Who's Who of Professional Women


Peggy Dougherty Marcus

Peggy Dougherty Marcus co-founded the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA), which has a track record of nearly 50 years of empowering women and promoting gender equity in the health care ecosystem. Founded in 1977, the organization later became a nonprofit, created an annual conference, expanded its reach through new chapters, and established both the Gender Parity Collaborative and the HOPE program to accelerate further change in the space for women and underrepresented groups. Amid a myriad of accomplishments and extensive experience in the health care industry, Ms. Dougherty Marcus considers her role in the establishment of the HBA to be her greatest professional achievement. Today, the organization has more than 160,000 members in 85-plus countries. In her position, she co-chairs galas for hospitals and medical centers, and more.

Influenced by the aspirational example set by her parents, Ms. Dougherty Marcus embarked on her career in the health care industry on her 23rd birthday. Facing many challenges as a woman in a male-dominated field, she attributes her success to the support of her husband, Bob, who remained by her side throughout her professional journey, as well as to her brother Jim and her father. In 1973, Ms. Dougherty Marcus became an account executive at Dean L. Burdick Associates, after which she thrived as the vice president of executive sales, media direction and new business development for Lavey/Wolff/Swift. Garnering further experience as the vice president of marketing and sales with HealthCare Expo ’85, she became the director of new business meetings and conferences for CDI Travel Inc. in 1986. Later, she served as the founder and chief executive officer of Custom Made Meetings Inc. from 1995 to 2004, before which she was the director of new business meetings and conferences for the International Travel Bureau Inc. for five years.

Ms. Dougherty Marcus is proud of achieving success in her field despite the obstacles she faced. After her mother, a civil rights attorney, passed away, she was forced to abandon her college education at the City College of New York to care for her siblings. Committed to her professional growth and development, she later became a certified meeting professional through Meeting Professionals International in 1991. She is grateful to have maintained her devotion to volunteerism and to women’s empowerment across her decades of vital and passionate work in the field.

Keeping up with and contributing to developments in the health care ecosystem, Ms. Dougherty Marcus has been a member of numerous professional organizations, including her own HBA, where she remains active as a historian and founder emeritus. From 1991 to 2004, she was the membership chairperson for the New York chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association, and from 1997 to 2004, she was a committee chairperson for the greater New York City chapter of Meeting Professionals International. Ms. Dougherty Marcus was the president of the board of directors for the HBA from 1979 to 1982 and served as committee chairperson for the 41-74 Club of New York from 1985 to 1995.

For her professional excellence, Ms. Dougherty Marcus has been recognized with numerous awards throughout her esteemed career. In 2008, she received a U.S. Congressional Recognition from Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, and in 2007, she earned a Honolulu City and Council Special Recognition. Mayor Mufi Hannemann of Honolulu, Hawaii, also awarded her a Certificate of Appreciation in 2005. Additionally, Ms. Dougherty Marcus received certificates of appreciation from the Barrington Stage Company, the Professional Convention Management Association, and Variety, the Children’s Charity. She has been honored further, listed in Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives.

Now a member of the board for the Welcome Club of Sarasota-Manatee, Ms. Dougherty Marcus has taken on the responsibility of overseeing the event venue and securing a speaker. Alongside this position, she also works with Sarasota Rising and is a full-time caregiver to her husband. In the future, Ms. Dougherty Marcus has set her sights on staying healthy and serving as a beacon of guidance and inspiration to women in her field. She also hopes to continue serving as a role model for her loved ones.


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