Mylan CEO Heather Bresch was honored on May 31, 2017, with Hugh O’Brian Youth's (HOBY) Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award. The organization bestows its highest honor annually upon individuals who, through their leadership, have made significant contributions to the education and motivation of youth. In creating HOBY, its namesake was acting on Dr. Schweitzer’s belief that the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.
In accepting the award, Heather stated that, “Empowering people at any age to achieve their goals begins with instilling a sense of ownership and helping them see that, with hard work, anything is possible.”
Leading by example, Heather continually calls upon herself and those around her to challenge the status quo and figure it out. In doing so, she invariably brings out the best in people by encouraging them to take personal and professional ownership for making the world a better place.
In Mylan’s case, that means setting new standards in healthcare and providing people everywhere with access to high quality medicine. It also includes demonstrating the courage and persistence to transform an industry in desperate need of change.
Since joining Mylan 25 years ago as a data-entry clerk in Morgantown, West Virginia, Heather has made this cause her life’s work. Believing that healthcare should be a right, not a privilege, she has worked tirelessly to give the world the gift of good health.
About a decade ago, for instance, Heather played an instrumental part in the success of taking Mylan global, creating the scale needed to serve a rapidly consolidating industry with high volumes of high quality medicine. She has championed policy initiatives designed to strengthen the world’s drug supply chain and make it safer. She has advised foreign governments on how to boost utilization of generic drugs as a way of expanding people’s access while reining in spiraling healthcare costs.
In addition, she has figured out ways to serve the disadvantaged on a sustainable basis. As a result, nearly half of all people being treated today for HIV/AIDS in the developing world rely on a Mylan antiretroviral product. In the U.S., she is helping lead a long overdue conversation about reforming healthcare to make sure patients experience savings at the pharmacy counter.
Being a catalyst for change seldom is easy. But Heather believes that the key to success is to live Mylan’s culture – that is, to be Passionate, Relentless, Committed and Unconventional. You may read about Heather’s perspectives on it in her blog post on LinkedIn.
When presenting her with the award, HOBY President and CEO Javier LaFianza commented, “Heather’s leadership and service inspires us all. Knowing she shares HOBY’s belief that young leaders can change the world motivates our volunteers and ambassadors to set new standards of their own.”
Hugh O’Brian was an actor and humanitarian. Albert Schweitzer was a noted theologian, philosopher, physician and Nobel Peace prize recipient. Former Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award winners include former Secretary of State and former U.S. Senator from New York Hillary Clinton; Chairman and CEO of American Airlines, Doug Parker; former Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour; boxing legend and activist Muhammad Ali; and former Governor of Arkansas and HOBY Alumnus, Mike Huckabee.