At Amgen, DI&B is Imprinted on the Biotech Company’s DNA

by Savoy Staff

Amgen’s top Black leadership meet virtually to discuss current business topics and recent social developments in society
Pictured top row L to R: Janet Franklin, Vice President, Global Development and Executive Lead for R&D, Diversity,
Inclusion & Belonging; Cathy Critchlow, Vice President R&D Data Strategy; Tamika Jean-Baptiste, Chief Diversity Officer
Pictured bottom row L to R: Ponda Motsepe-Ditshego MD, Vice President, Global Medical Therapeutic Area Head, General
Medicine; Mike Edmondson, Vice President, Global Field Excellence and Commercial Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging and Tanesha Duncan, Vice President, Global Total Rewards

You would be hard pressed finding any company in America that doesn’t at least outwardly embrace diversity, equity and inclusion in response to the events of the past two years. The Black Lives Matter movement triggered a rising tide of support for social justice. The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on families in Black, Hispanic and other marginalized communities raised serious questions on inequities in schools, employment opportunities and access to healthcare.

Amgen, one of the world’s leading biotech companies, demonstrates what can be achieved when a company aims to make diversity, inclusion and belonging a part of its corporate DNA.

“The patients we serve are a microcosm of our broader global society, and we need to reflect those populations if we are to address their needs and the challenges they face. Real innovations come from embracing the qualities that make us all unique, listening to individuals with dissimilar life experiences and using what we learn to make business decisions,” said Tamika Jean-Baptiste, Amgen’s Chief Diversity Officer. “We have always looked for ways to be a leader in innovation and a leader in medicines that we deliver to patients. We are no less dedicated to diversity and inclusion.”

The roots of that commitment go back to 2001, when the first Employee Resource Group (ERG) formed at Amgen, bringing together Black employees at the company’s headquarters in Thousand Oaks, California. Today, 11,000 employees, with executive sponsorship, participate in 11 ERGs and 60 chapters across the world supporting our Black, Asian, Latin and LGBTQ+ employees, as well as women, veterans and people with disabilities.

As a core value, our commitment to diversity spans our corporate culture, guides business activities, drives hiring practices
and informs philanthropic initiatives. It touches clinical trials for new drugs, an area where lack of diversity has been a decades long challenge for the pharmaceutical industry. In response to the murder of George Floyd and increase of violence against Blacks as well as Asian Americans, the Amgen Foundation partnered with the ERGs to deepen its commitment to racial justice and equal opportunity, with a particular focus on U.S. communities where Amgen has a presence.

Diversity in the workplace continues to improve. Women hold 49% of management level positions and 44% of executive director and above positions at Amgen. Meanwhile, minorities hold 44% of management level positions and 32% of executive director and above positions at Amgen. (Note: this data reflects 2021)

Amgen renewed its approach and commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging at the end of 2019 to leverage its diversity and create a more inclusive workplace. Known as DI&B, the initiative has the support of senior management, beginning with Amgen CEO Bob Bradway, who chairs the company’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Executive Council.

Amgen belongs to OneTen, a coalition of companies committed to hiring and advancing one million Black individuals (who do not have a four-year degree) into family-sustaining careers over the next decade. The company invests and partners with organizations supporting professional women and provides science education and fellowships to students of color at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In addition, through the Amgen Foundation nearly 100 nonprofit organizations have been supported with millions in funding to advance social justice and equal opportunity. Six years ago, Amgen began work to address diversity and representation in the company’s clinical trials. The work, driven by Amgen’s Black Employee Network, and formalized in October 2020 resulted in a dedicated team called RISE (Representation In Clinical ReSEarch), led by Ponda Motsepe-Ditshego MD, Vice President, Global Medical Therapeutic Area Head, General Medicine and Global Chair of the Amgen Black Employee Network. The RISE team partners with clinical trial investigators who represent a diverse group of participants and collaborates with community organizations to improve communication and build trust within the next five years in the USA and eventually across the globe.

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