HBA Philadelphia Member Showcase: An Early Philadelphia HBA Supporter with a Storied Career | HBA

HBA Philadelphia Member Showcase: An Early Philadelphia HBA Supporter with a Storied Career

HBA Member Showcase
Showcasing members who are part of HBA’s united force for change
by Jacqueline M. Mahon, MA

An early Philadelphia HBA supporter with a storied career long before there was a Philadelphia chapter of the Healthcare Business Women’s Association (HBA), Linda Cruz was catching Amtrak to Manhattan to attend HBA events. “There was a bunch of us on that train,” says Linda. “Philadelphia women in healthcare wanted to meet to exchange industry and career information and resources. The HBA fulfilled that need for us.” But until HBA Philadelphia opened in 2006, interested individuals had to travel for the opportunity.

Long-term HBA member Linda Cruz, MBA, CMR, PA-C. Her experience includes selling imaging services, medical devices, diagnostics, software/data, and biopharma products. 

At the time, Linda was a senior clinical scientist and project manager for Wyeth in Europe and the U.S. The company recommended that she attend HBA events. When Linda worked in sales and business development roles at Aventis, her boss placed HBA membership on her development plan. Linda notes that this encouragement was helpful to her career because in her workplaces she was often, if not the only woman, then certainly one of the few. “I was always in the minority in boardrooms and sure, it can be intimidating — if you let it be.” Forming a network of women in similar roles through the HBA provided invaluable support and information. Linda remarks, “I needed to talk with other senior professionals and share aspirations. For example, women didn’t usually get the job I held at Wyeth.” She found that global work exciting and highly stimulating.

When HBA Philadelphia started, Linda was on the board. She has volunteered regularly with our local chapter and also on the global board as the first corporate relations ambassador. She also has assisted the global board on special projects when needed. The HBA has recognized Linda’s contributions with various Spark and Volunteer-of-the-Month awards. “I’m excited by all the young people currently joining the HBA.” says Linda. “We continue to be a vibrant organization.”

Linda’s path has taken her a long way from milking cows on a Berks County dairy farm in her girlhood. She and her four siblings were the first in the family to attend college. She started her career as a physician assistant at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, PA. This position expanded to include managing cardiovascular trials, laboratories and fellows training. Linda decided to venture beyond purely medical work and went from sales representative to director of business development at CardioData Systems. Later workplaces included Eisai and Aventis and she was national account director at SDI Health, which became Quintiles and IMS Health, now IQVIA. Several employers honored Linda with awards for leadership and sales acumen. Along the way, Linda spent three years as the sole proprietor of her own consulting business. Those of us who have founded companies know the single-mindedness and grit that this required.

In 1992 during her stint at Eisai, Linda’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer disease. He had served on several bank boards and was highly respected in Berks County circles for advice and financial guidance. Linda and her siblings shared caregiver responsibilities, and Linda was in charge of her father’s medical appointments, requiring that she change her career from 90% travel to local work. Her father passed away in 2005. Linda began volunteering with the Delaware Valley chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Most recently, Linda served as the Association’s manager of corporate and volunteer engagement covering the 18-county Delaware Valley. She is currently open to new opportunities.   

Linda recently spoke at a “Party in Purple/Meet the HBA” event to help HBA members learn about available support for those affected by Alzheimer disease. An HBA “Fit to Lead” team participated in the November 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Philadelphia and achieved 200% of their fundraising goal.

In addition to her PA-C, Linda earned both an MBA in pharmaceutical marketing and a BA in social studies and biology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She sings with the Wayne Oratorio Society and enjoys reading complex music. Look for her at chapter meetings and say "hello".

“It’s great having a network of HBA women, because when you call, they answer.” - Linda Cruz

Jacquie Mahon, MA, is owner of Acorn Freelance in Philadelphia and has been a writer of medical education as well as pharmaceutical and hospital marketing communications for 24 years. She is a 3-year member of the HBA and is also a member of the American Medical Writers Association. Visit her at: www.acornfreelance.com