Every year during Women’s History Month, the Healthcare Businesswomen Association recognizes women in our industry who have achieved great things in their own careers, while also inspiring and supporting others to do the same. Meet this year’s honorees from Amgen.
Nada Obeid didn't take a conventional path to Amgen. After earning her doctorate in pharmacy, the Brooklyn native began her career working in New York City hospitals, providing specialized infusion and medication therapy management to patients with cancer. She then moved into the biopharmaceutical industry, first with Pfizer and, now for the last 14 years, at Amgen.
"I started my career journey with an open mind and the understanding that I needed to be flexible," says Obeid, who currently serves as executive director of Regional Accounts, Market Access, in Amgen's U.S. commercial organization, and recently stepped down as global chair of Women Empowered to Be Exceptional (WE2), Amgen's largest employee resource group with 26 chapters at sites around the world.
Obeid credits mentors she's had over time for helping to identify core strengths that could be transferred to other parts of the business. "I have been fortunate to have the support of others in helping guide my career, pursue advancement opportunities, and find balance as a working mom," she says. "I feel a responsibility now to use my experiences to help others."
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Earlier this week, Nada was recognized by the Healthcare Businesswoman's Association (HBA) as a 2023 Luminary award winner. Two other Amgen women – Marie-Sharmila Blandino, director, Global Access Strategy Lead, Oncology, and Linda Lai, executive director, External Supply Raw Materials – were recognized by HBA as Rising Stars. Each year, members of Amgen's senior leadership team nominate and review the Rising Star and Luminary contenders.
Building Connections and Community
As the daughter of an Indian father and French mother, a sense of belonging has always been important to Blandino. "As a child, I always felt a bit apart from other children, but my parents instilled in me a strong sense of respect for myself and for others, and it's a natural part of my leadership style—ensuring that employees feel heard and seen and comfortable being themselves," she says. "Being able to contribute to the growth and achievements of other women is a gift."
Blandino initially joined WE2 to connect with other women in the company after moving from France to Switzerland, she then led the WE2 ELMAC chapter in addition to becoming WE2 Global Regional lead for several years. As one of her first projects on the WE2 Global Leadership Team, Blandino launched the "Women of Diversity" story series. "It was important to me that we share the experiences and voices of women at Amgen at different levels in their careers. I wanted to showcase their stories to inspire other women in the workplace the way they inspired me."
Hearing from other women is something that Linda Lai also appreciates and tries to encourage. "I think a lot of times women are scared to share their feelings, especially as it relates to career advancement," says Lai, who is involved in the WE2 chapter at Amgen's headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Calif. "I was fortunate to have mentors who helped me understand that I should broaden my aspirations to include positions that might not be an exact fit for my skills but could be areas that would allow me to share my knowledge and have an impact. It's a lesson I share as I continue to mentor and learn from those around me."
Like Obeid, Lai has not had a typical career path. Trained as a chemical engineer, she started out as a bench scientist. A strong desire to help others, along with mentors who encouraged her to stretch her talents, led her to various roles in Amgen. "There are career development opportunities to grow within your role, expanding your role or seeking out something entirely different given the value of diverse experiences," she says.
All three honorees cite their participation in WE2 as being instrumental to their success.
"We are creating a future bench of global leaders and it makes me proud," Obeid adds. "To watch the careers of others take shape and grow, there's nothing better.
As we approach the end of Women's History Month, Tamika Jean-Baptiste, vice president of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, shares the progress Amgen is making in advancing gender equity and building a culture where all employees can reach their full potential.