Develop and invest in yourself.
Blair Hanewall is a Senior Program Officer in the Global Health Policy and Finance team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She develops and manages grants that explore and drive innovative policy and finance solutions to achieve sustainable improvements in increasing access to global health technologies. Hanewall leads in developing the global health policy research portfolio, and provides policy and finance guidance and analysis to the foundation global health divisions.
Prior to the foundation, Hanewall worked on the business development team of a microbicide biotech firm. She also managed health programs with CARE International in Ecuador, and assisted a USAID project, Juhudi Women's Association, to initiate a medical dispensary in a rural ward in Tanzania.
A self-motivated achiever, Hanewall owns her success. “There is no doubt that I was dealt a good hand in life --- supportive family, good education, opportunities. Despite these gifts, however, I am very aware that I am entitled to nothing in this world but rather I need to demonstrate my own value to be successful and I am ultimately the one in control of my own happiness.”
Hanewall earned her BA from Duke University in 1997 and Masters degrees in Business and Public Health from Johns Hopkins University School of Professional Business and Education and School of Public Health, respectively.
At Duke, her extracurricular love and commitment for four years was managing a program where students scripted and acted out plays to prompt discussions about sexual relations --- how to know where the lines are, how to communicate more effectively, the importance of self-respect and respecting others. She also played women's lacrosse and lobbied to have it accepted as a varsity sport.
On leadership, she reflects, “The people who I admire most are those who are humble but inspire. They care less about the spotlight and more about people and the goal. These are the great leaders in the world whom everyone faithfully will follow --- and they are the ones who actually get things done.”
Hanewall urges first-year women to invest in themselves. “Explore lots of different studies to expand your mind, find opportunities that will help you build your voice and self-confidence, and spend time with people to create long-lasting friendships because good friends build inner strength.”