Make way for diverse pharma leaders
Expect a huge emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and belonging in pharma, says Brunel’s Angelina Brathwaite (1,090 words, 5 minutes)
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Pharma can be seen as a male-dominated industry, but change is coming, says Angelina Brathwaite, senior client partner and diversity, inclusion, and belonging leader at Brunel Canada’s life science practice in Toronto. Brunel is an international global staffing and recruitment agency based in the Netherlands.
Speaking on episode eight in Season Eight of the NPC Podcast, Brathwaite (photo below) said, “One of the biggest challenges I see when I speak with females in the pharma industry is their confidence.” She acknowledges that she too has worked to develop her confidence. Kickboxing training helped, she said.
“It's not just enough [for a woman] to be in a position or to sit at the table,” she said. “You must also speak confidently, regardless of the odds. Women, I feel, fear being ostracized or rejected. However, respect comes when one’s voice is heard.”
She is involved in the organization Women Leaders in Pharma, which she described as a group that empowers, connects, and inspires future leaders to find their voice to help shape policy and a company’s workforce perspective.
“The whole premise around Women Leaders in Pharma is that we believe women are powerful and can be a catalyst for change,” she said. “It’s really to ensure that we’re getting a seat [in the boardroom] and that we're helping each other elevate our game.”
In 2020 during the pandemic, for example, Brathwaite told Brunel management that the company was silent on some issues. “I said, ‘if you're silent, you're speaking volumes.’ As a result, [Brunel] now has a global diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategy. It's important as women that we speak up (. . .) and build alliances with decision-makers.”
Brathwaite also belongs to the organization Advancing Black Talent in Pharma. “I went to a leaders forum, and there were some women of colour that I'd never [met] because we are a small demographic [in pharma].
“We decided that we wanted to empower people who look like us and who have shared the same history and the same experiences.”
The non-profit group includes both women and men who work in diverse positions in pharma such as legal, franchise heads, and reimbursement. They have also aligned with some student bodies at McGill and other universities.
And what are her predictions about the life sciences industry during the next 12 to 24 months?
“From a talent perspective, I think companies will have a mixed bag of remote, onsite, and hybrid work, so that's going to continue. I believe a different generation is coming into leadership and a new generation will start working. There's going to be a significant change.
“The new generation is focused on social and corporate responsibilities, and that's a good thing. Companies are going to focus more on skill sets than on education.
“And I think there's going to be a huge emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and belonging.”
THIS WEEK 12/05/22
Takeda Canada announced that Canada’s Drug and Health Technology Agency Canadian Drug Expert Committee recommended Livtencity (maribavir) for public reimbursement. The recommendation is for the treatment of adult patients with post-transplant cytomegalovirus.
The U.S. FDA has approved Rebyota (fecal microbiota, live-jslm), a microbiota-based live biotherapeutic for the prevention of Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) adult patients, after antibiotic treatment for recurrent CDI.
AbbVie’s Rinvoq is now listed as a special authorization medication or exception medication status for the treatment of adults with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis in Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
Roche Canada has signed agreements with the Government of Canada to provide 15,000 treatment courses of Actemra IV (tocilizumab for injection) for the treatment of Covid-19 in adult hospitalized patients..
In season eight of the NPC Podcast, Angelina Brathwaite, Senior Client Partner, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Leader for the Americas at Brunel, talks about women's leadership in the pharma industry, community advocacy, and the true takeaways of formal education. 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 inspire 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.
This is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame, and for the next few issues, we will be revisiting the inaugural class of inductees.
Editor’s note: Percy Skuy died in 2021.
On his way to the arctic circle to work as a waiter, Percy Sky stopped in Toronto and never looked back. “I said to myself I will never come this way again so why don’t I see Toronto for a few days?” recalls Skuy, who was then a young pharmacy grad touring the world. “Just for the fun of it,” the native South African decided to call on a few pharmaceutical companies and landed a job as a medical sales rep for the fledgling drug company, Glaxo. “My territory was a third of Ontario and I had a wonderful time. I went from Toronto to Kapuskasing and the job paid $300 a month plus a car,” he says.
Skuy liked Toronto so much, he decided to make it his home. In an effort to secure his future, he obtained his pharmacy degree which would allow him, if necessary, to practice in Ontario. He subsequently became the first South African pharmacist to be registered in the province, one of many “firsts” that he would achieve in the course of his career.
But Skuy put his pharmacy career on hold when approached by Ortho to join their sales force in 1961. It became a 34-year love affair with a company that eventually named him CEO in 1973 and then president of Ortho Pharmaceutical (Canada) Ltd. and subsequently Ortho-McNeil Inc., for a period of 22 years.
But Skuy may be better known as the tireless innovator who brought two unique aspects to the pharmaceutical industry: the Pharmaceutical Marketing Club of Ontario (PMCO) in 1966 and the one-of-a-kind History of Contraception Museum. The museum evolved “by accident” when Skuy decided to unearth some contraceptive artifacts for a pharmacy meeting on modern contraception and has grown from half a dozen items to over 650 since 1966. Skuy, who still tours with the collection and who’s been featured on both television and radio, notes that it hasn’t been easy rescuing these items from obscurity. “If we didn’t have these items saved, they’d all have ended up in a garbage bag somewhere,” he observes.
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