“You’re definitely going to hear more about women in health policy this year.”
This prediction from Nancy Snyderman, formerly NBC Chief Medical Officer, at Access! 2019, was fulfilled immediately as four health care executives launched into an energetic panel discussion on how they embody leadership in the boardroom and the home and shifting currents in the industry and society at large.
Harvard Business Review: Firms with More Women in the C-Suite Are More Profitable
Snyderman moderated a powerful panel of leaders:
- Carol Lynch, President of Sandoz US and Head of North America
- Frances Zipp, President & CEO, Lachman Consulting Services
- Silvia Perez, President and General Manager, 3M Drug Delivery Systems
- Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health
Healthcare Leadership Luncheon sponsored by Mylan, Inc. and powered by Women in Health Policy (WiHP)
Each panelist demonstrates that it is possible to have both a senior-level career and a family. Indeed, all agreed that traditionally female qualities are well suited to health care.
“As women,” said Lynch, “We’re more likely to engage in a conversation about the good we do for patients and the impact we make each and every day. Generally, we’re seen as caretakers, responsible for family health.”
She mentioned Sandoz’s progressive flex work policy as a way that the company empowers its female leaders.
The panelists addressed a wide range of issues, including:
- How do we teach women and girls to be confident?
- What is the relationship between status and power in our industry?
- Do women in leadership positions have an obligation to be “touchy-feely”?
Acknowledging the perception that women “take work personally,” Zipp asserted, “If anyone says, ‘business isn’t personal,’ they should find another job. Everything you do, you have to show a passion for it.”
Perez noted that 3M Drug Delivery Systems has made it a priority to increase the number of women in leadership roles. This strategy involves mentoring young women and holding them accountable. “Having men actively engaged in that cause is also very critical,” she added.
Sharing examples of the discrimination she has faced in her career, Gee—a mother of five—stated, “It’s important to set an example, to pave the way, particularly in places when there aren’t a lot of females.”
She recalled a moment when a male colleague marveled at her ability to simultaneously handle a phone call from home and an urgent policy matter. “It’s called multitasking,” she told him. “The second X chromosome was built for that!”
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By Anna McDermott-Vitak, AAM Vice President, Corporate Development and Administration