Genentech’s success in pushing the boundaries of science and changing the practice of medicine depends on the ingenuity of our employees. Innovation requires diversity – of experience, ethnicity, gender, thinking styles, age and more.
Gender diversity has been and continues to be a particular focus for us. At Genentech, half of our employees are women and over the last several years, we are proud that the number of women in key leadership positions increasingly reflects the gender composition of our overall population.
This change didn’t occur without effort. There was a turning point in 2007 when former CEO Art Levinson drew attention to a shortfall of women moving into our leadership ranks. Inspired by this observation and his challenge to do better, we became deliberate about applying a multipronged, long-term gender diversity strategy that includes not only recruiting diverse talent, but also understanding and removing internal barriers to women’s advancement. We created internal communities that are now thriving and evolved our company practices to better support women in the workplace. While our journey is not complete, these efforts have led to meaningful progress. Women are in more key leadership positions in our company than ever before, including about 40 percent of our officers, and we have also seen women go on to lead influential companies, powerful nonprofits and innovative startups.
As CEO, it is important to me that we nurture a workplace environment that supports employees being themselves and contributing in their distinctive ways. We are far more likely to uncover new insights and unique approaches to addressing challenges when we embrace diversity, which benefits all employees. This ultimately drives innovation and helps us make better decisions each day, leading to breakthroughs for people with serious diseases.
In the audio interview below, five of our current women executives share their experiences and perspectives on our gender diversity strategy and their personal leadership journeys.
Former CEO, Genentech
Vice President, South San Francisco Site Services
Sandra J. Horning, M.D.
Executive Vice President, Global Development and Chief Medical Officer
Sara Kenkare-Mitra, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Development Sciences
Ann Lee-Karlon, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Portfolio Management and Operations, Genentech Research and Early Development (gRED)
Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Genentech and Regional Human Resources Head, North America
*While Nancy was an employee at the time this article was published, she has since left Genentech.
Title image: Carla Boragno, Vice President, South San Francisco Site Services. Photo by Kara Brodgesell. Audio by Megan Jones.