Summit - 2017 Speakers and Agenda

Susan is the head of Worldwide Commercialization at Bristol-Myers Squibb and reports to the Chief Commercial Officer.   Susan leads an international team of professionals in 26 markets that support the global commercialization of BMS products prior to launch and throughout the lifecycle. Teams reporting to her include include Worldwide Specialty Strategy Leadership, Multi-channel Marketing, Field Force Capability, Customer Transactions and Meetings, and Access and Pricing.  

During her tenure with BMS, Susan has held a variety of positions spanning multiple therapeutic areas and leadership roles. Prior to being named Head of Worldwide Commercialization, Susan served as Chief of Staff to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer.  Prior to this position, Susan lead commercial teams across many therapeutic areas as Vice President Cardiovascular Business Unit, Vice President, Diabetes Franchise Marketing, Vice President, Plavix and Avapro/Avalide Marketing; Executive Director, Orencia Marketing; and Senior Director, Apixaban Global Marketing. She also served as Senior Director, Global Marketing for Plavix. Earlier in her tenure, Susan served as the Global Marketing Lead for Orencia; Director of Edifoligide and Tequin; and Senior Manager for Abilify and Managed Healthcare.

Susan received a BA from Gettysburg College and an MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Susan Sweeney

SVP, head of worldwide commercialization, Bristol-Myers Squibb


Laurie Keating has served as Alnylam’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, with global responsibility for Legal, Intellectual Property, Government Relations/Public Policy, and Ethics & Compliance, since September 2014. Prior to joining Alnylam, she served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Millennium Pharmaceuticals from 2004 to 2014, with responsibility for Legal, Intellectual Property, Quality and Compliance. Prior to Millennium, Ms. Keating was co-founder, the first CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of Hydra Biosciences, a venture-backed research stage company whose investors include Polaris, Abingworth, NEA, ATV and Lilly. Before co-founding Hydra, she served as an executive at several high growth technology companies, including Sybase which went public and grew from approximately 400 to 6,000 employees during the time that she was a member of the executive team. Based on her leadership at Sybase, she was named one of the 45 most influential in-house lawyers in the U.S. under the age of 45. Earlier in her career, Ms. Keating practiced law at McCutchen, Doyle, Brown and Enersen (now part of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius). Laurie is a member of the Board of Directors of MassBIO and a past chair of the BIO General Counsel’s Committee. During 2015-16 she was a member of the biopharmaceutical industry team that negotiated a new Prescription Drug User Fee Agreement (PDUFA VI) with the FDA. Legislation to enact PDUFA VI is now pending in Congress. Laurie earned a bachelors degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley,

Laurie Keating

SVP, general counsel & secretary, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Windham-Bannister is an experienced CEO who served as the founding President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center from July 2008-May 2015, overseeing a $1-billion investment to accelerate the pace of growth in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, medical diagnostics and bioinformatics. She is the first African American in the U.S. to lead a life sciences-focused innovation initiative of this scale. As CEO, she was responsible for the Center’s investment strategy, brand management, organizational development and return on public investment. Dr. Windham-Bannister is an internationally recognized expert with excellent academic and professional credentials in the fields of innovation strategy, market access and health care policy analysis -- with a special focus on highly regulated industries. She has significant international experience in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Dr. Windham-Bannister was named as one of the 10 Most Influential Women in Biotech by the Boston Globe in 2013.

Susan Windham Bannister

president and CEO, Biomedical Growth Strategies LLC; Immediate Past President and CEO, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center


Senator Karen E. Spilka is the State Senator for the 2nd Middlesex and Norfolk district, which includes the towns of Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway and Natick in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts. She serves as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, the committee that oversees the budget and finances of the Commonwealth.  She also chairs the Biotech Legislative Caucus and the Tech Hub Caucus. Senator Spilka’s legislative accomplishments include efforts in a broad range of areas including economic development, jobs creation, education, juvenile justice and services for the elderly and disabled communities.

Senator Spilka was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the fall of 2001, where she served three years before her election to the State Senate in January 2005. In the Senate she has served as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, the Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and the Majority Whip.   Prior to becoming a legislator, Senator Spilka was in private practice as an arbitrator and mediator, specializing in labor and employment law and community and court mediation. In addition, she has been a facilitator and fact finder in disputes in the public and private sectors, as well as a social worker and trainer of adult mediation and school-based peer mediation programs, collaborative-based collective bargaining and conflict resolution strategies. 

Senator Spilka is a graduate of Northeastern Law School and holds a B.S. from Cornell University. She has been married for over thirty years to Joel S. Loitherstein, an environmental engineer, and has three children and one dog.


Connect with Senator Spilka!

Massachusetts State Senator Karen E. Spilka

Chair, Senate Committee on Ways and Means


Based in Rockville, MD., Molly is responsible for leading and directing federal policy strategies that increase emphasis around disease awareness, treatment options, and access to therapies.  As the Senior Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Molly plays a key role in helping internal and external customers understand the policy environment while developing and executing strategies to assess and shape policies impacting Otsuka and the patients the company serves.  She has over 15 years of accumulated industry experience, with 11 of those being in the biotechnology industry.  

Molly is an advocate of grooming the next generation of women leaders.  She sits on the board of Women In International Trade (WIIT) Trust whose mission is to develop trade education modules for girls in high school students and support graduate /undergraduate women studying international trade.

Molly is married to Thomas and they have two young children.  As a first generation American, Molly loves entertaining and cooking Kenyan food for her guests.  She also enjoys fine art and historical museums.

Molly Ryan

sr. director government affairs and advocacy, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies

Soma Gupta, Pharm.D., M.B.A, was recently appointed Vice President, North America Commercial Lead for the Rare Diseases business at Pfizer. In this role, Soma has responsibility for the North America commercialization efforts for Pfizer’s Rare Disease in line portfolio as well as launching their promising pipeline. Previously, Soma was the head of Global Marketing and Commercial Development for Pfizer Oncology. 

She brings over 15 years of experience in Global Commercialization, Product launches, Asset leadership and US Marketing to the role, both at Pfizer and previously at Novartis. Soma joined Pfizer Oncology in 2009 and has held roles leading Global Commercial Development, Sales and Marketing , and in the Product Development organization.
Soma was also a 2013 Healthcare Business Women’s Award (HBA) Rising Star and one of the 2011 Pharmaceutical Executive Emerging Pharma Leaders. She earned a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Rutgers University.

Soma Gupta

vice president, North America, commercial lead for rare diseases, Pfizer

Quita Highsmith is currently the Head of Alliance and Advocacy Relations in Government Affairs at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Her lifelong passion for developing others, innovation, creating vision, and followership are well known throughout the industry.

Quita was most recently the Franchise Head for Tamiflu, in which she led the P&L for the Tamiflu and assisted in business development opportunities.  Quita has a strong background in management, Sales, Marketing, Launches and Operations. Quita joined Genentech in 2010 as the National Sales Director for the Rheumatology franchise.  At the time, Quita led the largest sales force at Genentech. Prior to Genentech, she had roles of increasing responsibility in Advocacy/Government Affairs, Marketing and Sales at Sanofi and predecessor companies.

She serves on several Boards - including the San Francisco Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) as the 2017 President, Delta San Francisco-Peninsula Foundation Board, Genentech Political Action Committee Board and national non-profit Girls for a Change. 

Quita received her M.B.A. from the Johnson School at Cornell and her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky (and is an avid Wildcat basketball fan). Her family is known as the “Q-Crew,” so-named for husband Quincy and children Quintin and Quinlyn.

Quita Highsmith

head of alliance and advocacy relations, Genentech

With 25 years of industry experience across a variety of therapeutic categories, both consumer and professional, Darlene has contributed to some of the most successful product introductions in the industry. Although an “agency” person at heart, she spent several years on the client side as a marketing director. She is a seasoned, global multichannel marketer who deeply cares about her clients’ success, her agency team, and building successful brands. Key to her success is the ability to focus on what will most powerfully drive the brand’s success, along with her profound belief in the power of a team working toward that same goal.

Darlene Dobry

managing partner, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

As Executive Vice President of pharmaceutical marketing agency Intouch Solutions, Wendy Blackburn is responsible for marketing and public relations for the firm. Wendy has more than 20 years’ experience in healthcare marketing, including multichannel, digital, public relations and b-to-b. During her 13 years at Intouch, Wendy has helped grow the firm into a premier 700-person agency, recognized five times as "Agency of the Year.” With a special interest in social media, Wendy has a loyal Twitter following at @wendyblackburn where she shares industry observations in 140 characters or less.

Wendy Blackburn

executive, vice president, Intouch Solutions

A dynamic and innovative marketing, sales and communications executive with over 27 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Shilpa Shah-Mehta is currently the Executive Director of US Marketing for Novartis Oncology’s CML, CLL and Multiple Myeloma franchise.  In that role, she leads a high performing marketing team developing US commercial strategies, and works cross-functionally to ensure the successful delivery of objectives on behalf of oncology patients. She previously headed up marketing for Novartis’s US Oncology’s NET franchise, elevating the bar for legacy product performance, successful launch execution and talent development.  Her diverse professional portfolio also includes the leadership of Novartis’s Scientific Communications unit, where she oversaw the OBU’s publication and communications strategy in order to drive awareness of key data and scientific messages for Novartis products to internal and external stakeholders.  Since 1990, Shilpa has achieved a distinguished track record in a wide variety of successively challenging positions in field sales, training and marketing at such marquee firms as Parke Davis, BMS and Sanofi. Her keen understanding of the healthcare landscape has driven many successful partnerships across the industry, including payers, patient advocacy organizations, key opinion leaders, and global counterparts.  Her passion and deep understanding of the patient journey, and continued commitment to patient wellness, drive her every day.  Her wide range of professional experience makes her critical resource in Novartis’s ongoing fight against cancer.

Shilpa Shah-Mehta

executive director, oncology marketing, Novartis Oncology

Margaret Long currently serves as the Vice President of Business Communications and Stakeholder Engagement for Astellas US LLC, a U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Ms. Long leads the strategic development and implementation of internal and external communications for all of the Company’s pipeline and existing product portfolios. In this role, she is also leading efforts to maximize the Company’s engagement with external stakeholders including patient groups, professional societies and other third-party organizations to achieve mutually beneficial policy, business, and research and development objectives. Long has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Throughout her career, Ms. Long has participated in professional and industry organizations focused on healthcare issues with leadership roles at the New York Health Products Council and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Ms. Long’s positive impact has been recognized through numerous awards, including Pharma Voice’s Top 100 Most Influential People in 2010. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.


Margaret Long

VP, business communications and stakeholder engagement, corporate affairs, Astellas


Tifair Hamed is a 13 year Advertising and Marketing professional that launched her career at Ketchum Agency and AT&T. She currently serves as Director of Branding and Communications at & Tifair oversaw an award winning social media initiative that joined forces with government agency, SAMHSA & BDO/DVC. This initiative was designed to help eliminate Mental Health stigmas in the African American and Spanish Speaking communities. BDO reached over 80 Million online readers on topics of depression to suicide, through effective content integration and engaging conversations. It is also now the social media framework for various organizations.

In 2016, Tifair launched The Influence, an attire line & movement that seeks to empower women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Hair can be found at the center of conversations regarding health; from the ill side effects of chemotherapy, to being the number one reason African American women avoid the gym. The Influence offers vibrant, satin lined head wraps that make women feel beautiful inside & out, while leaving the worries of hair behind.

Tifair Hamed

director, branding and communications,

Pepper Miller is a researcher, thought-leader and conversation starter.
She founded The Hunter Miller Group, Inc, in 1995, a Chicago based, leading- edge market research and strategic planning firm.  Since then she has been helping Fortune 500 companies better understand and positively engage Black America, so that they can have loyal customers and a positive bottom line.  Some of these clients include AARP, American Airlines, Procter & Gamble, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and pharmaceutical companies that include: Pfizer, GSK, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Astra Zeneca and more.

Pepper co-authored with the late Herb Kemp What’s Black About It? (2006) and penned Black Still Matters in Marketing,(2012), Both are considered by many in the marketing industry, the most important books on Black consumer insights. 

Pepper earned MAFA Trailblazer Award (2014), the “Takes the Cake” Best Speaker award twice in 2006 and 2012 from the prestigious M2W Marketing 2 Women Conference, and Target Market News’ MAAX Award for Market Research Executive of the Year (2007).   

Pepper is founding blogger for Advertising Age’s Big Tent multicultural blog, has blogged for Forbes and enjoys engaging and mentoring young professionals.

Pepper Miller

president, The Hunter-Miller Group

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM


9:00 AM - 9:05 AM


9:05 AM - 9:30 AM

Keynote Session

  • Keynote

Healthcare in its traditional sense is truly transforming. Recent development s in technology has enabled more collaboration between health tech, pharma and the HCP community. As a result, the industry is more equipped with the tools we need to deliver quality care to patients in ways we never thought possible.

Join us for an inspiring keynote that looks into the industry’s future. One where women are shaping and influencing the transformative way in which we deliver healthcare.

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Panel 1

  • Panel
10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Panel 2

  • Panel
10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Networking Break

  • Networking Break
10:50 AM - 11:20 AM

Panel 3

  • Panel 3
11:20 AM - 11:40 AM

Networking Break

  • Networking Break


11:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Awards Ceremony