RESEARCH SCIENTIST, MERCK & CO
Class of 2022 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
(She, Her) is 38
What do you believe is your responsibility to this moment in history?
Right now, we all need human connection and togetherness. I’m focusing on intersectionality and collaborating with other Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and community LGBTQ+ organizations. This is the greatest opportunity to build allyship and community. Making human connections will make our society safer, more welcoming and more progressive, and I’m all about helping this come to life.
I truly love to help work towards Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s dream and I know that there is one race, one humankind, and kindness to all will help build the best society. Brotherhood with everyone, working together towards the same goals, this is our future. This is the path I’m ready to continue to work on and leave the world better than I found it.
Rachel Feller has been a dedicated member and leader in the Merck Rainbow Alliance (RA) for a dozen years, contributing to various initiatives along the way. Currently, Rachel is a New Jersey Chapter Co-Lead and is involved on the Chemistry Diversity & Inclusion team, site cross employee business resource group (cross-EBRG) council and other initiatives.
In 2021, Rachel partnered with the Merck League of African Descent EBRG to host Harmonica Sunbeam for a chat about a day in the life of a drag queen. Rachel also partnered with the Merck Allies Outreach Lead and Asia Pacific Association EBRG to host a talk on the power of acceptance in the Asian LGBTQ+ community with Amit Shah, M.D. and Aditya Madiraju.
In 2020, Rachel was an event organizer for the Out at Work: Visibility at Work Executives Panel featuring Merck executives. The goal was to share stories from out and ally executives to build visibility and awareness. Also in 2020, Rachel spoke on a panel about being out at work with fellow RA colleagues and guest speaker Tehshik Yoon. Rachel openly shared about coming out at work and the support she received from her manager. She also shared what being authentic and out meant to her in a STEM role at Merck. Rachel’s contributions to RA NJ Chapter and Rainbow Alliance itself have been a valued contribution to their success.
Rachel is a social connector and leader who values building relationships into the core of the D&I work she contributes to at Merck. Rachel says, “Building community is so important, and creating a space where people can feel at home while at work is truly fulfilling. With each generation being more and more accepting, I know that our future is super gay, bright, energetic, hard-working, resilient and creative.”
Rachel initially joined the Merck Rainbow Alliance to make more LGBTQ+ friends, but the journey quickly became about leadership, development and making visions come to life. Working with colleagues to build community and provide amazing programs within the LGBTQ EBRG and partnering with other EBRGs continues to be a highlight of her work. Rachel enjoys partnering with outside organizations like PFLAG, Garden State Equality and HRC to bring relevant expertise into Merck, raise awareness and welcome colleagues as allies.
Rachel believes the spread of awareness and acceptance around LGBTQ+ people and the issues faced will naturally increase as more people see, experience and build relationships with LGBTQ+ people. Rachel believes, “It is now up to us to be out and proud and share our real stories with anyone willing to listen. This will make a huge difference in our society and help everyone learn and grow. I am happy and proud to hold (all) the flags and lead others into this victory.”
Recently Rachel’s partner came out as a trans man, started testosterone and underwent gender affirming surgeries this year—allyship begins at home. Rachel enjoys the fact that she gets to learn and understand first hand and alongside her partner have a proximate experience of “what our transgender brothers and sisters go through.” Rachel is excited to be available to show love and support every day. She sees it as a challenge and an adventure for their love and marriage. Of her role as a spouse and ally, she says, “I am always ready to be the best ally I can be and to face what’s next, together.”