AbbVie ranked No. 23 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.
Throughout history, women have made substantial contributions to STEM fields. Despite this, women are still underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Biotech company AbbVie is trying to change that. The company spoke with four of its female leaders recently, who shared five ways to help women achieve their full potential in STEM careers.
Linda Scarazzini, M.D.: Normalize Women in Science
“It’s critical that we don’t classify female scientists as anything other than the norm,” said Scarazzini, Vice President of Pharmacovigilance and Patient Safety at AbbVie. “We must remain committed to creating opportunities for women and setting them up to thrive. When people close their eyes and imagine a scientist, I want that mental image to be female.”
Nicole Selenko-Gebauer, M.D.: Allow Others to Step Up
“I’ve always loved the song lyric ‘You’re a driver, not a passenger in your life,’ which in my mind means stepping up, even when it’s difficult,” said Selenko-Gebauer, Head of Global Medical Affairs at AbbVie. “I don’t want to ever be afraid, because when you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t step up. It’s my job as a leader to model that behavior and create an environment where people can feel comfortable taking risks.”
Kim Ribeiro: Create Your Path
“I had to explore a ton and create my own path,” said Ribeiro, AbbVie’s Director of Clinical Trials Diversity & Inclusion. “My role today in clinical trial diversity is something that I ultimately created for myself. AbbVie has allowed me to carve out roles throughout my journey where I saw gaps in the business. So my advice would be to step out of looking for the right existing role and start thinking about your skill set and what could be possible.”
Shuhong Zhang, Ph.D.: Mentor Others
“My first manager in the industry told me to not allow myself to be limited by where I am today,” said Zhang, Vice President of Developmental Sciences at AbbVie. “He told me to ‘make a plan and go for it.’ So I did. And I’d urge others to do the same. That means getting to know the business, but it also means seeking advice from a mentor, whether formally or informally.”
Linda Scarazzini, M.D.: Smooth the Road
“My leadership journey throughout my career has shown me that we must hold up and respect those at all levels around us. Even though the road may not have been perfectly paved for me or my senior colleagues in leadership, we owe it to those who follow to help clear that road and help fix a few potholes for our rising leaders.”