LIVINGSTON, NJ — As Livingston resident Lori Ryan moved up the ranks at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, she made a point to support other professional women, taking on leadership roles in organizations that help advance women in business. 

In her ongoing commitment to serve her community, Ryan recently joined the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges’ board of directors.

“I’ve always had a ‘second job’, working with nonprofits,” said Ryan, director of Patient Advocacy and Strategic Alliances at Novartis in East Hanover. 

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Ryan was a co-founding director of the Liberty Science Center’s Women in Leadership executive group in 2012 to help young women develop leadership skills. Before that, Ryan served 12 years on the board of directors for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, a global nonprofit.

Keeping children safe and promoting the wellness of seniors are areas close to her heart, she said.

“I have a passion for improving lives of disadvantaged children," said Ryan. "Child care is so important, and the YMCA provides a trusted place for parents to leave their children."

She also added that the YMCA is “a comfortable place for the elderly, where they can enjoy company and activity."

Metro YMCA President and CEO Richard K. Gorab said Ryan is a welcome addition to the board.

“Lori has a wealth of experience working with nonprofits, and we’re grateful that she is willing to share her expertise with us,” he said.

During Ryan's high school years in Rhode Island, the YMCA was a big part of her social life. She attended the University of Rhode Island, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

She hoped to become a school psychologist, but the jobs were few and far between. When she moved to New Jersey, Ryan landed a job as a junior accountant with the New Jersey Society of CPAs. 

“I was always good at math,” said Ryan, who went on to earn her MBA in finance from Rutgers University. 

At Novartis, Ryan worked her way up to become head of finance for the company’s U.S. sales force, managing a $2 billion budget.

In 2009, she made the transition to patient advocacy, drawing on her extensive volunteer experience with nonprofits. Ryan works with more than 30 groups that advocate for people with particular illnesses and conditions, arranging grants for patient education, community outreach, access to medication and other needs.

An avid golfer, Ryan has been a member of the Executive Women’s Golf Association for six years. The Livingston resident has two adult daughters and a two-year-old grandson.