iSpeak Blog

Member Spotlight – Lou Kennedy

ISPE
Member Spotlight – Lou Kennedy
Lou W. Kennedy
CEO and Owner
Nephron Pharmaceuticals

Lou Kennedy, Nephron Pharmaceuticals’ President & CEO and active ISPE Member, was recently honored with a 2020 Business Leader and Public Servant of the Year Award. We spoke with Lou to learn more about her company, the many initiatives she and Nephron are undertaking on behalf of pharma, Nephron’s community, and how women are making a difference in the industry.

Can you share some of your experiences with ISPE, and what has kept you engaged and active?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to stay connected with global industry leaders. The innovative ideas we exchange, the experiences we share, and the opportunities we have to push each other to be better are invaluable – and patients and doctors around the world are the ones who benefit the most.

You’re the President and CEO of a very successful woman-owned business. Would you share some insights on how women in business, specifically pharma, can make a difference?

Women, who account for more than half of our team, make a difference every single day at Nephron, just as they do at many companies around the world. Their influence is forever growing. What women can do to continue to make a difference is, as a friend of mine says, “lift as we climb.” Take an interest in those around you who are bright and young. Teach them how to grow personally and professionally. Your willingness to do this is what distinguishes great leaders from good ones.

Nephron Pharmaceuticals stresses the importance of giving back. What are some of your key initiatives?

Our entire team takes pride in giving back to the community that has wrapped its arms around us since we moved to South Carolina from Florida. From the Red Cross to the American Heart Association to raising awareness for breast cancer research, we support philanthropic initiatives that continue to make a difference. But we do not stop there. We also believe in stepping up when it comes to critical community issues such as economic development, infrastructure and expanding rural broadband so that we can equip future generations with the tools they need to achieve their dreams and make South Carolina an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.

You and your husband Bill helped established the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in conjunction with the USC School of Pharmacy. What inspired you to do this?

First, Bill and I are both proud University of South Carolina Gamecocks. Making the university a better place for students, and making the degrees students earn more valuable, inspire us. Second, pharmaceuticals, as an industry, is always evolving. What we wanted to do was transform pharmacy education and practice. In establishing the KPIC, we give students the opportunity to learn more about the ways they can apply their degree to the changing environment in health care. We connect the top minds in entrepreneurship, communications, health sciences, and other disciplines with leading pharmacy practice faculty. The hallmark of KPIC is innovation in practice and education.

Congratulations on being named the 2020 South Carolina Business Leader of the Year by the SC Chamber of Commerce! What was most instrumental in receiving this notable honor?

I was, no question, proud to earn this honor – and would have been proud to win it in any year. But winning it this year – after what so many have been through during this unprecedented pandemic – is extra special. This is a team honor, not just one for me. The reason our team was recognized this year was because of the pride every team member took in going the extra mile for patients and customers – and answering the call to serve. From manufacturing FDA-approved hand sanitizer to opening up our own CLIA-certified diagnostics lab for COVID-19 tests, Team Nephron has taken a leading role in responding to the needs of people across South Carolina. We would not have it any other way.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I am grateful for all of my colleagues at ISPE, and I look forward to continuing to serve with them in a new year.