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HBA Announces New CEO


The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Board of Directors announces the appointment of Susan O’Connor as Chief Executive Officer of the global not-for-profit association, ushering in a new chapter in its mission of advancing women in healthcare. Ms. O’Connor will succeed current President and CEO Laurie Cooke, who will step down for a well-earned retirement after leading the organization since 2006.

Ms. O’Connor was previously a global healthcare executive with Pfizer for 26 years, where she grew $300-400 million businesses by 7-14% through science and technology innovations and partnerships with various Ministries of Health. Additionally, she served as Vice President and Chief of Staff to the Head of the Global Innovative Business, managing executive team operations, Board of Directors and Analyst communications.

More recently, as the CEO & Business Strategy Consultant at PranaHealth, Ms. O’Connor developed business plans to commercialize science-based wellness innovations in healthcare with a total estimated sales potential of $285 million. In 2018, she delivered the keynote at HBA’s Annual Conference with more than 1,000 attendees. 

For decades, Ms. O’Connor has served in not-for-profit and for-profit leadership roles advancing gender parity and empowering women. As a Board Member of the UN Women USA NY, she is helping address critical issues that impact women globally through fund raising, member engagement and recruiting diverse Board Members.

At Pfizer, Ms. O’Connor’s membership of the Global Women’s Council and leadership of Regional Councils in Africa Middle East and the U.S., improved gender parity metrics at the Vice President level and developed the capabilities of many emerging leaders. Wholeheartedly committed to gender parity for all, Ms. O’Connor also served on the Board of Step Up, mentoring under-resourced high school girls.

Ms. O’Connor will assume her leadership role in July as Laurie Cooke departs the organization after 15 years at the helm. During her tenure at HBA, she led efforts that quadrupled both the individual and corporate partners memberships, grew the supporting community to 60,000, expanded member representation locations and grew HBA’s footprint beyond the United States to 60 countries across Europe, Canada, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Her leadership also inspired the founding of the HBA’s Gender Parity Collaborative, the industry’s first consortium committed to systemically accelerating gender parity and equity. Ms. Cooke has had an enormous personal impact on thousands of people as a mentor, leader, advocate, and inspirational speaker.

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