In a 1987 interview about her time with Roche, Anny remarked: "They say that where there’s a will, there’s a way – and where the practicalities of the wartime economy were concerned, there certainly was. In Roche operations and purchasing, the word ‘impossible’ was not part of our vocabulary."

It is Anny Schwarz’s determination and drive to make the impossible possible that continues to inspire the next generation of women at Roche.

Like many people in the wake of World War I, Anny Schwarz’s family was in dire financial trouble. Anny, who was about to take her doctoral examination in economics, realised she needed to find a job. A good friend of her father’s, Dr R. Boehringer, worked at Roche in Basel. He put in a good word for the young woman with CEO Emil C. Barell, and she was hired on as a secretary.

For the next 35 years, Anny overcame all the obstacles the turbulent 20th century put in her path. She had many roles along the way, eventually achieving the position of Deputy Director of the Purchasing Department, an incredible feat for a woman at that time.

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