Annalisa Jenkins named IIR Partnerships’ Woman of the Year
The award, which launched a new competition for IIR, was presented Monday evening, March 31, at the Third Annual Women’s Clinical Leadership Forum and Dinner, part of IIR’s 22nd Annual Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference in Las Vegas.
In conjunction with CenterWatch, which sponsored the award, the competition drew the nominations of numerous exceptional women in the clinical trials industry, judged on their demonstration of the following key attributes: Successful achievement of the highest levels of professional excellence within the clinical trials industry; passionate contribution of time and energy to innovative initiatives and/or programs; and active encouragement and support of others, particularly women, through mentorship and advocacy to help them rise to more senior roles in the industry.
Jenkins, who could not attend the event, accepted the award via a video presentation at the dinner, which was attended by close to 100 women and men in the clinical trials industry. Amanda Carerra, vice president of Stiris Research, presented the award.
Jenkins is a member of the board of directors of TransCelerate Biopharma, and in February was named its chairman.
According to her nomination, which was submitted by Heather Connor of Merck Serono, Jenkins spearheaded a major alliance between Merck Serono and CRO Quintiles.
“It was clear that Annalisa’s position as a leader in pharma was not by chance, but a result of a masterful understanding of what our industry needs, a bold vision to drive meaningful change and, perhaps most compelling, an uncanny ability to set that vision in the eyes of those around her and inspire them to bring it to life,” Paula Brown Stafford, president of clinical development, Quintiles, wrote in the nomination.
Jenkins has served as mentor for 15 senior women in biopharma. According to her nomination, those who have worked for and with her cite her people-first approach, with which she has built strong and capable teams by cultivating every member’s strengths and focusing them on a common goal.
Her belief in the power of gender diversity fueled, in part, her move to Merck Serono. Top management had put diversity goals high on their agenda, and Jenkins saw an opportunity to make a diverse talent pipeline part of her leadership platform. Connor said Jenkins has created measurable, lasting opportunities for women to excel at and beyond the company. As leader of the Diversity Gender Council of Merck Serono and a member of the same at parent company Merck, she has worked to promote women to management positions and facilitate work-life balance through flexible working hours and greater childcare options. As head of Merck’s International Women’s Network, she has led the Work at Merck initiative, with programs including telecommuting options and time off for family care that give employees needed flexibility to deliver results while also managing home life.
Jenkins also was the lead sponsor of FULL SAIL, a pilot program to strengthen engagement and retention of talent across R&D. She has worked to broaden training and mentorship opportunities for women at the company.
Additionally, she is actively involved with nonprofit and professional organizations focused on improving women’s health and enabling achievement by women in industry, including the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, which works in partnership with the nonprofit, private and public sectors to develop sustainable solutions for the challenges women entrepreneurs face across the globe. She is a member of the Corporate Circle for the National Council for Research on Women, the New York Women's Forum and PhRMA’s Scientific Leadership Advisory Committee. In 2012, she was recognized for her advocacy of women in the community with the Gilda’s Club New York City Red Door Award, an annual honor given to one woman who has improved the quality of life for anyone living with cancer.
The Women’s Clinical Leadership Forum and Dinner featured a keynote address, “Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You: Lessons from a Champion” by Lisa Leslie, Olympic gold medalist and MVP, Women’s National Basketball Association.
Bonnie Brescia, founding principal of BBK Worldwide, moderated a panel discussion on “Mentoring the Next Generation of Rising Stars,” with panel members Joan Chambers, COO of CenterWatch; Bari Kowal, vice president of strategic alliance and development lead at Pfizer; Shirley L. Paddock, COO of Chorus, Lilly Research Laboratories; and Kathryn King, vice president of global clinical operations at Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
The forum also featured an intimate interview with Jodie Morrison, CEO of Tokai, on “My Path to CEO: Working Up the Corporate Ladder.”
BBK Worldwide and Stiris Research sponsored the forum, with CenterWatch as media sponsor and also a partner for the award competition.