A blog exploring pharmaceutical relationship marketing, emarketing and innovation with a focus on rare disorders.
The convergence of rare disease, digital communications, and pharmaceutical marketing communications

Personal Stories of Inspiration at the HBA Leadership Conference

Posted by | 7:45pm on Thursday, November 4, 2010
sunset over Cape Kiwanda

Why haven’t I cured anyone yet? I want to develop drugs that help patients, millions of patients 

“Our darkest moments can bring our brightest dreams to light,” said Dr. Una Ryan last week at the Leadership Conference hosted by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA). For me, the highlight of the annual event was the personal stories shared by three women, including Dr. Ryan.

Inspired by a difficult childhood during WWII and her father’s return from a POW camp, Dr. Ryan decided she wanted to help save lives. She also shared how she was a victim of domestic violence.

“I was excelling in academic medicine when this thought hit me like a bullet: Why haven’t I cured anyone yet? I want to develop drugs that help patients, millions of patients,” noted Dr. Ryan. She is currently the CEO of Diagnostics for All, a nonprofit saving lives through the creation of low-cost, easy-to-use, point-of-care diagnostic devices designed specifically for the developing world.

Equanimity Under Duress
Equanimity under duress became the mantra of Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall when as a medical student she suffered the loss of her mother and a cancer diagnosis of her then boyfriend/now husband. She wanted to give up, but somehow was able to find the strength to complete her medical training and is now Chief Medical Officer at Pfizer.

Detective Mom
The founder & president of Siren Interactive, Wendy White, told the story of her daughter, Casey, who has a rare disease. When Casey was born she had a club foot and other health issues, but the doctors weren’t sure what was wrong with her.  Over time, Wendy become a “Detective Mom” and Googled and researched her way to the answer: Nail Patella Syndome. This experience led Wendy to focus Siren on rare disease therapies and become a Board Member for the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

The inspirational stories of these three women were extremely empowering. I have to admit after hearing Wendy speak, I was very proud to be part of Siren.

Join the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association
If you aren’t aware of the HBA, it’s an nonprofit organization “committed to helping women in health care, across all areas of functional expertise, achieve their leadership goals at every stage of their career.” They have chapters all over the world and host educational and networking events. If you are a woman working in the pharmaceutical/biotech world or related industries, I strongly recommend it.

In addition to these wonderful stories, the Leadership Conference had seminars, the Music Paradigm and provided plenty of opportunities to meet other professional women. There was also time for fun and social events – even a few cocktails. The conference was held in Philadelphia, so on offer were the obligatory cheesesteaks and a run up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps a la Rocky Balboa. I hope to see you at next year’s event.

This post was contributed by Eileen O’Brien, Director of Search & Innovation for Siren Interactive. You can connect with her on Twitter at @eileenobrien.

(Image courtesy of Kyle Kruchok on Flickr)

About Eileen O'Brien

Eileen has more than 16 years of digital healthcare marketing experience. She is an opinion leader on social media and biopharma, and has been invited to speak at industry conferences and quoted in publications.

View other posts from Eileen

7 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

    05 November 2010 at 10:11am
    Eileen O'Brien shares her ...
  • HBAnet
  • 05 November 2010 at 10:11am
    Eileen O'Brien shares her ...
  • HBAnet
  • 05 November 2010 at 10:11am
    RT @HBAnet: Eileen O'Brien ...
  • Impactiviti
  • 06 November 2010 at 1:11pm
    RT@HBAnet @EileenOBrien shares her ...
  • Betsy Lane
  • 06 November 2010 at 1:11pm
    RT@HBAnet @EileenOBrien shares her ...
  • hbanet_metro
  • 07 November 2010 at 4:11pm
    RT @HBAnet: Eileen O'Brien ...
  • Catherine Foley
  • 15 March 2012 at 10:03am
    [...] power of the HBA I’ve written about the HBA before, and I strongly recommend attending a local program. As you can tell from the quality of ...
  • Lessons from Pharma Leaders | SIRENSONG
Siren Interactive
  • Siren Interactive
  • Rare Disease Relationship Marketing Experts
  • 626 West Jackson Blvd, Suite 100
  • Chicago, IL 60661
  • 312.204.6700
  • 866.502.6714 (Toll Free)
  • www.sireninteractive.com