Corporate Vice President
Since earning a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. in marketing from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Kimberly Lounds Foster has enjoyed a career at top pharmaceutical and biotech companies, including Merck & Co. and Novartis.
She currently is corporate vice president of global supply at Celgene Corp., a role in which she oversees the company’s global manufacturing and supply network that brings potentially life-prolonging therapies to cancer patients who had previously run out of options.
Many underestimated her resolve, which made her even more determined to succeed. Her high school counselor questioned her desire to attend Northwestern. “I doubt you’ll get in as it’s a highly selective school,” she recalls the counselor saying.
Similarly, a professor at Northwestern’s engineering school questioned her plans to apply to “highly competitive” business schools. “These are a couple of examples in my early education where individuals in positions of power to encourage did just the opposite,” Lounds Foster says. “Those experiences have served as motivators to be my best self professionally and prove the naysayers wrong.”
Her parents, she says, are responsible for her drive to attain a solid education, practice patience, have faith in God, and recognize the importance of taking time to recharge.
Her father taught her and her brothers to work with their hands, and the family subsequently built their own home — on five acres, albeit over seven years. “We all had a hand in it,” Lounds Foster remembers.
While she hopes to one day create a foundation that supports aging populations, she currently finds fulfillment mentoring students and others, helping them to unlock their potential. “We all have experiences which shape who we are,” she states. “I am privileged to have an opportunity to counsel people as they make choices in life, education, and career.”