Implementing DE&I Culture
Angelina Brathwaite, Senior Client Partner at Brunel highlights the importance of creating a company culture that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion (1,176 words, 5.5 minutes)
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A highlight of the 16th Annual National Pharmaceutical Congress (NPC), held in Mississauga, Ont. on Nov. 2, was the session on “Diverse Voices” regarding the importance of an inclusive approach in the pharma industry. The session was presented by Specialty Health Network by Shoppers Drug Mart. During the first six weeks of 2023, NPC Healthbiz Weekly will summarize each of the presentations by the “Diverse Voices” panel. Here is the fifth instalment.
During her presentation at the 16th Annual National Pharmaceutical Congress, Angelina Brathwaite said that adopting a diversity, equity, and inclusion culture (DE&I) can be very beneficial to a company, and not just from a wellness perspective. She says implementing a DEI culture is the right thing to do, but it also makes sense from a corporate innovation and economic perspective.
Brathwaite also said that millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) tend to be more concerned about diversity in the workplace. “The millennials are very focused on social aspects and corporate responsibilities. They're not just there to work in your environment. They really care about what's happening with the organization and they want to align their personal mission or vision with that organization.”
She talked about how Brunel went through its own journey while figuring out what DE&I meant for the company. “We had to take a pulse internally to see what our actual commitment was to diversity, inclusion, and belonging,” she said. “So, we conducted a survey with our internal staff as well as our contractors to see what they understood and how they were feeling.”
Brathwaite added that the company conducted the process with an open agenda. “We said: Are we really reflecting the culture of diversity from a linguistic perspective? Do we have recruitment strategies that align with diversity, equity, and inclusion?” She also said that measuring DE&I strategies isn’t always easy since DE&I is tough to quantify. “It's difficult at times to measure metrics, but you have to ask the right questions in order to retrieve them. And then your behaviours and your speech internally need to have a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.”
Brathwaite also mentioned how it is important for leaders to adopt a DE&I compromise. She said that her CEO and other members of the senior leadership team committed to investing in the company with additional training. “They've committed to increasing the visibility of leadership within our organization,” she said. She says she works with a very diverse team and allows for open conversations. Some of her teammates feel uncomfortable with being open, but she promotes open dialogue. “I think it's something that you really need to encourage your staff to do. And if there's any discrimination that may exist, there needs to be some accountability.”
THIS WEEK 02/07/23
Loxo@Lilly, the oncology unit of Eli Lilly and Company, announced that the U.S. FDA has approved Jaypirca (pirtobrutinib) for the treatment of relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma in adult patients.
The U.S. FDA has granted approval to the Menarini Group’s Orserdu (elacestrant) for the treatment of postmenopausal women or adult men, with ER+, HER2-, ESR1-mutated advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
AstraZeneca and Amgen’s Tezspire (tezepelumab-ekko) has been approved in the U.S. for self-administration (pre-filled, single-use pen) in patients with severe asthma who are at least 12 years old.
BeiGene Canada announced that the Government of Quebec will publicly fund Brukinsa (zanubrutinib) for the treatment of Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, a rare blood cancer, in adult patients.
Medicago Inc., the Quebec City-based drug developer that developed a Canadian Covid-19 vaccine, is shutting down after 24 years in operation. In Oct. 2020, the federal government signed an agreement to purchase up to 76 million doses, in addition to providing $173 million in funding to support the development of the vaccine and the construction of a new production facility.
In season nine of the NPC Podcast, Danielle Portnik, Regional Business Director, International at Ambry Genetics, talks about genetics and personalized medicine, building community, and moving the bar in healthcare. Hear her in conversation with podcast hosts Mitch Shannon, Jim Shea and Mark McElwain.
CANADIAN HEALTHCARE MARKETING HALL OF FAME
The Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame awards were established in 2002 to honour healthcare marketers who have contributed to our vocation and inspired others.
More than 100 honourees have been selected during the past 18 years. In the selection committee’s view, they represent a cross-section of the qualities that make our business unique and fulfilling. NPC Healthbiz Weekly will acknowledge one past Hall of Fame Honoree each week.
Arnaud Lavenue, Senior Partner at Toc Toc Communications, has always had a passion for drug discovery and how therapies are commercialized and marketed. Before starting his career, he completed a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, and a Masters of Marketing from HEC Paris, both of which provided a springboard into the pharmaceutical industry.
Lavenue, who hails from Lyon, France, got his first start in pharmaceutical marketing with a 16-month contract at Fournier Pharma in Québec as a medical representative. Following his five-year tenure there, Lavenue started a nine-year career at Pfizer where he led the marketing team for cardiovascular products, including Lipitor, in Canada and then for emerging markets. In 2014, he became Senior Partner at To Toe Communications.
At To Toc Communications, smartly designed, integrated campaigns with measurable impact are projects that Lavenue enjoys. One Toc Toc campaign that he is proud of helped raise awareness around a shingles vaccine. A cornerstone of this campaign was starting a dialogue between the public and pharmacies and engaging pharmacists to recommend and administer the vaccine.
Lavenue credits part of his success to learning, adapting, and applying on-the-job experience quickly, especially when facing complex issues. Another key to his success is surrounding himself with people who “come with questions, insights, or thoughts that can help you reflect.” He stressed that it is oftentimes the simple conversations that can provide the most insight, not necessarily the long conversations with complex questions. Some people who have contributed to Lavenue's career include Allen Van der Wee, who he met during his time at Pfizer, and who continues to advise To Toc Communications, and Guy Lallemand, who has provided Lavenue with counsel, mentorship, and a role model.
One of the key lessons Lavenue has learned in his career is, “If you dream it, you can do it. It may take time, but it can start now with a lot of hard work, energy, planning, and resilience.” Coincidentally, this lesson aligns with the motto he has referred to throughout his career: “Make mission impossible possible.”
For those looking to start a career in the pharma industry, Lavenue has three nuggets of advice.
Don't be misguided by the popular bias and negative opinions about the pharma industry. Look at the other side of the coin. You'll be amazed about the science behind pharma, and you'll work with incredible people.
If you like to solve complex issues relating to disease therapies and the healthcare system, you are in the right place.
This sector needs you because ultimately people in pharma want to save lives. Biology remains the last frontier to decode so that everyone can live longer and healthier lives.
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