Luncheon salutes top women leaders

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Energy levels were running high at New York's Midtown Hilton Thursday as about 2,000 people converged on the venue to celebrate, and hear from, premium women leaders in healthcare.

“I had to step up and lead with courage,” said Patricia Maryland, of a defining moment that occurred right after she took her most recent position as president of healthcare operations and chief operating officer of Ascension Health.

Dr. Maryland accepted the award in memory of her mother, who passed away recently due to complications from diabetes. She was one of three women voted in by direct reports, superiors and the community-at large for the coveted Woman of the Year (WOTY) distinction.

All three shared inspired words about career, life and family, while making sure to recognize contributions from mentors.

“I owe my professional journey and achievements to many in this room,” said Annalisa Jenkins, EVP and head of global research and development for Merck Serono. “As we strive professionally, we must pay it forward.”

The third WOTY honoree echoed that sentiment: Shideh Sedgh Bina, founding partner of Insigniam and editor-in-chief of Insigniam Quarterly, implored the crowd to “find joy in passionately giving the best of your heart and mind in the service of others.”

The luncheon marked the first time in its 25-year history that the WOTY honor has been split three ways. The Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA), which produced the event, also brought the three together at the end for a panel discussion moderated by J&J Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky.

Gorsky asked the panel what one or two things each group could learn from the other to overcome the “siloes” that divide them and to boost collaboration among disparate parts of the healthcare industry. Jenkins replied, “Going it alone we could go fast; if you want to go far, you have to go together.”

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