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Spotlight on Mentoring: Q-and-A with AmerisourceBergen’s Peyton Howell

November 3, 2015

HDMA is taking a look back on the inaugural year of its Mentoring Program by speaking to participants about their experiences in the initiative — and the role mentorship has played in their careers. HDMA recently spoke with program participant Peyton Howell of AmerisourceBergen Corporation, who served as a mentor this year.

Howell is AmerisourceBergen’s President and EVP of Global Sourcing & Manufacturer Relations, and Managing Director of Global Manufacturer Services GmbH. She leads manufacturer strategy and sourcing including brand, generic, specialty and consumer product purchasing of nearly $100 billion. Prior to this role, Howell was President of Consulting Services for AmerisourceBergen and in 1991 was a founder of The Lash Group — the largest service provider of patient programs for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

What are your thoughts on mentoring in general? Why do you think it is important? How has it helped you in your career?

“I have had the fortune to be a mentee and a mentor in my career. I think both formal and informal mentoring programs really provide an opportunity to help motivate and inspire you. It has definitely helped my career to have mentors that have been willing to share really vulnerable information [such as] how they have juggled family, career advancement and travel; and how they have juggled difficult work situations. It [illustrates] how you can modify and react to situations differently. I know for me, I often hear my mentors in my head, guiding me — and pushing me — along the way.”

“The mentoring relationship goes both ways. Beyond helping to shape the next generation, it helps us as veterans serving as mentors to connect with some of the issues or challenges that this next generation of leaders are experiencing, so we can help make adjustments in our organizations to support them. What was perfectly acceptable when I started my career 25 years ago is different today. By participating in mentoring programs, I think I have gained better sensitivity by speaking with people who are at different phases of their career — and they have learned from my experiences as well.”

How did you become engaged in HDMA’s mentoring program? What was your experience in participating?

“HDMA’s Mentoring Program, where I have had the privilege of being a mentor, has really been a great way to learn more about our industry. As a leader on the distribution side, being paired up with someone from the manufacturers’ side has had business benefits. Our companies are closer because of our relationship, and it allowed us to gain more understanding of the strategic needs of our [respective] companies. HDMA’s program is unique because of the ability to have a cross-company, cross-industry engagement.”

“The best thing about doing it through HDMA is that we have used all of the HDMA meetings as opportunities to get together, so for me it just added one more valuable track onto meetings that are already important to my time. It has been a huge benefit compared to my experience with other mentoring programs.”

What is your advice to somebody who is thinking about participating in the program?

“One of the best reasons to participate in the [Mentoring Program] is that it really does help the supply chain from an industry perspective. It really helps to further the understanding of the importance of supply chain leaders to the healthcare industry as a whole. I think this is critical because we are often a misunderstood part of the entire healthcare system, and our sector is going to be a key participant, from a leadership perspective. We are going to need that next set of leaders ready to fill our shoes very quickly, and we don’t have all the talent that we need for the future.”

Whether you are interested in shaping the next generation of supply chain leaders, or seeking career help from an industry veteran, the HDMA Mentoring Program can help you make a meaningful connection.

The next pairing match is in mid-December. To participate, complete this brief questionnaire by December 4 to assist in the matching process. The results will help partner you with an individual that shares similar goals and objectives for the program. A member of the HDMA staff will contact you after your survey is processed.

For more information, contact Lisa Kanfer.

Special thanks go to Peyton Howell for her participation in this piece.


HDA is the national association representing primary healthcare distributors, the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers. Each business day, HDA member companies ensure that over 15 million prescription medicines and healthcare products are delivered safely and efficiently to more than 200,000 pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. HDA and its members work daily to provide value and achieve cost savings, an estimated $42 billion each year to our nation’s healthcare system.


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