Bristol-Myers Squibb Leads with Passion, Purpose & Pride

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By Melissa Lowery

The people at Bristol-Myers Squibb have a lot to be proud of when it comes to championing diversity throughout the organization and beyond. The pharmaceutical company is committed not just to embracing diversity, but to being a leader in giving diverse voices a seat at the table and opportunities to succeed.

“To me diversity and inclusion are some of the most important things we can do as humans, as leaders, and as corporations,” said Farryn Melton, Chief Procurement Officer. “That’s how we get the most out of our workforce, out of our companies, out of our industry and out of businesses—by appreciating and embracing our differences and learning from each other.”

Melton is a guiding force within the company, leading by example to advance diversity and inclusion through collaboration and a comprehensive focus on the workforce, communities served and suppliers in the marketplace. She was recently named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Diversity by Women’s Enterprise Magazine, and for the second year in a row helped land Bristol-Myers Squibb among the 45 national and global corporations named to the National Business Inclusion Consortium’s (NBIC) Best-of-the-Best list of corporations in America committed to diversity and inclusion across all communities.

The following highlights some of the company’s cross-segment diversity and inclusion achievements to date:

  • 36% increase in spend with small businesses and 23% increase with diverse businesses from 2015-2016.
  • 2nd consecutive year Government Small Business Enterprise goal achieved, including all sub-category goals (e.g., Women, Veteran, Disabled, Disadvantaged, and HubZone).
  • 11th consecutive year, BMS scored 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index survey.
  • Recognized as a Most Admired Company in Supplier Diversity by Minority Business News as one of 101 companies that support minority business development through supplier diversity efforts to help ensure continued growth for small businesses.
  • Named to the list of the inaugural BEQ Pride LGBTQ Business Equality Excellence Award honoring companies devoted to diversity in the workplace, marketplace, supply chain and philanthropy.
  • For the ninth consecutive year, Bristol-Myers Squibb ranks in the top 20 of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens, a leading benchmark for socially responsible investors and other stakeholders published by Corporate Responsibility magazine.

Engaging communities

Collaboration between the diversity and inclusion and supplier diversity teams are the key to the company’s success.
“We have the most amazing, passionate team at BMS. Our D&I and our Supplier Diversity programs are together, collectively; we work together. They are so on fire. Because we have so much passion around it and because we believe so much in what we’re doing, we have so much energy to give to it,” Melton said.

In this environment of collaboration and innovation, Paul Ashley, Director of Sourcing Strategy, came to Melton with a proposal to go beyond talking to diverse companies and corporations and reach out directly to the communities Bristol-Myers Squibb serves. Out of that idea grew an initiative to host community impact events as part of engagement at national supplier diversity events, such as the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce International Business and Leadership Conference.

“When we attend these events, there are unlimited opportunities for corporations and diverse businesses to engage with one another. Our question became, how do we expand the value of our engagement and impact underserved/under-represented communities wherever we are?” Ashley said. The answer is a cross-segment initiative to bring about inclusion within the communities Bristol-Myers Squibb serves.

To date, the company has hosted three community impact events, targeting students and young professionals within the LGBT and ethnically diverse communities. The first event was held last year at the Los Angeles LGBT Center in advance of the NGLCC annual conference. Organizers brought in LGBT entrepreneurs to speak with young people about owning their own businesses and working toward economic equality.

“Our objective was to inspire these LGBT young people, many of whom were facing challenging and difficult situations after they came out. We wanted them to see, hear and interact with successful individuals from their own community,” Melton said. “It gives these young people hope and it gives them a path forward.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb also hosted an event focused on STEM education with minority youth in Chicago ahead of the National Minority Supplier Development Council annual convention and an event focused on inspiring women in healthcare at the Women’s Enterprise National Development Council Summit & Salute conference in New Orleans.

After less than a year, the initiative has garnered positive feedback from participants. It also earned Bristol-Myers Squibb a place as a finalist for the Initiative of the Year award from NBIC at the 2017 Best-of-the-Best celebration. With Bristol-Myers Squibb leading the way, other corporations have reached out to partner with them in the initiative.

All this positive reaction to the innovative community outreach initiative is further evidence of the kind of people who make Bristol-Myers Squibb an outstanding place to work, Ashley said.

“This is why I love working for BMS; even though my profession, my training, my career is in procurement, because I’m a diverse person in several segments—I’m African-American, I’m LGBT—I’m able to bring my authentic self to work every day and impact areas where I see fit where it matches the company mission,” he said. “Our company mission is ‘helping patients prevail over serious diseases’ and that means all patients. All patients in whatever segment, whatever community. Diversity gets a lot of press because we want to honor diverse segments, but in my mind inclusion is more important because it’s about how we bring people to the table to have meaningful discussions.”

Diverse organizations share comments on Bristol-Myers Squibb:

“Having strong partnerships with America’s top corporations is key to driving forward the mission of WBENC, the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States. For over 19 years, Bristol-Myers Squibb has shared our objective to create and sustain economic opportunities for diverse business enterprises. The company is truly the Best of the Best; setting new standards of D&I excellence through their supplier development, employee engagement and community investment initiatives. WBENC is proud of its partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb, and looks forward to continuing the important work that delivers value to their suppliers, workforce and patients around the world.”
Pamela Prince-Eason, President and CEO, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

“In a world where 1 in 5 Americans live with a disability, Bristol-Myers Squibb doesn’t see it as a disadvantage, but good business. We applaud their commitment to being disabilities inclusive and proving it each year with a diverse workforce and supply chain.”
Jill Houghton, CEO, US Business Leadership Network

“The thriving partnership between Bristol-Myers Squibb and NGLCC demonstrates their commitment to inclusion in every facet of their company.   Not only are they a repeat presenting sponsor for the NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference promoting LGBT inclusive supplier diversity, but BMS’ dedication to their LGBT employees and customers has earned them the coveted “Best of the Best Corporation for Inclusion” designation every year since its inception. The team at BMS serves as mentors, coaches, and ardent supporters of our certified LGBTBEs, and we’ve just scratched the surface of what we will accomplish together.”
Justin Nelson, Co-Founder & President, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

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