How a Family Bakery Shaped a Future Healthcare Leader at Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson's Chief Medical Officer Joanne Waldstreicher has been named a 2016 Healthcare Champion for Women. Her mom, Audrey, reflects on her daughter's path to success.

Audrey Waldstreicher with her daughter, Joanne

Johnson & Johnson's (No. 8 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) Chief Medical Officer Joanne Waldstreicher has been named a 2016 Healthcare Champion for Women by the National Association for Female Executives. Her mom, Audrey, reflects on her daughter's path to success.

By Audrey Waldstreicher

In our family, working hard was a way of life. Joanne's father, Elliott, and I worked in our family bakery and, like most bakery owners, we were up before dawn to start the day, and home in the early evening.

These long hours devoted to our family business shaped our life, molded our collective experiences, and significantly influenced how our children grew up.

A Childhood Shaped By Science

As the youngest of our three children, Joanne was always determined, fiercely competitive and a natural-born leader. Her free time was occupied with her favorite activities — Girl Scouts, reading, singing, swimming and teaching herself to play guitar. In school, her best and favorite subjects were science and math, but that should come as no surprise considering her hands-on experiments with her dad at the bakery.

My husband studied at the American Institute of Baking, where he learned the true science behind this skill. He passed his knowledge to his children, especially Joanne, who spent a lot of her free time in the bakery working with the other bakers. She loved to mix different ingredients and measure the correct portions.

Elliott always created different formulas for Joanne to figure out or follow as she calculated the various ratios and percentages for each baked good. She thrived in this environment and it became apparent that her passion for science was fueled by an eagerness to learn.

A curiosity for the many avenues science could take ultimately led Joanne to the decision to attend medical school. Her enthusiasm for medicine was always focused on research and discovery, with the goal of helping people in need.

A Career Shaped By Passion

Looking back, I could not have predicted Joanne's success in the field of medicine specifically, but I knew her passion and drive would lead her to greatness. That's why I'm so proud to congratulate my daughter on being recognized by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) as the 2016 Healthcare Champion for Women.

The annual NAFE Women of Excellence Awards honor the achievements of outstanding women committed to serving and enriching their workplaces, communities and the world. Like Joanne, recipients are selected because of their vision, courage, compassion, proven success and generosity as demonstrated by how they help other women succeed.

In our family we live by a motto that Joanne's father used to share: "When work gets difficult and I feel I can't go on, I step back, take my apron off, turn it around, put it back on, and get back to work."

This mantra has fueled Joanne and her determination to overcome any obstacle. She has navigated significant challenges by always viewing obstacles as stepping-stones — not deterrents — toward making a positive impact for humanity.

I speak on behalf of our entire family when I say how proud we are of her many accomplishments as Chief Medical Officer at Johnson & Johnson — and her efforts to make a difference in the world and help shape a better future.

Johnson & Johnson Announces Acceptance of Binding Offer From Platinum Equity To Acquire LifeScan, Inc.

LifeScan, Inc. is a world leader in blood glucose monitoring and maker of the OneTouch® brand of products.


Originally Published by Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson announced that it has accepted the binding offer from Platinum Equity, previously announced on March 16, 2018, to acquire its LifeScan business for approximately $2.1 billion. LifeScan, Inc. is a world leader in blood glucose monitoring and maker of the OneTouch® brand of products.

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Annual Health for Humanity Report Discloses Progress on Global Commitments and Highlights Key Achievements Toward Eradicating and Preventing Disease, Reimagining Care Delivery and Promoting Lifelong Health


Originally Published by Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson today released its 2017 Health for Humanity Report, demonstrating its approach and the considerable progress it has made toward an ambitious social, environmental and governance commitment to advance the Company's mission to drive better health for all.

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Johnson & Johnson: New Study Is First to Find Short, Intensive Workplace Wellness Intervention Provided Improvements in Employee Vitality and Purpose in Life

2.5-day behavioral intervention was associated with statistically significant sustained improvements in quality of life and wellbeing


Originally Published by Johnson & Johnson.

A new study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion is the first to demonstrate that a short, intensive workplace wellness intervention can produce sustained improvements in wellbeing. Specifically, the study found that a 2.5-day intervention led to sustained improvements in employee vitality (energy levels) and purpose in life, two important components of wellbeing, over a period of six months. There have been studies on the value and importance of these components, but this is the first study to demonstrate they can be improved through a workplace wellness intervention. The study was led by nutrition scientists at Tufts University, with contributions from two additional authors from Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions.

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Originally Published by National Organization on Disability.

On November 1st, the National Organization on Disability held our Corporate Leadership Council Fall Luncheon and Roundtable. Hosted at Sony's New York offices, the event centered on the topic of mental health in the workplace.

Members of our Board of Directors and executives from nearly 40 companies held a candid conversation, heard from business leaders, and participated in an insightful Q&A where successful strategies were discussed to accommodate and support employees with mental illness in the workplace.

"Mental illness is the single biggest cause of disability worldwide," said Craig Kramer, a panelist at the event and Chair of Johnson & Johnson's Global Campaign on Mental Health. "One out of four people will have a clinically diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives," he continued. Another 20 to 25% of the population will be caregivers to loved ones with a mental illness.

The costs are staggering. "In the coming decades, mental illness will account for more than half of the economic burden of all chronic diseases, more than cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases combined…. It's trillions of dollars," said Kramer.

From an employer's perspective, the need for a successful strategy to deal with mental illness in the workplace is clear. But what are the most effective ways to confront this challenge? Roundtable participants discussed a wide range of ideas and success stories aimed at de-stigmatizing mental health and incorporating the issue into wider conversations around talent, productivity, and inclusion.


  1. Be empathetic. "The most important workplace practice [with respect to mental health] is empathy," said NOD President Carol Glazer. Empathy is critical for normalizing conversations about mental health, but also for maximizing productivity. "A feeling of psychological safety is important," said Lori Golden, a panelist and Abilities Strategy Leader for Ernst & Young; and this sense of safety requires the empathy of colleagues to flourish.
  2. Tell stories. "Nothing is more activating of empathy than for people to share their powerful stories," said Dr. Ronald Copeland, NOD Board member and Senior Vice President of National Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Kaiser Permanente. Copeland's organization partners with the renowned nonprofit, Story Corps, to capture the stories of Kaiser Permanente employees, and also provides a platform on the company intranet for employees to communicate in a safe space. Both Craig Kramer and Lori Golden also shared examples of how their companies provide opportunities to share their stories and "start the conversation, break the silence," as Kramer put it.
  3. Model from the top. Carol Glazer received a standing ovation at the luncheon for her account of her own experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This type of executive-level modeling sends a powerful message that a company is committed to improving mental health for all employees. Lori Golden shared how EY had experienced great success with a program where top-level managers host office-specific events and share stories of mental illness or addiction that they are personally connected to – either about their colleagues or loved ones or, in a surprisingly high number of instances, about themselves. Senior leadership setting the example conveys that this is a forum in which employees can feel comfortable sharing.
  4. Communicate peer-to-peer. "We all know that there's greater trust of our own peers than there is of the organization," said Lori Golden. So to build trust, EY "took it to the grass roots," creating formal opportunities for employees to have conversations about mental health and asking other ERGs to co-sponsor these events. Craig Kramer also noted that Johnson & Johnson had simply folded mental health issues into their global disability ERGs, eventually building the world's second-largest mental health ERG by piggy-backing on existing infrastructure and leveraging existing connections.
  5. Be flexible. Accommodating [the fact that people live busy, complex lives] gets you better buy-in…and keeps production pretty high," suggested Dr. Copeland. A representative from one Council company concurred, explaining how their company has recently instituted a new policy of paid time off for caregivers on top of federally-funded leave. "Being in a culture in which we measure what you produce and not whether you show up in person all day, every day, and where if you can't be there, you negotiate how the deliverables will get done and in what time frame…is immensely helpful to people who themselves have mental illness issues or addiction or are caring for those who do and may need some flexibility," summarized Lori Golden.
  6. Build a trustworthy Employee Action Plan. Many employees do not access or even trust their organization's internal resources. According to Craig Kramer, the percentage of calls placed to most company Employee Action Plans (EAPs) regarding mental health is "in the low single digits," while "if you look at your drug spend, you'll find that around 50% is [related to] mental health." The people answering those calls must be trained in mental health issues, and employees also need to be assured that EAPs are truly confidential.

While revealing and accommodating mental illness remains a massive challenge in the workplace and beyond, a number of successful strategies are emerging for tackling this challenge – many of them pioneered by companies in NOD's Corporate Leadership Council.

Starbucks’ Optional Diversity Training Empowers People like Roseanne

Clearly communicated policies and values build corporate diversity success — treating people right is not an option for a well-run company.

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 18 years of experience publishing DiversityInc.

By making yesterday's diversity training optional, Starbucks revealed top management indecision about its own principles and how to treat customers.

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