The Importance of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Recently, I had the chance to participate in the Pharmaceutical Executive’s virtual roundtable discussion about a topic that’s both near and dear to my heart: diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Standing alongside other leaders in the healthcare industry, I very much enjoyed the opportunity to not only speak to, but also hear about all of the different ways that our industry is transforming company culture, fostering patient diversity and acting on pharma’s ever-evolving social mandate. We are all small pieces in a larger puzzle, coming together to make a true impact on behalf of our people and our society. Together, I truly believe that we can shine a spotlight on the critical importance of DE&I within our industry, and take real steps toward building a better, more inclusive future for all.
Since our earliest days at Servier Pharmaceuticals, DE&I has been a fundamental part of who we are and what we stand for as a company. We believed then, and continue to believe now, that DE&I is an incredible asset in the pursuit of healthcare innovation. By leveraging the bright and diverse mindsets of our team, we’re more effectively able to serve patients, improve health outcomes and build breakthrough medicines for those who need them. Today, I’m tremendously proud to say that our teams have never wavered in this commitment, upholding the four values we were founded on when we first opened our doors: grow by sharing, care, dare to innovate, and commit to succeed.
As I mentioned during the discussion, for me it’s about the three Ps: pipeline, products and people. People are, in many ways, the key to everything. In fact, when compiling any team, I believe strongly that it’s important to start by hiring individuals from a variety of different backgrounds – people who represent the very patients and caregivers who we’re trying to serve in the first place. It’s with this in mind that at the outset of our operations, we made a conscious effort to start data tracking our recruitment efforts in order to ensure that we weren’t just “talking the talk” when it comes to DE&I. And our results speak for themselves: at present, Servier is extremely proud to have an incredibly diverse workforce that is less than 50% white and 60% comprised by women—with our leadership team comprised of 54% women.
To achieve a culture that reflects what our employees are most passionate about, we developed a sustainability task force comprised of self-selected team members interested not only in DE&I, but also environmental, social, and corporate governance issues. Creating a culture where our employees can see that their values and voices matter is of the utmost importance to our organization, and this task force helps make that happen.
Having a diverse workforce isn’t just a moral imperative, it’s a business one as well. Every day, our patients come to us with individualized concerns, beliefs, and views about the future – views that are undoubtedly shaped by their own lived experiences and the communities they’re accustomed to. A younger patient’s concerns about financial security, for example, may differ significantly from an older person’s concerns about the same topic. As a company, it’s critical that we’re able to build teams that reflect these intricacies in order to create service offerings that are tailored to their needs. This starts with DE&I.
Of course, in order to make a meaningful and lasting impact, I recognize that we as an industry are going to need to work together. We’re going to need to step up, speak out and make our voices heard in order to advocate for the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion both within our workspaces and across entire industries. Admittedly, change may not happen overnight. However, through empowering and enlightening conversations like the one I had at Pharmaceutical Executive’s roundtable discussion; we can begin to take an important step in the right direction.