Dan Buriak’s message is simple: Innovation often comes from the fringes, not the center. To that end, he’s using diversity and inclusion to drive innovation in Pfizer’s Global Manufacturing Group by capitalizing on the ideas of senior managers as well as those from deeper in the organization.
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Buriak, senior director of diversity, inclusion and colleague engagement for Pfizer Global Manufacturing, is leading the group’s diversity and inclusion council by creating rotational positions across the globe and from every level. The council’s mission is to create the framework for a culture shift for the manufacturing group.
He runs a “boot camp” where Pfizer trains diversity and inclusion ambassadors around the globe. “This involves a local interpretation of what diversity is and what fuels innovation. There’s a common global vision, but there’s strong local differentiation,” he says.
Buriak says his 13-year tenure at Pfizer reflects who he is: “Pfizer enables me to promote curiosity and intellectual ability at work, to connect diversity and inclusion with education.”
He started his career working for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has been a member of Pfizer Global Manufacturing’s supply-chain management leadership team as well as its human-resources leadership team. “I’m very focused on the practical … where is it that managers are looking to manage their bottom line? For me, that means translating diversity and inclusion directly to business values,” he says.
Pfizer’s values encourage him to be open about who he is—a gay man—and to invest in his community. Buriak has been involved in his local New Jersey town as a councilman, planning-board member and government liaison to schools and the historic-preservation commission. “It’s very difficult to tear apart work and community,” he says. “Pfizer has invested a significant amount in my leadership development. To use that training at the community level benefits everyone.”