Jennifer Taubert (designee for CEO Alex Gorsky)

Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson

I’m pleased to represent Johnson & Johnson for the launch of this important initiative to expand innovation and increase diversity within the STEM fields in the U.S.

As Worldwide Chairman of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, I’ve dedicated my entire career to healthcare. And, I’ve experienced firsthand how embracing diversity across all dimensions and fostering an inclusive culture drive the innovation that leads to life-changing medicines and interventions.

These principles are embedded in our Johnson & Johnson Credo and we view them as key to our business success. Diversity and inclusion have been part of our DNA since our founding in 1886, when our first 14 employees included eight women. And, we hired our first female scientist in 1908 at a time when there were few opportunities for women in science.

Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly-based healthcare company, we touch the lives of more than a billion people each day. To continue to meet their needs, we can never stop innovating. It’s our lifeblood.

Therefore, our workforce must reflect the diversity of all those who rely on our products to ensure we have the breadth of perspectives and unique insights that will fuel our innovation pipeline. To accomplish this, we embed diverse and inclusive approaches in recruiting and developing talent. This includes using artificial intelligence to mitigate possible gender bias in job descriptions, partnering with diverse professional organizations to attract new talent, and deepening relationships with diverse student organizations at institutions of higher learning.

Our Johnson & Johnson Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs, support various employee groups including veterans, women, Hispanics, and individuals of African ancestry. Each ERG is sponsored by a senior executive, and they provide valuable input for our talent acquisition and retention efforts, leadership development opportunities, community-based patient initiatives, and our overall culture of inclusion.

And, we hold all our leaders accountable for continuously improving by conducting annual employee surveys on employee engagement, inclusion, and living our Credo values.

In addition to taking concrete steps to ensure the diversity of our workforce, we’re also striving to do the same for the larger innovation ecosystem. For example, in 2015, we launched our WiSTEM2D initiative to increase representation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math, manufacturing, and design. The program inspires girls and women of all ages in their pursuits of studies and careers in these fields. It includes youth outreach, partnerships with academic institutions, and recruitment and retention of top female technical talent.

For almost 30 years, Johnson & Johnson’s Bridge to Employment program has inspired high school students in disadvantaged communities to excel academically and pursue careers in healthcare. According to a recent survey of Bridge to Employment graduates currently working, 83% were employed in a STEM2D career.

We’ve also launched Re-Ignite, a return-to-work program for experienced professionals who have taken a break of two or more years from a STEM2D career after pausing for professional or personal pursuits such as military service, raising a family, caring for a loved one, community service, or continuing education. Since its launch in 2017, we’ve hired 43 employees through Re-Ignite.

And, because it’s important for many entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles in pursuing their early scientific discoveries, we’ve built a successful open innovation network known as Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JLABS. JLABS empowers innovators to accelerate the delivery of healthcare solutions for patients around the world. Of the 650 biotech, med-tech and consumer companies that are part of JLABS, 29% are led by women or minorities. This is compared to an industry average of 1% and 8%, respectively.

While we’re pleased with the success of our D&I efforts, we’re never satisfied. And, we know there’s much more we can do.

So, we are very proud to partner with our fellow council members who share similar goals. Strong collaboration will build the momentum needed to increase diversity in the STEM fields and expand access to innovation among underrepresented groups in the U.S. It will also contribute to enhanced opportunities for diverse inventors to see their visions become reality.

Thank you for your time today. On behalf of our CEO Alex Gorsky and the company’s Executive Committee, I’m proud for Johnson & Johnson to be part of this important initiative.