Johnson & Johnson's Jennifer Taubert Named to Annual List of Powerhouse Leaders

Taubert, company group chairman of The Americas Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson, shares what it meant to be named to Fortune’s annual list.

By Sheila Weller

Jennifer Taubert

When Fortune‘s 2016 Most Powerful Women list was released recently, there were nine first-timers on the roster, including Jennifer Taubert, company group chairman of The Americas Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson (No. 8 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list).

In a nutshell, she’s tasked with overseeing and leading the growth of existing and new business in Canada, the United States and Latin America, and creating innovation along the way.

In honor of her inaugural year as a Fortune Most Powerful Woman, we sat down with Taubert to find out what it felt like to be recognized, what inspires her high-profile workand what she plans to accomplish from here.

Q: What was your initial reaction when you heard you were being named a Fortune Most Powerful Woman
A: Jennifer Taubert: I felt honored and humbled to be on this year’s list of most powerful women leadersmany of whom I personally respect and admire. There are so many talented female executives throughout Johnson & Johnson and beyond our corporate walls who make a significant impact every day in the work they do. For me, it’s inspiring.This is a wonderful reflection of the great work our organization does, and it energizes me to strive to make an even greater difference for patients.

Q: Did you always have your sights set on being an influential force in the healthcare world
A: I always loved science and medicine, particularly the way medicine works throughout the body. I also lost my mom to lung cancer when I was in my early 20s. My sisters were younger and still at home, and I experienced firsthand the impact it had on families.
So I always had a strong desire to work in healthcare, coupled with a passion to help people based on what I experienced in my own life. I never dreamed I would be given the opportunities I actually have been given. My dreams have grown incrementally, as I’ve gained more experience and had more opportunities to work for a number of terrific people throughout my career.

“Part of the fun of working in healthcare is the next discovery is literally around the corner. Our work is never done, and that keeps it exciting.”

Q: What are you proudest of having accomplished at Johnson & Johnson in the past year

A: I am really proud that, in the last year, we were able to help 15 million people throughout the Americas with our products because patients really are at the center of all that we do. One special product we were able to launch in the last 18 months is Darzalex, for the treatment of multiple myeloma. It received two breakthrough therapy designations from the FDA, based on the significance of the innovation, coupled with the level of unmet medical need that there is for the treatment.

We developed, got FDA approval for, and launched Darzalex in truly record time to get it to the patients who need it. It was a real source of pride for us.

Q: What drives you to do the work that you do
A: For me, it’s really about the patients we are working very hard to help. We get to learn about their journeys, and I think their bravery and how they handle themselves in the face of a heartbreaking condition is truly remarkable.

Mentoring is something that is also really important to me. I’ve provided advice and guidance to some remarkable young women through the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership. And even though I am mentoring them, I learn and get just as much out of it as they do.

Q: What do you hope to still achieve
A: Part of the fun of working in healthcare and pharmaceuticals is that the next discovery is literally just around the corner. Our work is never done, and that keeps it exciting every day.
In terms of the future, I really want to see us continue to make key partnerships throughout the healthcare system, so we can work together to better understand patient behavior and truly deliver better health outcomes.
This way, we’re not just providing a pill or an injection; we’re providing comprehensive and integrated solutions to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives.

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