Nicole Dinello (center) leads the Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women.

A full-time commitment: Championing gender diversity at Bristol Myers Squibb

September 24, 2019     

Last year, Nicole Dinello faced an important career decision. After working for almost two decades in the Commercial organization at Bristol Myers Squibb, in roles of increasing responsibility and along a clear career path, she faced a fork in the road.

Dinello was approached with the opportunity to lead the Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women (B-NOW), a role that she describes as a “non-traditional choice” for her. She saw the unique opportunity and seized it.

Looking back now she says the choice broadened her mindset in ways she never could have expected. Here, Dinello discusses the importance of gender diversity, the ways that Bristol Myers Squibb supports women and the advice she gives to up-and-coming professionals.

Why does B-NOW matter to Bristol Myers Squibb?

For all of us at Bristol Myers Squibb, what matters most is winning for patients. We need diversity in order to do that. Bringing together different perspectives, experiences and ideas helps speed innovation, with the goal of delivering transformative medicines to patients.

I believe – and research shows – that we do our best work when we have diverse teams in place. According to a 2018 McKinsey & Company report, organizations with female leaders are 21 percent more likely to outperform their industry competitors.

B-NOW is all about driving business performance by embracing gender diversity. We want to ensure that all of our female employees have the same opportunities as their male counterparts to be developed, advanced, retained and recruited.

What differentiates the company’s support of women?

Bristol Myers Squibb is the first company within the pharmaceutical industry to have a full-time person dedicated to supporting women. My job title was lead for the Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women, which means that 100 percent of my time was focused on B-NOW. That fact alone speaks to how much of an emphasis we put on developing women.

Another example is the company’s expanded U.S. paid family leave policy, which doubled maternity leave and added eight weeks of paternity leave for U.S. employees as of January 2018. Along with flexible work arrangements, these benefits help to create an environment where working moms and dads can thrive.

Why is Bristol Myers Squibb sponsoring the Pennsylvania Conference for Women for the sixth year in a row?

We keep coming back to the Pennsylvania Conference for Women for two reasons. First, we find that participating in the conference is a great development opportunity for our employees, from listening to compelling speakers to networking with senior leaders. Second, we are always looking to attract the best and brightest women to join our organization, and the conference allows us to open a dialogue with key talent.

Last year, we expanded our sponsorship to both the Massachusetts and Silicon Valley Conferences for Women in support of our employees in Devens and Cambridge, Mass., and Redwood City, Calif.

What advice do you have for other professional women?

Be clear about what you want. Be just as clear about what you don’t want. There are many moments in women’s careers when they can go left or they can go right. Leverage your mentors and sponsors to help you figure out the best way to turn to achieve your long-term goals.

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