Q&A with Stephanie Gallagher, Senior Technical Advisor, Private Sector – Healthcare Practice, Palladium

We spoke with Stephanie Gallagher, Senior Technical Advisor, Private Sector – Healthcare Practice, Palladium, and one of the members of our 2021 U.S. Leadership Journey. Read our Q&A to learn about what has surprised her about the Journey and who is inspiring her.

Why did you choose to apply for the WomenLift Leadership Journey? 

I was searching for how to grow personally and professionally and take my contributions to global public health to the next level.  When I came across the WomenLift Health program I knew I had found a fantastic opportunity to do just that and was so grateful to be accepted into the program.

What has been a highlight of your Journey experience so far? 

Opening my mind again to seeing the world and our work in new ways.  It is easy to develop ‘group think’ when working in one channel of global public health.  For me, this was as an implementing partner.  Connecting with women in clinical delivery, academia, the private sector and in multilateral institutions has brought so many fresh perspectives.

What is your Leadership Journey Project and why did you choose it?

My leadership project is about examining unintended and unconscious biases in the pathways for advancement and promotion for LMIC staff into regional and global positions and ensuring those biases are addressed with more responsive systems, processes, and tools.  I hypothesize that there is room for improvement in creating more equitable and transparent merit-based promotion cultures within implementing partner organizations.

What has surprised you about the WomenLift Health Leadership Journey experience?

The genuine and authentic focus on DE&I and intersectionality in leadership.  Some of the conversations and experiences shared are messy, raw and real.  They can be uncomfortable and yet there is a real comradery within the group that goes beyond professional connection.  One former WLH cohort member described it as finding her tribe and I couldn’t agree more.

How can we ensure that we are centering women and girls in health?

By continuing to demand equality and advocating for professional pathways that are responsive to how women perform and want to advance in the workplace.  I sense coming fatigue with women’s demands for equality on the heels of ‘Me too’ and other very challenging and uncomfortable conversations.  But we cannot back down.

Who inspires you? 

All women across the globe who use their voice and their behaviors to be heard, even when attempts to silence our voices are overwhelming. Women have such an important and unique perspective and we owe it to the world to continuously offer and share it.