August 24, 2022

Lift As You Climb: Leading with Purpose, Passion and Pivotability

Episode 4

Lou Kennedy stands apart from her peers within the medical manufacturing industry. Since 2007, Kennedy has operated as CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals. With Kennedy at the helm, the company has grown tremendously and found a new home in South Carolina, where she has roots and attended college. On top of that, Nephron manufactures its medical products within South Carolina, a rarity at a time when so many items are produced overseas. Outside of the C-suite, Kennedy generously gives back to and invests in her local community. And it’s for these reasons she’s the kind of trailblazing leader we are proud to spotlight. 

With Lou Kennedy at the center, this episode of Beyond the Mold is packed with inspiring management insights, female empowerment, and future-thinking leadership ideas. We sit down with Lou to discuss her approach to leadership and the unique achievements that have made her a pioneer both in and out of the medical industry. We’ll also get her thoughts on the value of giving back to the next generation of leaders and her insights into what comes next. Join us and venture Beyond the Mold with industry powerhouse Lou Kennedy.

Lift As You Climb: Leading with Purpose, Passion and Pivotability

35 min

Tracy Broad is Husky’s Global Marketing Manager and host of the Beyond the Mold podcast.

Podcast Guest:


CEO, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Lou Kennedy is the CEO and Owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation. She has held a variety of marketing and operational roles at Nephron and created the Nephron national sales force.

Under Kennedy’s leadership, Nephron has experienced unprecedented growth. The company employs nearly 2,000 people and produces one billion doses of life-saving medication


A West Columbia, S.C.-based company, Nephron develops and produces safe, affordable generic inhalation solutions and suspension products. The company also operates an industry-leading 503B Outsourcing Facility division which produces pre-filled sterile syringes, luer-lock vials, IV bottles and IV bags for hospitals across America. Nephron launched a CLIA- certified diagnostics lab in 2020 where it tests people for COVID-19 and administers vaccinations. In July of 2021, Nephron announced the opening of Nephron Nitrile, a plant that will produce American-made, medical-grade nitrile gloves.

Kennedy has been widely recognized for her achievements in business and leadership. The National Association of Manufacturers (N.A.M.) recently honored Kennedy with the Manufacturing Icon Award for promoting and growing manufacturing in America. Kennedy serves as a national co-chair of the N.A.M. Creators Wanted initiative.

As the worldwide pandemic reached South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster appointed Kennedy to #AccelerateSC – the state’s coordinated COVID-19 advisory and recovery team.

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce celebrated Kennedy as its 2020 Business Leader of the Year, and the South Carolina Biotechnology Innovation Organization (S.C. BIO) recognized her with its South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Individual Contribution the same year.

Kennedy has won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Regional Award and an Outstanding Leadership Award from the N.A.M., at the N.A.M. Institute STEP Ahead Women’s event. Nephron won an honorable mention award for Global Facility of the Year in 2017 from the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE). The award hailed Nephron's innovation and automation. Kennedy, now a member of the judge’s panel for the global facility of the year award, joined the ISPE board of directors in 2019.

In addition to serving on the ISPE board, Kennedy serves on the N.A.M. Board of Directors and is Chairman of S.C. BIO, a statewide association promoting the life sciences industry. Kennedy is a member of the Columbia Urban League board and a recipient of the Urban League’s awards for impact on education and for being a bridge-builder. She is past Chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

Kennedy received South Carolina’s highest civilian honor – the Order of the Palmetto – from Governor Nikki Haley in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding service. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations from the University of South Carolina.