals in various sectors of the healthcare industry, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, advertising, public relations, medical education and market research, among other fields. Nominated by HBA’s corporate partners, the Rising Stars represent various career stages and disciplines, and have demonstrated noteworthy achievements and proven attention to furthering their careers.

We are very proud that so many of our colleagues have been recognized with this prestigious award. Below are some of the top women in sales and marketing that were recognized at the 25th Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s Woman of the Year event in New York City:

Bridget Bagnato

Senior Global Marketing Manager

Becton Dickinson


Bridget has distinguished herself as a true rising star at BD, by driving BD’s Flush business in key emerging markets (China and Central Asia) and by providing strategic oversight for BD’s Latin America and Canadian markets. Within the past year, Bridget has helped these regions attain 40% growth year on year. Her contributions have been essential to BD achieving worldwide growth and her leadership on the Flush team has been exemplary.

Phyllis Barkman Ferrell

Global Brand Director, Alzheimers Disease Team

Eli Lilly and Company


Phyllis oversees late-stage development and earlier stage assets targeting Alzheimer’s. Phyllis’ career has spanned roles from finance strategy to sales leadership. She is a high impact leader influencing at all levels, across diverse groups.Known for commitment, she is sought out as a mentor. Phyllis is a board member for the area Boys & Girls Club, and a founding sponsor of the Women in Economics and Business program at DePauw University.

Marian Belsack

Country Business Manager, BeNeLux, BD Diabetes Care

Becton Dickinson


Marian has demonstrated unparalleled entrepreneurial thinking and creativity, as she has led her team to increased market coverage through customer segmentation, evaluation of sales efficiency and a mix of highly impactful customer activities. Through these efforts, Marian has helped make BD the market leader in several key markets, including Belgium and the Netherlands. A self-motivator, fluent in five languages and always seeking out ways to learn and grow, Marian is a true “Rising Star”.

Amy Butler

Vice President Global Marketing and eBusiness, Life Science Solutions

Thermo Fisher Life Sciences Solutions (Life Technologies)


Amy has responsibility for >$3.6B in revenue and >200 people within eBusiness, branding and marcom, and customer insights. Amy has a track record of delivering strong business results with growth and increased profitability, and she does this with a people-focused approach. She continues to provide a strong influence around the executive table. Amy serves as the president of Life Technologies’ Women’s Network.

Nancy Cheesman

Market Segment Director

Bayer Healthcare LLC


As deputy director of strategic business in oncology at Bayer, Nancy was as an integral member of key product launch teams for Stivarga and Xofigo. Her dedication to excellence and collaborative spirit is unmatched. She is passionate about leadership development, as a mentor and coach. Active in the Bayer Women’s Leadership Initiative, she is a role model for aspiring female leaders. Nancy’s infectious “can do” approach has made her an exceptional talent and Rising Star.

Silvia De Dominicis, EMEA

Marketing Director, Biosurgery

Johnson & Johnson MD&D Emea


Silvia started her career in Johnson & Johnson Medical in 1995 in the finance dept., progressively growing up to the finance leadership position. She took then the position of operation director and after four years she became the market access director. Later on she was appointed business unit director in the orthopedic market for Mediterranean countries. She then moved to general surgery business, always holding the position of business unit director. Recently – in December 2013 – she has been appointed EMEA marketing director for biosurgery.

Brenda Eustace, PhD

Associate Director, Oncology and Neuro

Vertex Pharmaceuticals


Brenda has played an integral role in Vertex’s oncology program for the last ten years. Under her leadership, the cell and molecular oncology group has contributed to the inception and execution of some of our most advanced oncology projects. Brenda is a fearless leader, willing to take risks in an effort to discover innovative cancer medicines. Brenda is well respected by her team and her peers and has a positive can-do attitude in everything she does.

Kristin Fink

VP, Cardiovascular and Specialty Care Customer Engagement

Sanofi US


Kristin is a transformational leader with longstanding commitment to WISE, Sanofi’s women’s network. Recently, she was responsible for the project management of transitioning commercial operations into a new model, after which she successfully made the move into her current role. Responsible for evolving the sales force, preparing for product launch and improving employee engagement and, in 2013, Kristin’s team achieved very highest engagement scores, and Auvi-Q achieved a peak 1st year launch share of over 10%.

Julie Fitzgerald

Marketing Director, Duopa



Julie Fitzgerald is a strategic and analytical leader. She has a keen ability to formulate high level strategies and effectively take them to tactical execution providing solutions to the patients that she serves. Julie creates unique, creative solutions to complex problems. Julie has successfully lead multiple product launches, developed new distribution and operational models, and provided insight to clinical development activity. Her work impacts her immediate team and the broader company.

Michaela Herdick

Senior Director, Head Global Business Operations

Merck Serono, GCO



As a rising star in HBA, Michaela demonstrates her leadership, commitment to consistent high performance and to the advancement of women in healthcare in her daily work. She is a creative and innovative problem solver who is able to bring along her team and engage her peers with her vision and positive energy. She is recognized internally as well as by the outside community as a leader on industry initiatives aimed at productivity and efficiency gains.

Erika Jurrens

Director of Strategic Intelligence, North America



Whether cultivating and managing GSK’s relationship with the MIT Media Lab, leading and exponentially increasing employee participation GSK’s United Way campaign, or growing the reach and impact of the HBA as the director of leadership activities, Erika’s contribution to GSK and the people that make up the healthcare industry is significant, ongoing and supportive of a healthy world where individuals thrive.

Reshema Kemps-Polanco

Senior Product Director, CML Brand Marketing

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation


Reshema has been a successful leader at Novartis for more than 14 years and has demonstrated excellence in multiple roles. Her list of accomplishments includes marketing, sales, sales training, change management and talent development. Her passion, drive and commitment are apparent to all who work with her. Regardless of the challenge, Reshema has the ability to lead her teams and deliver results.

Amanda Mott

Executive Business Director, Sales



Amanda’s passion for patient health, and her leadership and commitment to her teams have led to exceptional business results and respect from employees. She is a role model and a champion for professional development, and inspires others to push boundaries, for themselves and for the company. With a diverse background, including legal, managed markets, government affairs, marketing and sales, Amanda brings a unique perspective and we are honored to name her our 2014 Rising Star.

Rosa Notaroberto

Senior Director, Commercial Operations

Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company


Rosa Notaroberto routinely demonstrates strong leadership, customer focus, operational excellence and a talent for growing and developing team members within commercial operations. Her focus and sense of personal accountability, combined with her positive attitude and incredible work ethic, make her a valuable asset to the organization. Since joining Millennium more than 10 years ago, Rosa has held multiple positions leading critical cross-functional initiatives. She is recognized as an outstanding manager of and mentor to colleagues.

Annette Powers

PharmD, Senior Director, Health Economics and Outcomes Research

Eisai Inc.


Annette is recognized and respected for her relentless pursuit of our human healthcare (hhc) mission by doing what is right for patients and responding to the ever increasing demands for credible HEOR evidence that supports that endeavor. She has achieved this through her passion for the science, her marshaling of resources and her networking across Eisai. Annette is a dedicated developer of talent, a skilled collaborator and, most of all, a trusted colleague and friend.

Jill Schaaf

Global Franchise Head, Chronic Care, Baxter-Gambro Renal

Baxter Healthcare


With over twenty years of leadership in healthcare, Jill Schaaf has proven to be equally passionate about improving patient care and advancing employee development. Leading Baxter’s largest Global Franchise, Jill has been instrumental in the turnaround of our Renal business. Today, under her leadership we have one of our strongest teams, we are poised to launch new game changing therapies and we are in the middle of the largest acquisition in Baxter’s 80-year history.

Denise Strauss

Executive Director, Managed Markets Marketing

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.


Denise Strauss is one of the most dynamic leaders at BI, effecting change with her business acumen, leadership and strong cross-functional collaboration. She has been instrumental in developing the organized customer strategy for BI and built a strong, integrated managed markets marketing team. Denise had previous success as the ED of SPIRIVA, doubling the growth to > $2B for BI’s largest brand. Denise has over 20 years of pharma experience, beginning her career at Pfizer.

Eden Sulzer

Director, Marketing

Cardinal Health


Eden is respected for her unwavering dedication to advancing her projects, Cardinal Health and those around her to new heights. As a Women Leading Change participant, Eden became involved in our Women in Pharmacy initiative. Her vision and commitment to bringing the idea to life led to a new leadership position created for her. Eden is a caring and giving individual and we are proud to have her as a female leader in our organization.

Katherine Truppi

Director, US Hip Marketing



Kathy has demonstrated the ability to build teams of professionals who deliver results. She has created a strong culture of achievement through employee development, mentorships and accountability. Her team members have grown significantly under her leadership. There has never been a marketing leader that has built stronger and more effective relationships with Stryker’s selling organization, while maintaining an intimate, collaborative partnership with the upstream commercial organization. Kathy’s contributions have had a significant impact on Stryker’s hip performance.

Jennifer Valentine

Regional Sales Director

Shire Pharmaceuticals


It is with pride that we recognize Jennifer Valentine our Great Lakes regional sales manager as Shire’s 2014 Rising Star. When summarizing Jen and her many contributions these themes clearly emerge: leadership, accountability and her commitment to the development of people. Jen’s impact is broad as she commits to lead by bringing out the best of herself and others to maximize possibilities.

Andrea F. Wainer

Divisional Vice President, General Manager

Abbott Animal Health



During Andrea’s ten years with Abbott, she has exhibited strong leadership skills and served in several capacities, including P&L management. As leader of this division, she focuses on delivering solutions that improve the lives of pets and their owners. She has also served as divisional vice president and general manager, Abbott Renal Care. Andrea has broad expertise that includes multiple care areas, including neurology, gastroenterology and veterinary medicine. She holds an MBA and a BSBA.

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