Carrie Williams, vice president and partner, McKesson Ventures, is one of our top Emerging Leaders for 2024.

While some may purely enjoy the competitive side of winning financing deals, Williams is also energised by the business development side of corporate venturing, helping founders build their companies and creating commercial partnerships between the startups, other industry players and when possible, the parent company, McKesson.

“I thrive on forming strong relationships and offering meaningful support to companies,” says Williams.

Williams has spent much of her career in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. Early in her career, she managed clinical trials for a global metastatic breast cancer programme for Wyeth (Pfizer) and went on to a similar role at Synta Pharmaceuticals. She also cut her teeth building businesses at startup Omada Health, where she led the strategy and business development team.

Williams was also part of strategy and business development at McKesson before it launched its venture fund 10 years ago. The CVC has made more than 40 investments and has 25 active portfolio companies. Williams has been part of the CVC since 2017, starting as principal and becoming vice president and partner in 2020.

Given her background in clinical trials, she is particularly excited about emerging players that make the trial process more efficient through tech-enablement and better connectivity. She sees potential in artificial intelligence and data analytics to streamline both clinical trials and the process for getting patients on the right medications. Opportunities to optimise and digitise the clinical, financial and myriad administrative handoffs required to get patients started on their medications are particularly exciting to Williams.

Her advice to people seeking to enter corporate venture is not to be deterred by not having a typical finance background. “I think there is an appreciation for having domain expertise and being able to come to the table with a unique perspective that is grounded in experience,” she says. She adds that showing up for founders, being an engaged board member, and providing help connecting with the mothership when it’s possible are invaluable parts of the job.     

See the full list of GCV Emerging Leaders for 2024 here.