Afaxys CEO Honored for Increasing Access to Affordable Sexual and Reproductive Care

Aug 01, 2021
Ronda Dean in Pharma Voice

During her 25-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, Ronda Dean has heard hundreds of stories from women, men and gender non-binary patients who relied solely on community health centers to get vital care. Without these centers—many of which struggle to serve their patients because they can’t reliably access the cost-effective products they need—millions of people across the U.S. would have nowhere else to turn for their healthcare.

As President, CEO and Co-founder of Afaxys, Dean did not wait for someone else to help solve this public health crisis. In recognition of her efforts to help millions of people access affordable sexual and reproductive care and her inspired leadership of rising entrepreneurs, she has been named to this year’s PharmaVOICE 100 Most Inspiring People.

PharmaVOICE launched the PharmaVOICE 100 Most Inspiring People in 2005 to celebrate individuals throughout the life-sciences industry who provide inspiration to their peers, colleagues and companies through their innovative and motivational approaches to addressing the industry’s most complex challenges.

One of those challenges: How to deliver a stable, affordable supply of products and services that community and public health providers need to serve more than 31 million Americans each year.

Enter Afaxys, founded 13 years ago by Dean and her business partner Susan Overly, to provide access to affordable healthcare to all who need it. Today, under Dean’s leadership, Afaxys has grown to serve more than 10,000 health center locations across the U.S. The company has also profitably launched 13 oral, two emergency contraceptives and a birth control shot, and has additionally given members access to hundreds of suppliers that offer preferential pricing through its GPO.

“I am most proud of my work to ensure affordability and greater access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for the millions of patients served by community and public health providers in the United States—giving patients more opportunities to build the kind of lives they want,” Dean said.

Keys to effective leadership

Dean’s passion for and commitment to expanding access to affordable healthcare keeps her focused on the Afaxys mission and the success of her teams. “Being able to zero in on our mission and ignore distractions is what has allowed me to grow Afaxys from a startup to a leading provider of oral and emergency contraceptives in US community health centers in just over a decade,” Dean said.

Sharing her experience and vision is key to inspiring the next generation of leaders. “Helping others to find their place of belonging, their path forward especially when they feel they don’t fit a particular mold—that always excites me,” she added.

What advice would she give to aspiring leaders?

  1. Keep your “eyes on the prize.” Focus on where you are going, and the business strategy that drives it. It is easy to get distracted by the day-to-day, so discipline is required to ensure you stay focused on what is really important.
  2. Know your lane and maximize it because you can’t be all things to all people and then find the talent to fill in the gaps. Always make sure you are not the smartest person in the room.
  3. Don’t be afraid to go where others do not. When others fail to imagine, there is an opportunity that awaits.

Dean is looking to share more of her insights—and gather new ideas and business perspectives from other executives—when the PharmaVOICE 100 Celebration convenes the most influential and inspirational life-science industry leaders in New York City in September this year.