Part of complete coverage on
Drug executive defies race and gender
September 4, 2012 -- Updated 1518 GMT (2318 HKT)
- Dr Freda Lewis-Hall is the senior physician at drug company Pfizer
- As Chief Medical Officer, she is responsible for regulating the company's medical work
- Editor of book on treatment of psychiatric disorders disproportionately affecting women
- A psychiatrist trained at Johns Hopkins and Howard University, she has three children
(CNN) -- The biggest drugmaker in the world, Pfizer's brands include Advil, Robitussin, Viagra, Xanax and Lipitor.
Pfizer's most senior physician is Chief Medical Officer Dr Freda Lewis-Hall, a psychiatrist who describes her job as "a pinnacle role:" One that combines "the broadest potential impact" with "the deepest possible satisfaction."
Lewis-Hall grew up living with an uncle whose legs were ruined by polio. His carers, and his approach to life, inspired her to pursue a career as a physician.
Discouragement and dissuasion (are) just opportunities to sharpen your skills and deepen your commitment
Dr Freda Lewis-Hall, Pfizer Chief Medical Officer
A guidance counselor advised her to marry a naval officer instead, but Lewis-Hall says her family believed "that discouragement and dissuasion were just opportunities to sharpen your skills and deepen your commitment and prove that you could do anything."
Although the pharmaceutical industry is characterized by fierce competition, lengthy and expensive research and decreasing profits, Lewis-Hall says she finds her work exciting. "There's an unprecedented age wave worldwide. This puts us -- as humanity -- right in the way of many illnesses that are currently unaddressed."
"Over the next two decades, biomedical research will probably see advancement that tops what we saw in the last two millennia," she says, "and I hope I can be a part of that."
Part of complete coverage on
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
CNN hosted a Tweetchat on gender equality with special guests including Nobel Peace prize laureate Tawakkol Karman. Here's what you missed.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1059 GMT (1859 HKT)
From shaving her head for climate change to opting for a sustainable business model, Vivienne Westwood is simply unstoppable.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
The Facebook COO's latest headline-making action is a new "Ban Bossy" campaign, which aims at getting rid of the word "bossy."
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1514 GMT (2314 HKT)
In a rut at work? Maybe it's time for a change. Moving abroad might seem daunting, but it could be the best thing you do for your career.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
To celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, CNN asked you how we can come together to build a more equal world for all.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
Women are key figures in tackling climate change and developing new solutions, writes Christiana Figueres.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 0546 GMT (1346 HKT)
What kind of politician is slashed in the face with a knife, and upon waking up in hospital the first thing they ask about is the election campaign?
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
Former U.S. State Deparment Anne-Marie Slaughter says Brad Pitt is 'posterchild for engaged fatherhood'.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1525 GMT (2325 HKT)
Cast your eye across a line-up of world leaders and it might look a little something like this: Man in dark suit, man in dark suit, man in dark suit, Angela Merkel in fire engine red two-piece.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Meet Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the chairperson of French commodities giant Louis Dreyfus Holdings, with a net worth estimated at an eye-watering $6 billion.
February 17, 2014 -- Updated 1138 GMT (1938 HKT)
YouTube has a new boss and she has a "healthy disregard for the impossible" -- according to Google CEO Larry Page. Here are five things you didn't know about her.
February 5, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Goldman Sachs' vice president Edith Cooper reveals her journey to the top of the company and how they find new talent.
January 28, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
Glimpse behind the curtain and find out more about the female movers and shakers of Tinseltown.
Today's five most popular stories