HBA Woman of the Year 2012 - Pharmaceutical Executive

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HBA Woman of the Year 2012


Pharmaceutical Executive


Communities Beyond Business

Buck-Luce has spread that passion, devoting a large block of her time at E&Y to building a Professional Women's Network while focusing her external engagement around diversity and talent issues. She recently was chair of the New York Women's Foundation, which provides grants to community-based organizations to improve economic justice for underserved women and girls. As a thought leader on diversity issues, she has had a long relationship with the New York-based Center for Talent Innovation, producing jointly with founding economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett several groundbreaking, peer-reviewed studies on the glass ceiling. "Carolyn has worked with us on some truly inspirational studies that, for example, identify why women are overrepresented in the entry ranks of scientific research but tend to fall off the ladder on the way up. We also exposed as a myth the explanation that women do not get ahead because they 'opt out' to have kids. Harvard Business Review has published this work and helped build the Center's influence in the field of corporate talent management—Carolyn is an amazing leader because she opens many doors," Hewlett told Pharm Exec.

Next Step: Another Deep Breath

Buck-Luce will soon reach the mandatory partner retirement age of 60 and leaves E&Y in December. True to form, she has her next 10-year plan in motion. Simply put, Buck Luce sees her future as an "organizational shaman," where she will apply her experience to the challenge of helping leaders tap the courage necessary to think differently and create companies of sustainable value. Service on corporate boards in the healthcare sector are a particular interest, not only because healthcare is unique—as Buck Luce says, where else can profit and success be married so directly to a service that does good for society?—but also frankly because the corporate board is the last bastion of male power. "It's the final glass ceiling, and without more women at that level, corporate cultures won't change."

Teaching is another priority. A true pleasure over the past few years has been teaching a course at the Columbia School of Public and International Affairs (SIPA) on "Women in Power." Part management, part politics, and part psychology, but always interactive, the course is one of SIPA's most popular.

Then there is the new role as HBA Woman of the Year. Buck-Luce wants to make HBA more global, because grooming future women leaders will depend on gaining experience in markets ex U.S. "I am interested in a training curriculum on what it takes to be a global leader in pharma," Buck-Luce says. Part of that will involve getting more senior women—in all areas of healthcare, as well as outside—active in advising HBA members.

And finally there is family. Again, Buck-Luce cites her philosophy about taking that big risk to live fully. Trusting in yourself to know when to hold on and when to let go are insights that come from both joyous and difficult experiences. "My late husband Forrest, who passed away in 2009 after a long bout with esophageal cancer, taught me what some people learn too late: live your life in a way that's worth dying for. He used to say, 'the only thing that can't be taken away from you is the love you give away before you die.' My 10-year plan includes getting remarried to a wonderful man who has been a dear friend for years and spending time with an ever-growing extended family. As to those risks of the unknown, outside the protective walls of the 'corporate identity,' I am following the advice of my son Jake—when you take risks, good things happen."

Before cross-cultural awareness was touted as a leadership trait ... I understood it as that desire of all people to understand and be understood

Many people thought I was crazy to go into HR, but I thought it would be a great way to learn how to represent the institution as a spokesperson

If you devote your energy to discovery, development, and lifecycle management of the most innovative people, then you will have the most innovative products


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