The annual award, sponsored by the Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women (B-NOW), recognizes the behaviors of developing women and developing talent overall at BMS, and was recently announced at the B-NOW June 3 employee town hall. B-NOW is one of the BMS People and Business Resource Groups (PRBGs).
Brendan, who has been with BMS for eight years, says, “To be the best, and have the most talented workforce, we need to show that BMS values our female talent and that it is a great place for women to work, to lead rewarding careers and to reach their full potential.”
B-NOW ensures that women at BMS have equal opportunities to be recruited, developed, advanced and retained globally within a culture that prioritizes this mission.
We recently caught up with Brendan for his thoughts on the importance of developing women and developing talent overall at BMS.
Q. Why is diversity so important?
Brendan: Diversity is fundamental to the BMS mission. We need to harness the insights, experience and expertise of the best minds in the business, working in entirely different ways in order to win where so many have failed before. Bringing people from different cultures, backgrounds and experiences together in a culture of collaboration and innovation is critical to our success.
Q: Why is the development of female talent important for BMS in particular?
Brendan: BMS’s female talent is a source of insight, expertise and capability. In an environment where there’s a global competition for talent, and in which we face increasingly complex challenges, we need to get the very best from our entire workforce. This may well be the ultimate source of competitive advantage for leading companies in the future. We also need diversity of thought, experience and approach to overcome the obstacles we face as we bring life-changing medicines to patients with unmet needs.
Q: What role do men play in the development of women at BMS?
Brendan: Over the past year, several of us in the MS&T organization took advantage of training on becoming sponsors for female talent. This was one of the most impactful training events many of us had experienced. It opened our eyes to the many inequities than can exist in the workplace. Even well-written job descriptions or recruitment scripts contain hidden code that can make women feel they would not fit the role. Gender diversity in interview panels can have a powerful effect on our success in finding the right woman candidate. Our culture at work matters: how we ask questions, how we seek input and how we run meetings, especially now in the virtual world where cues are not always visible. Men in the workplace can make a big difference by their behavior and what they pay attention to.
Q: What have you done/are you doing to promote female talent at BMS?
Brendan: After my team experienced some of the training and awareness sessions, there was a real energy to make a difference. We made gender diversity part of our agenda. We spoke to colleagues at each of our sites and listened to them. A subgroup of the LT developed a plan and we started to change the way we worked. I made sure people knew that I thought this was important. I continued my mentoring and sponsorship of several female leaders inside and outside MS&T and helped them to see and pursue opportunities to fulfill their career goals.
Q: How do you feel about receiving the BMS Gender Partnership Award?
Brendan: The Gender Partnership Award speaks to the way we work and to our values. Most importantly, it’s an award that is based on nominations from our own teams who saw something special in what we were doing that they wanted to recognize. It sends a signal that we are making a difference – our teams will become more diverse and we’ll create the best environment for all of our colleagues to thrive.