It takes courage to share your personal, often uncomfortable experiences of inequality, discrimination and bias, even when you’re a senior leader in a multinational organization. But that’s exactly what TET members Julie Kim, president of Plasma-Derived Therapies Business Unit, and Marcello Agosti, global business development officer, have been doing. In fact, together with Lauren Duprey, chief human resources officer, they are leading the company’s efforts to create a working environment where diversity is valued, equity is a mainstay and inclusivity is encouraged. They are committed to advancing the company’s approach to DE&I aligned with our refreshed corporate philosophy.

In FY2020, Julie and Marcello launched and have been hosting a frank and candid internal video series in which they and fellow TET members share their stories from their careers of racism and sexism, unconscious bias, cultural stereotyping and other historically divisive factors. Julie, for example, explains how, before joining Takeda, she had to walk a fine line between acting like a man while still being a woman. This included being assertive and nice, but not too much of either, while also dressing in pantsuits and white blouses – to fit in and be accepted. Some of her colleagues from our diverse leadership team have shared their experience of living and working in countries where they could be considered a minority and the discrimination that was associated with it. Others admitted to being guilty of unconscious bias and shared examples. CEO Christophe Weber also joined the conversation, explaining in one video the discrimination he’s witnessed in each of the nine countries where he’s lived and worked.

What’s especially important about this is that it’s coming directly from our leaders. Alongside the DE&I discussions with leaders on Yammer, our internal social media platform, this video series aims to spark honest and possibly uncomfortable conversations which inspire all employees to learn from each other or reflect on their own experiences to help create an open environment for dialogue.

The underlying message is that DE&I is not only a moral and ethical “must do” for society, it’s also good for Takeda. There is also an increasing amount of research demonstrating that it can make a company stronger and more competitive. “As a leadership team, we’re on a journey of self-awareness, and awareness of the company’s needs,” Julie says. “Since we started these discussions, I can see the traction that’s being created throughout the organization.”

“There’s a growing awareness that we’re well-positioned to be at the forefront in this area too, because we’re a values and ethics-driven company that is naturally motivated to do well for patients, for each other and for society,” added Marcello.