She credits her education at Carlow University with grounding her in the values that she has carried throughout her professional life.
Sandra Bihary-Waltz, one of the 2018 Carlow Laureates, is a consultant and leader in pharmaceutical industry regulatory affairs and business management, with a focus on new drug development and regulatory strategy.
“The professors and Sisters of Mercy provided an environment in which we were able to learn in multi-dimensions,” Bihary-Waltz says. “The values which I’ve held on to and taken with me into my professional life are honesty, humility, and compassion.”
As a nurse for a number of years before entering the pharmaceutical industry, she feels that those values need to be embedded in both one’s personal and professional lives.
“Honesty is a critical component in a regulated environment,” she says. “We’re getting drugs approved to help people live better lives. It would be unconscionable to not be honest in ensuring the products brought to market are assessed, not only with scientific rigor, but also with an honest benefit/risk assessment.
“Humility and compassion go hand-in-hand, as the work I do hopefully provides a better life to individuals, and God has blessed me with the ability to make an impact. How humbling is that?”
A native of Penn Hills, she has lived in Delaware since 1981. She has held national and global leadership positions with AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Otsuka, a Japanese keiretsu with a global business in pharma, and was vice president of Global Regulatory Affairs at Idis Pharma (now Clinigen). After Idis, she joined Conceptual Mindworks, Inc., as a contract consultant to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and to the Department of Defense (DoD). Currently she is a senior leader at PRA Health Sciences in Regulatory Affairs, and continues to do part-time consulting to the DoD.
Bihary-Waltz credits Sister Rita Flaherty and Sister Mary Ann Getty as having a particular impact on her education at Carlow. She credits them both with having wonderful senses of humor, in addition to being excellent professors and compassionate human beings.
“Sister Rita always exhibited such grace and patience in teaching very active and inquisitive young women,” she recalls. Sister Mary Ann taught a class called “Christians and Tyranny,” which demonstrated the effect that tyrants can have on Christians and morality.
“It was a very powerful class to me and the fact that a young nun was teaching it was a powerful message to me that women do not have to take a traditional approach to anything and can use their intelligence and God-given talents to make a difference.”
“Take advantage of every opportunity put in front of you and learn from those who are trying to teach you,” she advises current students. “Try to absorb not only what they are teaching, but what you can learn from them personally. It was Carlow that taught me to think independently, to speak my mind, and to be compassionate to others.”