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Taking Positive Action to Change Thinking About Diversity

 

As we celebrate International Women’s Day for 2015, I look at how our own commitment to gender diversity has shaped the opinion in the sector of life sciences over the past 12 months.

Liftstream has shown a sustained commitment to improving diversity, not only gender but all forms of diversity. Last year though, we decided that advocating concepts of diversity was not in itself persuasive enough to change thinking and behaviours. To do this, we needed irrefutable evidence of the current landscape, with data that can convince people and against which progress can be truly measured.

This motivation resulted in a lengthy research project which culminated in a published report, with 60 pages of data and analysis drawn from US and European biotech markets. This research was accomplished through analysis of nearly 1500 biotech companies, their executive teams and board of directors, over 7000 people in total. Then we surveyed an additional group of 550 industry executives, to get a separate set of data to support the thesis. Finally, we picked some of the biotech industry’s biggest names and interviewed them, over 60 of them, resulting in days of first-hand transcribed accounts from which personal and confidential insights could be drawn, and from whom attributable statements could be published. The final research was published and broadly disseminated, as well as getting picked up by global media outlets.

FierceBiotech wrote a compelling summary of some of the findings and this received widespread social media attention.

https://www.fiercebiotech.com/story/biotechs-boardrooms-there-are-10-men-every-one-woman-report-says/2014-10-23?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

Our partners in the research; MassBio, EuropaBio and BIA all provided opportunities to share the report’s findings with their highly relevant biotech member base:

MassBio:

https://massbiohq.org/tag/liftstream/

BIA:

https://blog.bioindustry.org/2014/10/30/guest-blog-biotech-executive-leadership-lacking-the-x-factor/

Organisations such as Women in Bio, HBA, 2020 Women on Boards, and California’s Watermark organisation provided coverage of the report, allowing a very focused group of senior level and aspiring women executives to access the report’s findings.

Watermark:

https://www.wearewatermark.org/blog/entry/gender-diversity-report-shows-biotechnology-leadership-male-dominated

 2020 – women on boards:

https://www.2020wob.com/blog/biotechs-other-innovation-focused-approach-diversity

Mainstream news media also picked up on the research and the Wall Street Journal’s highly read Pharmalot column put together a very interesting analysis which seemingly provoked interest and reaction (if the comments are anything to go by).

WSJ:

https://blogs.wsj.com/pharmalot/2014/10/31/those-old-boy-networks-can-hinder-women-from-climbing-biotech-ranks/

Other places to cover it were the industry’s ‘go-to’ Biospace, and some of the following international news outlets.

LabManager:

https://www.labmanager.com/business-management/2014/10/liftstream-report-finds-ten-men-for-every-woman-present-in-biotech-boardrooms

Centrewatch:

https://www.centerwatch.com/news-online/article/7083/report-10-men-for-every-woman-present-in-biotech-boardrooms#sthash.2EOjJryB.dpbs

Baltimore Business Journal:

https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2014/11/new-report-finds-that-52-percent-of-u-s-biotech.html

The coverage the report has received was excellent. Importantly though it has led to action on the part of several Nasdaq listed biotech companies, who are using the research to introduce diversity programmes, holding executive briefings and seminars, as well as investors facilitating portfolio company off-sites to focus on the topic. These have all been tremendous outcomes from a very interesting and worthwhile piece of leadership research.

In 2015, Liftstream carries the baton forward, planning events and round-tables to discuss how to introduce new practices that will strengthen company’s ability to improve diversity. If you’d like to take part, or perhaps would like to work with us to learn from our research, or develop new ideas, then please just connect with us and we’d be pleased to explore the opportunity with you.

diversity@liftstream.com

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