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HBA 2012 Woman of the Year: Thinking Beyond the Box


Pharmaceutical Executive

The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) has announced that its 2012 Woman of the Year (WOTY) is Carolyn Buck Luce, global pharmaceutical sector leader at Ernst & Young.

The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) has announced that its 2012 Woman of the Year (WOTY) is Carolyn Buck Luce, global pharmaceutical sector leader at Ernst & Young.  She will be honored at the HBA’s annual Woman of the Year luncheon on May 3 in New York – the 23rd recipient from an organization that has set the pace in assisting female professionals in the industry in penetrating that glass ceiling on advancement.


Buck Luce is an insider in an outsider’s field – management consultancy. As global pharmaceutical sector leader, Buck Luce is responsible for overseeing strategy, thought leadership, resourcing, learning, and solutions for E&Y’s life science clients.  In the past several years, she has overseen a series of reports called Progressions that document the turbulence of the external forces buffeting the industry and argues for a radical shift in mindset, away from selling a pill to offering a broader public health solution linked to documented improvement in patient outcomes.  The message is not always welcome in big pharma circles, and it requires an outsider’s dose of moxie to sell it.  Buck Luce alludes to this work as a “conversation” – one that has to take place.

Her selection itself represents something of a departure from the norm, given that most recent awardees have come from the big pharma “C suite” of senior managers with line responsibilities.  In that sense, Buck Luce as WOTY provides further evidence of the importance that pharma now accords to those who can interpret the business to a much broader range of stakeholders.  She enjoys a reputation as a skilled communicator whose signal mission is to impart a sense of urgency to the need for transformation, not only in the formal business model but more importantly in the practical ways that companies must change to maintain ties to customers, and ultimately the patient.  All of us who have dealt with Buck Luce know that her fiercest enemy is complacency – because time is money and the time to change is now.

In addition to her role at Ernst & Young, Buck Luce is co-chair and co-founder of The Talent Innovation Task Force and currently serves on the Mayor’s Commission on Women’s Issues in New York City, where she advises on strategies and programs to make it the best large city for women to live and work. She has also serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Women’s Foundation where she has held a variety of officer positions, most recently as chair.

“Carolyn’s accomplishments span both public and private, profit and not-profit work, and her passions for making a difference in the lives of women and children shine through everything she does,” says New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “At a time when I am calling for women to get off the sidelines and join a national call to action to help this country be all it can be, I am happy to hold up Carolyn as a role model for others.”

In a long-standing partnership with the HBA, Pharmaceutical Executive devotes its cover story every April to honoring the Woman of the Year with a feature highlighting her personal and professional challenges, accomplishments, and advice to others in the industry.  It will appear in our April issue, in advance of the WOTY event on May 3.

To help shape the Woman of the Year’s priorities over the next year, Pharm Exec is interested in our online readers’ take on the following: In what new ways can the HBA drive change and diversity in the industry?  Should the focus be on women or on the broader elements of building the more diverse workforce required in a globalized business?

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