Recognizing Employees at the Heart of D&I Work
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African Americans in Biotechnology (AAIB)
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Vision, Integrity, Development, Action (Vida)
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Empowering Communities of Oceania (ECO)
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Genentech Veterans (gVETS)
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Genentech Women Professionals (GWP)

Learn how Genentech is using employee recognition to raise visibility of model D&I work and champions.

Employees are at the heart of Genentech's Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) work. They build the programs, practices and partnerships that turn intent into reality. That's why employee recognition is vital to our D&I strategy, and why we are always creating new ways to showcase and share inspiring, model work.

In 2022, recognition came to life through awards, events and our Diversity Network Association (DNA) employee groups that connect and support employees with shared backgrounds and experiences.

Learn more about three new initiatives Genentech launched to spotlight employees.

The Changemaker Award: Recognizing Impact

In Q1 2022, Genentech debuted the Changemaker Award to celebrate employees who demonstrate inclusive behaviors that go above and beyond in championing the D&I pillars. It was designed to celebrate five Changemakers and one Changemaker of the Year.

That Changemaker of the Year was Nazeli Dertsakian, Vice President, General Manager, Pharma Technical Operations. She received the award in part due to her efforts in prioritizing allyship training for all full-time employees and contract staff at Genentech's Oceanside, CA campus.

Changemaker Award Winners:

  • Brittany Johnson, Site Transformation Lead, Vacaville, U.S. and D&I North America Lead in Pharma Technical Operations, strives for continuous improvement throughout Genentech and through involvement in numerous employee groups.
  • Jonathan Jones, Ph.D., Strategic Analytics and Intelligence in U.S. Commercial, Medical, Government Affairs (CMG), uses a D&I lens to transform the patient experience in rare diseases.
  • Juny Simpson, Head of Health Equity, Customer Engagement - Houston Ecosystem in CMG, addresses health care disparities for various communities in Houston.
  • Tanya Vidhyarkorn, Alliance and Partnership Leader in Genentech Research and Early Development, ensures that diverse perspectives inform the work of Genentech and our partners.
  • Yulia Yegorova, Clinical Operations Lead, Country Study Specialist in Product Development, leads initiatives that expand patient access to clinical studies.

The D&I Summit: Celebrating with Purpose

In May 2022, Genentech gathered for the debut of the D&I Summit, a one-day celebration event with a mix of informational, cultural and connective experiences. Summit organizer, Kimberly Barlow, BA RScP, Area Manager, NeuroImmunology/ASPSCMG, notes it was structured as a celebration of our collective efforts "because we always need to keep in mind the why behind our D&I pillars."

"When employees feel seen and respected, they are better equipped to help patients navigate debilitating, frustrating diseases."
Kimberly Barlow, BA RScP Area Manager, NeuroImmunology/ASPS, U.S. Commercial, Medical & Government Affairs, Genentech and D&I Summit organizer

The event featured guest speakers across the organization, including Roche Chairman Severin Schwan and other members of our Genentech Executive Committee (GEC). We also had an amazing guest DJ, a poet and a special Genentech's Got Talent segment of the summit, where we got to showcase the amazing talent within our organization.

Since food is a powerful connector, Summit participants shared recipes, created a cookbook and vied for a winning spot in a "Top Recipe Contest." Paul Garza, Head of Quality Control in PT, Sarah McGough, Senior Data Scientist in PD, and Gail Tennyson Hicks, Associate Regulatory Program Director in PD, shared their winning recipes for carnitas, a Cuban ropa vieja, and a blackberry cobbler, respectively.

Amplifying the Passion of Our Diverse Cultures

When employees of Armenian descent formed a new Diversity Network Association (DNA) Group that focused on Armenian culture in late 2022, it was a dream come true for the Armenian community throughout our Genentech U.S. sites. HyeGene is a community of people sharing Armenian (Hye) heritage or an interest in Armenian culture.

"Armenia is a very small nation, and there are not many of us in the company, but we're very passionate about our culture," says Changemaker of the Year awardee Nazeli Dertsakian, a proud Armenian and the executive sponsor of the group. "We wanted to share our traditions with others, give back to the community and support Genentech's mission."

Co-chaired by Regulatory Team Lead in Product Development Meleeneh DerHartunian, Ph.D. and Pharma Technical Operations Project and Portfolio Manager Flora Kazaryan, HyeGene is open to all, regardless of nationality, and has a clear vision of impacting the global community and engaging in on-the-ground community-focused giving. This takes shape through education-focused efforts, such as inviting middle school students from Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan Armenian School in San Francisco to shadow members of HyeGene at the Genentech campus.

Empowering Communities of Oceania (ECO) also launched in 2022. Oceania represents the islands that span across Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, and the members of this DNA group have a mission to promote cultural awareness and relationships that will create access to stronger education, improved healthcare and greater opportunities for underrepresented communities.

True innovation happens when people feel that they belong, so it's critical we do everything we can to create an inclusive culture.
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