Together we make each other stronger
Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) is a global nonprofit organization with the goal of advancing the impact of women in healthcare and helping organizations leverage female talent. It is directly linked to Amgen’s commitment to further advance growth and impact of women. In the Netherlands Frederike van Osnabrugge, Emma van der Stel and Margreet Plantenga are active members of HBA.
Why did you become a member and involved in HBA?
“As I progress in my career and personal life, I tend to become comfortable in my thinking about how the world around us operates”, says Frederike. “Being exposed to new global perspectives through the HBA program, in group and in person, I am taking home a truly fresh perspective on things. The program gives me awareness of how important it is to manage your own leadership transition process thoroughly. I get to meet senior industry leaders and learn from them, so for me, it is an extraordinary opportunity to invest in my professional and personal development, while building an international network of inspiring Amgen colleagues.”
As a mother, do you feel supported by HBA and Amgen?
“Yes” answers Emma wholeheartedly. “Being part of the HBA network helps me to realize that I am not the only ambitious young mom. The network makes it possible to share experiences with other women with similar challenges. It helps realizing that we don’t have to be perfect. Furthermore, Amgen acknowledges the fact of combining motherhood and a career and really gives flexibility. I really appreciate this. It allows me to do my job much better.”
“Without doubt, my biggest inspiration in life is my family”, adds Frederike. “Having two children I often wonder if high quality healthcare will still be accessible for them when they grow up. Aging populations, chronic diseases and new technologies put so much pressure on our healthcare system. Most recently with the rise of COVID-19, the need for change, connecting with the actual patient needs, became even more relevant. I strongly believe that Amgen and the HBA will support me in finding my voice, help me expand my sphere of influence and address the need for change.”
What are you currently working on?
The McKinsey report, Women in the Workplace 2021 concluded: Women are even more burned out now than they were a year ago, and the gap in burnout between women and men has almost doubled. Especially women around the world have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They have often had to take on more household and childcare tasks than their partners and have de-prioritized their well-being and find it harder to stay motivated. We have investigated how this was reflected in Amgen through interviews. Our main conclusion was that women felt isolated by the lack of connection with colleagues. They also struggled with mental health issues, high self-expectations, and perfectionism.
As a follow-up we have organized a round-table with 20 women around the world and one of the next steps is to create a campaign on female vulnerability – starting with female leaders first. We want to showcase that also female leaders have weak-spots and are not always strong and need mentoring. Showcases like these open up conversations and how we - as women, mothers and colleagues - can support each other.
In your opinion why is it important that Amgen is investing in female leadership and a program like HBA?
“I think it is important that Amgen invests in female leadership and achieves gender parity in leadership to enable the organization to realize the full potential of their female talent”, says Margreet. “Moreover, it’s important to develop a strong and diverse bench of future leaders through ongoing leadership trainings and programs such as the HBA program. Therefore, I am glad that Amgen is partnering with the HBA program as it creates a platform of empowerment to help women in the organization amplify their voice, be braver, take risks and become thought leaders for a more diverse culture.”
Do you already see results?
“In each step along my career in Healthcare I am discovering my personal leadership style, reasons to be and what impact I want to make now and in the future; with, within and outside Amgen. The HBA is helping me shape this future more clearly’ admits Frederike. “I have learned that you not just have to become more knowledgeable, but also more curious. Not only more assured of my abilities but also be more aware of my own need to continue growing.” Emma continues, “Personally, thanks to the HBA I am realizing that women are really trying to be perfect in everything. We want to be the best mom, best friend, best partner, and best employee. And with this, we forget to be the best for ourselves. It is okay not to be perfect always. And we need “me-time” to recharge!” Also Margreet already sees the impact of the Amgen HBA program: “It allows me to connect with other female leaders within Amgen and work on topics that help me become a more impactful leader while at the same time, as Emma says, not always being perfect. Instead let’s be realistic and support and learn from each other in our individual growth process.”