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Johnson & Johnson’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Named First Winner of Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association ACE Award for Corporate Initiatives That Advance Women’s Careers


The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) has named the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Johnson & Johnson the first winner of the HBA ACE Award. The association, marking its 30th anniversary, created the award to recognize the “Advancement, Commitment and Engagement” of women’s careers in the health care industry, the core mission of the HBA ( The award will be presented on December 6, 2007, at a special awards luncheon during the HBA’s 6th Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, DC.

A panel of industry leaders and academics chose Johnson & Johnson from among several health care companies for the depth, breadth and global reach of its Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), a grassroots employee organization with 47 chapters worldwide and membership in all business segments of the company. Since the launch of the WLI in 1995, Johnson & Johnson has tracked significant increases in the numbers and percentages of women on the Executive Committee, among company presidents and managing directors outside the U.S., corporate officers, company group chairs, executive and director level women and those with both line and staff management positions.

“We are honored to be recognized for our long-standing commitment to the advancement of women at all levels of our company by the HBA, the premier professional organization for women in the health care industry,” said Christine Poon, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Johnson & Johnson and WLI Executive Sponsor. “The development of global leaders is key to the future of our business, and the Women’s Leadership Initiative has played an important role.”

“Johnson & Johnson is committed to maximizing the power of global diversity and inclusion to drive superior business results and sustainable competitive advantage,” said JoAnn Heffernan Heisen, Vice President and Chief Global Diversity Officer. “The Women’s Leadership Initiative has been a key part of our commitment to diversity since its inception over 10 years ago.”

HBA President Cathy Kerzner, senior vice president and general manager of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Women’s Health Care Business Unit, said, “This award is particularly timely in light of recent findings that Fortune 500 companies with more women in their boardrooms and executive offices achieve significantly stronger financial performance than those with lower representation. HBA salutes Johnson & Johnson for the company’s real accomplishments in the advancement of women and the depth, breadth and reach of its global, grassroots programs.”

Kerzner also cited the recently completed HBA E.D.G.E. in Leadership Study, “Our E.D.G.E. study is groundbreaking research, supported by top industry players, that has identified for the first time key insights and benchmarks that will allow companies to accelerate the progress of women into the most senior positions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.” Laurie Cooke, HBA CEO, added, “The WLI at Johnson & Johnson epitomizes the kind of initiative that the E.D.G.E. study has identified as best practice.”

The ACE Award-winning initiative was judged against five criteria: measurable results and impact on target population; degree to which it supports the overall business; stewardship, or depth of commitment to the program; effectiveness of the execution; and built-in sustainability. Serving as judges were Lynn M. Gaudioso, President, Ivanhoe Strategies, LLC, and 1996 HBA Woman of the Year; Mary S. Hartman, Ph.D., University Professor and Institute Director, Institute for Women’s Leadership, Rutgers University; Joan Keith, Former Vice President, CV and Metabolic Franchise Management, Worldwide, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and 1992 HBA Woman of the Year; William S. Sheldon, former President and COO of Eisai, Inc., Board member and First HBA Honorable Mentor; and Debora L. Spar, Ph.D., Spangler Family Professor, Harvard Business School.

“We were impressed by the high caliber of submissions for this first-time corporate award,” said Nancy Larsen, President of PROmedica Communications, Inc., who co-chairs the ACE Awards Committee with Daria Blackwell, Managing Partner, Sudler & Hennessey. “The ACE Award sets new standards for corporate initiatives that seek to advance women’s careers across the industry.”

The ACE Award builds on the HBA’s leadership role in recognizing women in the industry and creating high profile role models. The HBA Woman of the Year Award, which recognizes an outstanding woman in the health care industry, is presented each May at a luncheon in New York City attended by more than 2,000 industry executives. Also honored at the Woman of the Year event are an Honorable Mentor, a male industry leader who supports the HBA mission; the HBA Volunteer of the Year, and Rising Stars, women leaders nominated by HBA’s corporate partner companies.


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