Senior Client Partner
BioTen video series: Diversity, equity & inclusion
Interviewer: Jonathan Wildman, Senior Client Partner, Biopharma/Med Device Advisory Lead, Korn Ferry
Speaker: Kim Waller, Senior Client Partner, Organization Strategy, Korn Ferry
Jonathan Wildman: Continuing the BioTEN series today, we have Kim, and the topic is diversity, equity, and inclusion. This tends to be a topic of need for a lot of Midcap BioPharma and Med Device organizations. Kim, I know you've had a few conversations with these types of organizations recently. I'm wondering if you could share what those conversations have been like and where these organizations are starting their journey in the DEI space.
Kim Waller: Yeah, absolutely thanks Jonathan love to share. You know actually as recently as a couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a mid-cap biopharma firm who had done a little bit of work in DE&I but really wanted to take a fresh look at how they could elevate it and make it more strategic.
They recognize that there are a number of dynamics that are happening both with their customers and their clients as well as shareholders that's now placing a new emphasis, a new light on this. They had done a lot of work in giving to their local charities. They had done a lot of work with respect to having employees volunteer with select organizations but now they were at a place where they wanted to make sure that they were connecting the dots because they recognized that DE&I did and does inform their business strategies and they were looking at it now wanting advice on how they can reposition themselves.
And so it was an interesting discussion because what we know is that you need both. You need both ground up and top down in order for this to be effective. Diversity, equity, and inclusion doesn't happen in a silo or in an incubator. It happens because it's a part of the dynamic part of the culture. As well as how that organization meets its own business objectives. And so, in a roundtable discussion with this particular leadership team, we had an open dialogue around just really starting from the first base. Let's talk about your business. Let's talk about your business model. Let's talk about why just intuitively you think, or they thought that diversity, equity, and inclusion was important.
It was a great time with the CEO and his leadership team. In this case it was males having an open dialogue around not only the business imperative but their own mindsets and mental models around what diversity, equity, and inclusion means to them personally because one of the other things that we know, this is a unique space where the leaders, how the leader thinks about diversity, equity, inclusion both in terms of their own personal journey as well as how they help as leaders in the organization matters. So, I’ll pause there.
Jonathan Wildman: Maybe just lastly here, what were two or three things that you took away from that conversation or the two or three things that this CEO and the leadership team started to realize that wow, if we get DE&I right. It's going to help our strategy in this place.
Kim Waller: Absolutely. So, one of the big takeaways was that this is a part of not only their talent strategy with respect to how are they attracting talent but also their business strategy as well as far as how are they keeping the talent. The other aha for the leaders was that sometimes DE&I is focused primarily on gender or underrepresented talent.
But they now in that open dialogue recognize that it really is a matter of how do they become the best? How do they become the best leaders? How do they become the destination for top talent and top talent in the multiple ways that diversity shows up in the multiple ways that we are as humans and that in order to be an effective inclusive leader they're going to be able to lead top talent and top teams which then results in them getting to their business objectives.
Jonathan Wildman: That's amazing. If you have other questions for Kim about diversity, equity, and inclusion, please reach out to her at the Email address at the side of the screen. Kim, as always, thank you so much.
Kim Waller: Thank you, Jonathan.