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Human Health, Sustainability

Celebrating International Women’s Day

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Reflection on the lessons I have learned from women leaders and colleagues.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I felt it important to reflect on the lessons I have learned from women leaders and colleagues throughout my career in the biopharma/biotech industry.

First, diversity strengthens teams. There is growing evidence and recognition that a diverse team offers different perspectives, solves problems more effectively, and leads to higher performance levels. Gender balance is one of the leading indicators of diversity in leadership teams. Securing and cultivating talents is one of the most critical priorities for any CEO and executive team, particularly in a hyper-competitive biotech innovation field. Establishing and maintaining a gender balanced executive team is a strategic lever in attracting, developing, and retaining diverse talents – a business essential that ensures continued successes.

Second, gender equality in the workplace will take all of us – including men. Our executive teams need to recognize diverse leadership as both a social and business imperative, and thus align our actions with measurable goals. We must anticipate, prepare, and develop women candidates (internal and external) for executive positions, as well as develop all leaders to have skills in fostering gender equality and balance as part of their essential management skills just as we recognize and develop essential skills with advancing technologies, sustainability, and globalization. We must choose to challenge our (conscious or unconscious) assumptions and biases, stand in solidarity against inequality, and strive towards diversity and equality.

Third, the path to change starts with individual commitments. I am all in; to change and shape policies, processes, and practices to achieve a diverse, gender-balanced leadership team that reflects our society and embodies our values; to listen to and learn from my fellow leaders and colleagues; to collaborate with them in developing the next generation of women leaders; and to celebrate their accomplishments. To that end, I hope you will watch the short videos of the array of talented women scientists throughout our Flagship ecosystem, and join them – and join me – in proclaiming all that women in science can accomplish…and then helping make it happen.

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Ji Zhang

Ji Zhang is senior partner and senior vice president, Enterprise R&D and Operations at Flagship Pioneering. In this role, Ji is responsible for Flagship Labs operations, and works in collaboration with Flagship’s origination teams to drive…

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