More than 7,000 celebrate the HBA’s Woman of the Year, Honorable Mentor, and STAR

By Nancy White

Director, communications 

Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association

(left to right) WOTY Emcee Christine Miller; HBA STAR Susan Torroella; WOTY Dr. Sandra Horning; HBA Honorable Mentor Dr. Rod MacKenzie; HBA Board Chair Shideh Bina; HBA President and CEO Laurie Cooke

Celebrated virtually this year, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s (HBA) Woman of the Year event was able to welcome an infinite amount of ticket holders to the industry awards gala. And more than 7,000 registrants from 21 countries took advantage of the opportunity making this celebration a milestone – the largest ever for the annual event.

Participants joined in celebrating the Woman of the Year (WOTY) Dr. Sandra Horning, formerly of Genentech/Roche, the 20th Honorable Mentor Dr. Rod MacKenzie of Pfizer, and HBA STAR volunteer honoree Susan Torroella, formerly of ArmadaHealth. These leaders were recognized not only for their exceptional contributions to the healthcare and life sciences industry—and ultimately patients—but for their steadfast commitment to advancing the impact and influence of women in the business of healthcare. 

With COVID forcing the HBA to re-imagine last year’s canceled event, the 2020 honorees carried over to this year making for a timely and well-deserved celebration of Drs. Horning and MacKenzie with both involved in the development of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, respectively. 

Mindful that most “attendees” have attended a plethora of online events during the last year, the HBA opted to recognize the WOTY, Honorable Mentor, and STAR honorees “live from New York” to capture the spirit and excitement of an in-person event. Following all New York state pandemic safety protocols, HBA’s President and CEO Laurie Cooke and HBA Board Chair Shideh Bina joined the small production team to present the awards. Also live was program emcee, Melinta Therapeutics’ CEO Christine Miller, who hosted the hybrid program that also showcased the industry’s 156 Rising Stars and Luminaries. 

A popular feature of the program this year included the introduction of the Rising Stars and Luminaries Spotlight of Inspiration videos, a series of 60-second videos documenting how these honorees were inspired, executed their adaptive resilience, and supported others in the aftermath of the pandemic that has disproportionately impacted women’s careers.  

The Spotlight videos and speeches from the three top honorees are available on HBA’s YouTube channel, and information about the 2022 nomination process—opening in August—can be found on HBA’s website,