60 Seconds With

“Build your own personal advisory board” – 60 seconds with Elaine Brennan, Executive Director, Pharma Ventures and International, Northwell Health

By Business & Finance
26 November 2020
Pictured: Elaine Brennan, Executive Director, Pharma Ventures and International, Northwell Health

Elaine Brennan is originally from Ennis in Co. Clare and has been living in the U.S. for over 25 years. As Executive Director, Pharma Ventures and International for Northwell Health, New York’s largest health care provider and private employer with over 74,000 employees, Elaine’s role is multifold including building Northwell’s enterprise relationships with the pharmaceutical industry, developing alliances with trade agencies to tap into a pipeline of international innovation and finding unique opportunities with strategic partners to elevate Northwell Health.  One of these unique opportunities is the ‘Nurse Heroes’ foundation which was conceived of by Elaine and motivated philanthropists and celebrities to raise awareness and funds for nursing initiatives.  Céline Dion, Black Eyed Peas, Oprah Winfrey and many others are joining forces for the first in a series of global ‘Nurse Heroes Live!’ concerts to be broadcast worldwide on Thanksgiving, Thursday November 26, 2020 (live.nurseheroes.org)

What was your first job?

One of my first jobs was working in the flight kitchen in Shannon airport.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Personally, it is my son Cian – he’s 17 now and I’m so proud of him.  Professionally, I’m fortunate to have had a varied and very fulfilling career starting out in research and development, then sales and marketing on blockbuster products with large pharma, U.S. market entry and growth strategy with small to mid-size companies to several leadership roles.  Having always been on the business side of healthcare I’m most proud of my current work with Nurse Heroes, a global initiative to raise awareness and funds for nurses.  I couldn’t have imagined when we first conceived this idea how impactful it would be nationally and internationally– an international art contest, global concert series, jewelry – and it’s just taking off!  At the end of the day when we think of legacy, we want to know we have made a meaningful contribution and impact and I believe Nurse Heroes will be that for me! I’m grateful to work at Northwell Health, under the leadership of Michael Dowling, where I am supported to innovate and deliver impact for the health system, our patients and the broader healthcare community.  

In three words or less, how do you define success?

Never giving up.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Build your own personal advisory board with leaders with diverse experiences that will give you objective feedback and guidance.  

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

Stay positive but realistic.  Give team members stretch goals and opportunities to achieve them. Share in the successes as a team. 

How do you relax?

I play tennis a few times a week.  Connecting with family and friends.  And I have to say since COVID I’ve been playing a lot more scrabble! 

What’s your motto?

Treat everyone how you want to be treated. 

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

That we will continue to see the collaboration and unity demonstrated during COVID and that we can continue to bring more innovation to transform the business and delivery of healthcare.