August 7, 2014
By: Nora Miller
The Women in Leadership student organization (WIL) at the Harvard School of Public Health is driven by the mission of preparing women for leadership roles in health care. Throughout the academic year, WIL organizes networking events, skills-based workshops and community service opportunities that challenge, motivate and inspire students as they explore their journey towards authentic and effective leadership.
One of WIL’s annual flagship events is the Alumnae Student Conference and this past March we were incredibly lucky to have Saundra Pelletier, CEO of Woman Care Global, as our keynote speaker. The theme of the conference, Public Health Leadership for the 21st Century, focused on the unique but requisite skills such as managing change, fostering innovation and leveraging data to effectively lead in a new and dynamic health care market.
Saundra, the personification of an authentic leader, has extensive experience in all of these areas. She has spearheaded institutional change and has been instrumental in reconfiguring multiple organizations from the ground up. Her commitment to data is the backbone of operations at Woman Care Global – tracking impact in real-time to ensure that donor funds are being spent effectively and efficiently. As one of the few examples that I know of that truly operates as a public-private partnership, Woman Care Global is nimbly adapting to the challenges of operating a sustainable business model in this ‘new and dynamic health care market’.
What’s more, Saundra has committed her life and career to empowering women and encouraging them to set and achieve personal and professional goals, striving for deep emotional fulfillment as deliberate creators. At the conference, Saundra shared intimate stories about her own struggles with being a female leader in the health care industry and the strategies she adopted to overcome these challenges. Her candid and honest conversation about striking a balance between career aspirations, family dynamics, health, and relationships left us all feeling connected with her on a personal level. We all wanted to know where to sign up to help in her mission to create access to quality, affordable reproductive healthcare products for women everywhere.
To say that Saundra’s speech had an effect on me personally would be an understatement. As I write this from my new desk at Woman Care Global as part of the Expanding Effective Contraceptive Options (EECO) project team, I can safely say that Saundra’s authentic and charismatic leadership inspired me to move 3,000 miles across the country to join her in her mission of improving global women’s reproductive health. EECO is just one example of the reach of Woman Care Global’s activities and serves as a testament to the power of authentic female leadership in the health care industry.
~Watch Saundra’s Pelletier’s Keynote Address here…