Deirdre Connelly

Deirdre Connelly

Business Adminsitration, 1983

Retired President of North American Pharmaceuticals of GlaxoSmithKline

I served as president of North American pharmaceuticals for GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. Prior to joining GSK, I had spent 26 years at Eli Lilly, where I began as a sales representative and worked my way up to the president of U.S. operations.

In 2008, I was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Commission on White House Fellowships. The White House Fellowships are America's most prestigious program for leadership and public service. It was an honor to be selected by the President to serve our country and to help prepare our nation's aspiring public service leaders.

It was also an honor to be ranked 73rd on Forbes list of 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.' (In assembling the list, Forbes says it looked for women who run countries, big companies or influential nonprofits.)

It all started at Lycoming College. I entered Lycoming with a limited grasp of the English language. I'm a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and attending a small college and having access to my professors were two keys to my early success. In 1983, I earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. I worked hard academically and also became involved in campus activities, which helped develop my leadership skills that have led me to become an international news maker.