The MassBio Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Resource Center is a centralized hub where you can access the best practices, tools, and resources needed to achieve equitable, diverse, and inclusive excellence in your workplace.

Roadmap Toward Improving DEI at Life Sciences Companies with Fewer than 20 Employees

Any size company can take meaningful action toward improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within their organization. In fact, starting now is especially important as it will create a strong foundation of DEI at your company and help ensure future success as you grow. Here’s how to get started.

External Affinity Organizations

There are so many great programs and organizations that support diversity and inclusion initiatives already in existence in Massachusetts and around the country. Below we have highlighted a select group we believe are doing great things in the life sciences and beyond. 

Explore External Affinity Organizations

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)

A national organization focused on substantially increasing the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations, and other indigenous peoples of North America in STEM studies and careers. AISES is dedicated to supporting early, mid, and executive professionals in STEM fields through professional development, career opportunities, networking, and research support to mentors who support professionals in STEM. 

Association for Women in Science, Massachusetts Chapter

The mission of AWIS Mass is to support women in all scientific fields and to achieve equity and full participation for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). By breaking down barriers and creating opportunities, AWIS Massachusetts strives to ensure that women in these fields can achieve their full potential. By joining AWIS Massachusetts, members have opportunities to advance their careers through professional development, mentoring, information sharing, outreach, and professional networking in formal and informal social settings. 

Atomic Hands

Atomic Hands is committed to increasing public access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through American Sign Language (ASL) and fostering collaboration and networking opportunities among current and future Deaf STEMists.

Black Women in Science & Engineering (BWISE)

BWISE was founded with the purpose to support and develop underrepresented women by bridging the technical leadership gap through networking, mentorship, and career development.  BWISE consists of women in middle management through senior leadership and entrepreneurship with STEM degrees. The organization provides a platform and a community to share career experiences as well as exposure to emerging technology and industry leaders. 

Boston Women’s Workforce Council

The council is a public-private collaboration between the City of Boston and Boston University whose mission is to close the gender wage gap and remove the visible and invisible barriers for working women. 

CEO Action! For Diversity and Inclusion

The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. This commitment is driven by a realization that addressing diversity and inclusion is not a competitive issue, but a societal issue. CEOs recognize that change starts with them. With more than 300 CEOs of the world’s leading companies and business organizations, their goal is to leverage their individual and collective voices to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Color of Biotech

An External Affinity Organization for professionals of color in the life sciences industry that is financially supported by Biogen, Pfizer, Sanofi Genzyme, Takeda, and Vertex, Color of Biotech creates a community within Massachusetts’ growing biotechnology sector that fosters collaboration, networking, support, and innovation through BioDiversity networking events. This community fosters and promotes diversity and inclusion as a means to increase both the number of professionals of color in biotechnology and their career satisfaction. To learn more, email


CSweetener is dedicated to matching emerging female healthcare leaders new and near to the C-Suite with those who have successfully navigated this terrain and are eager to share their knowledge and experience. Its goal is to build lasting relationships among professionals that help women continue to become the best leaders they can be, whether they have already reached the C-Suite or are rapidly on their way there. CSweetener relies on a technology platform that allows for profiling, matching, virtual meeting, and meeting tracking capabilities. They offer a social community that allows both mentors and mentees to engage with each other on an ongoing basis, along with a resource library of interesting articles and information. 


NextGen Leaders Programs have college students and recent graduates with disabilities who have demonstrated talent and leadership in STEM. DiN collaborates with Corporate Partners to prepare for employment through mentorship, networking, and recruiting opportunities and can source talent through the resume database of current NextGen leaders and alumni.

Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA)

The core purpose of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) is to further the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. The HBA is a global, nonprofit organization that accomplishes its mission through strong business networks, education, research, advocacy, and recognition for individuals and companies. When members of the HBA come together, it’s with a shared purpose: to be a united force for change. We connect diverse groups of both women and men, across all healthcare and life science disciplines. We believe that by joining forces in the relentless pursuit of gender parity, we are doing more than uniting individuals—we are strengthening the business of healthcare. The New England region and local Chapters coordinate various industry-specific programs and networking events. Two examples to highlight: The highly-applauded Mentoring Program, has built a community of over 1100 women who support each other’s career growth. Fit to Lead, HBA’s fitness-infused, leadership development journey connects learnings realized through training to personal and professional development.


The mission of MVPvets is to assist and prepare transitioning military veterans for meaningful employment in medical device/technology and life science companies. We have connected more than 4,400 military veterans across the nation with the resources, skills, and confidence to learn about and engage in meaningful careers. MVPvets brings veterans, mentors, and employers together through job matching, one-on-one mentoring, and on-the-ground career-building endeavors.

Latinos in Bio

A pioneer, first-in-kind, organization of Latino leaders and professionals in biotechnology and the life sciences in Massachusetts with the purpose to create a network that will generate business development, professional opportunities, and social exchange among its members. LiB also aimS to elevate the visibility and amplify the social capital of Latinos in the life-sciences sector in the state of MA and nation-wide and to forge a path for younger Latinos to enter the biotech/pharma industry and facilitate access to career opportunities. To learn more, email

Life Science Cares

Life Science Cares is a collective effort of the life science industry to end poverty in the greater Boston area. We harness the human and financial resources of life science companies and industry leaders to support service organizations that do the best work in fighting poverty and providing educational opportunities in our community. We work with organizations doing work in the areas of basic human survival (hunger, homelessness, domestic abuse, etc.), education (STEM education, college preparation and college success, educational enrichment, and inspiration, etc.), and sustainability (job creation, job training, mentoring, and economic development.) 


Empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer professionals in the drug development industry in the greater Boston area through networking, education, advocacy, professional development, and peer support.

The Partnership, Inc. (TPI)

In today’s global marketplace, multicultural leadership has become a critical business imperative. TPI has helped organizations build racially and ethnically diverse leadership pipelines. They work with companies to meet their unique management needs, providing customized programs for their top multicultural talent, as well as consulting services that improve organizational performance. Their client portfolio includes nearly 300 organizations. TPI Programs include Early Career Associates, Mid-Career Fellows, Next Generation Executives, C-Suite Leadership, and BioDiversity Fellows.

Women in Bio

Women In Bio is an organization of professionals committed to promoting careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship for women in the life sciences. They focus their activities on education, mentoring and networking, and on creating opportunities for leadership that can help advance women’s careers. 

Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology (WEST)

WEST is a learning community that provides women in the enterprise of science and technology with the inspiration, knowledge, and connections to reach their full potential. WEST encourages women to develop entrepreneurial management thinking, educated risk-taking, creative problem solving, and inspirational, supportive leadership for their teams/organizations/ businesses. WEST is a community and forum, for early, mid-career, executive, and entrepreneurial women in STEM careers. WEST members are committed to developing themselves as leaders through education, mentorship, networking, and information sharing. WEST offers a rich and thriving community that provides support, guidance, and professional development. Members can leverage a broad array of workshops and panels that include advice regarding career advancement, alternate career options, and professional skill-building. Through education, mentorship, and engaging networking, we strive to serve our diverse community, so our members can achieve their full potential.

Supplier Diversity

The MassBio Edge program offers MassBio members exclusive discounts and premier customer service through a variety of leading vendors. Through our expanded partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific, MassBio’s membership and New England Edge affiliates will have access to a 1% diverse supplier rebate incentive when purchasing supplies and services through the Fisher Scientific distribution channel. To learn more, contact Steve Powell, Director of Business Development, MassBio.

If you are looking to do more, we encourage you to check out the following third-party resources:

Explore supplier diversity

Disability:IN Supplier Diversity Program is the leading third-party certifier of disability-owned business enterprises (DOBE). Beyond certification, the program provides information, tools, and other developmental resources — helping certified suppliers expand contract opportunities with key corporate partners, government agencies, and other disability-owned businesses. DOBE is a for-profit business that is at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by a person with a disability. We do not certify non-profit organizations or private businesses who employ person(s) with disabilities. Click here for more information.

Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) advances business opportunities for certified Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Native American business enterprises and connects them to corporate members. One of the region’s leading corporate membership organizations, GNEMSDC was incorporated in 1975 to provide increased procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes. GNEMSDC is an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. GNEMSDC is one of the 24 regional councils represented across the US territories. GNEMSDC serves the six (6) New England States, which are MA, CT, RI, ME, NH, and VT. Click here for more information.

Massachusetts Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Chamber of Commerce (MA-LGBTCC), the local affiliate of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce,  offers certification to LGBT Business Enterprises as well as a host of opportunities to enhance LGBT business’ visibility to corporations seeking to do business with LGBT suppliers. As an advocate and link, the MA-LGBTCC seeks to promote economic growth and viability for LGBT-owned and allied businesses, corporations, and professionals throughout the Commonwealth. They also work with local and state agencies to promote supplier diversity, thus, enabling LGBT businesses to flourish. Click here for more information.

National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) is the only third-party Veteran Owned Business Certification program in the United States and is organized as a 501c3 not for profit foundation. The NVBDC was created for the purpose of providing a credible and reliable certifying authority that would ensure that valid documentation exists of a business’ Veteran ownership and control. Companies will gain invaluable access and visibility as a supporter of veteran enterprises success. VOB must be fifty-one percent ownership by a Veteran or Veterans. They must also provide proof of active management of the business. Veteran must possess the power to direct or cause to direct the management and policies of the business including the dissolution or sale of the company without restriction by any other party. Click here for more information.

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs. WBENC Certification validates that a business is at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women. Their certification standard is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing America’s most prestigious brands, in addition to many states, cities, and government entities. Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) represents the local New England Chapter servicing MA, NH, RI, and VT. Their mission is to fuel economic growth by identifying, certifying, and facilitating the development of women-owned businesses. Click here for more information.

Sample Templates

Sample Workforce Representation – Diversity Dashboard: Diversity Scorecards and Dashboards help executives and managers analyze and track the impact of their diversity initiatives to mobilize the organization for strategic culture change. Diversity is not a program; it is a systemic process of organizational change that requires measurement for organizational improvement and success.

Sample Employee Engagement Surveys: Conducting engagement surveys is a useful way to gather insight into what is important to your employees and what are the key drivers of engagement. They give employees a venue for open feedback. Knowing how the company measures areas such as employee satisfaction, management/leadership effectiveness, and working environment will give you tangible objectives for change. Feedback will give you valuable actionable data that you can implement for organizational growth. Here is an example of a short sample employee engagement survey and here is an example of a detailed sample employee engagement survey. Feel free to use these and customize for your needs.

Developing a DEI Statement

If your organization doesn’t already have a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statement, it should. Like mission and vision statements, a DEI statement provides a guiding principle for your company to aspire to. When you define your commitment to DEI, it helps direct the company’s actions toward success. Learn why a DEI statement is so important and how to develop one.


MassBio’s sister organization, MassBioEd’s mission is to build a sustainable life sciences workforce in the region through educational programs that engage and excite teachers, inspire and propel students, and illuminate the pathway from the classroom to careers. They play a key role in developing the next generation of life sciences workforce while providing professional development for the current workforce. We encourage you to directly support their mission.

Project Onramp

Creating access to and opportunities in the life sciences industry for underrepresented and Black, Brown, and Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) is one of the best ways we can collectively reduce racial inequity and growing income inequality. In 2019, MassBio partnered with Life Science Cares, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, MassBioEd, and Bottom Line to launch Project Onramp. The program provides paid summer internships to underserved students at life sciences companies. Please consider hosting a Project Onramp intern in summer 2021. Learn more at

Life Science Cares

Our friends at Life Science Cares are committed to eliminating poverty in Greater Boston. They have created an outstanding network of service organizations dedicated to fighting poverty through work in survival, education, and sustainability. As your organization looks to commit time, energy, and resources to strengthen our communities, reduce racial inequities, and develop the next generation of workforce, we strongly encourage you to work with Life Science Cares and their amazing partner organizations.

Additional Resources From MassBio

Tools and Resources

MassBio ERG Report (Empowering the Success of Life Sciences Companies through Employee Resources Groups) outlines best practices, as presented by leaders and participants of various ERGs across the life sciences industry during MassBio’s June 2019 ERG Exchange event. While the needs of each organization differ, we believe the lessons that come from shared best practices will benefit the industry and, more importantly, the patient population that we all work every day to serve.

While progress is being made to improve D&I, real change relies on concrete action. We believe that companies bear the responsibility for implementing intentional policies to ensure diverse workforces where all employees feel welcome and have an equal opportunity to thrive and advance. MassBio and Liftstream’s report on gender diversity in the Massachusetts life sciences contained numerous recommended actions that companies can take to improve their gender diversity. We started with those and added to it based on what we’ve learned since to create a condensed set of actions that companies can take, starting today, to create lasting change. Download the recommendations here. 

MassBio Policies on Diversity, Inclusion & Harassment

Ensuring Diversity at Events

MassBio is committed to diversity at all our programs, forums, and conferences, and we firmly believe that the diversity of our society and industry must be reflected in our speakers and audience. To ensure this is not simply talk, but action, we have released a policy to ban all-male panels at our events and to encourage those conferences we participate in to do the same. Download the policy and adopt it as your own. 

Preventing Harassment at Industry Events

MassBio’s anti-harassment policy applies to all MassBio events as well as any events that are hosted at MassBio’s facilities. The policy supports MassBio’s commitment to diversity & inclusion and is an effort to ensure everyone feels welcome to participate and attend events in the life sciences industry. Download the policy and adopt it as your own.

Studies & Reports

Bentley University Workplace Diversity Research and Case Studies synthesize current literature, practical research, and solutions to key issues impacting diversity and inclusion (D&I). Each report provides insights and interventions to help organizations make progress toward their D&I goals.

Framing Unconscious Bias Awareness at Your Organization: Unconscious bias can be a major factor in whether a workforce is diverse. More likely than not, hiring managers impart their own hidden biases upon their hiring practices. This can be very damaging to an organization.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI) Criteria 2020: Launched in 2002, the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index has become a roadmap and benchmarking tool for U.S. businesses in the evolving field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer equality in the workplace. The HRC Foundation is committed to keeping the criteria for the CEI rigorous, fair, and transparent by identifying emerging best practices that improve the experiences of LGBTQ employees of participating businesses. Equally important, we are committed to providing the resources and consultation that enable each business to attain a 100 percent rating.

PwC Global Diversity & Inclusion Survey diagnoses the maturity of your organization’s D&I program, compares your organization to others in your region and industry. Survey responses will be recorded and aggregated with the overall survey benchmark results; individual responses will be kept strictly confidential.

United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet, and prosperity. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social, and environmental. By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value. Click here for The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019.

Workplace Diversity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality 2019 Report takes into account data from more than 34,000 respondents across the globe, with over 22,000 respondents from the United States, on how they feel about D&I efforts within their own workplace. It explores diversity by generation, employee experience by demographics, and the importance of intersectionality.

Key Dates and Terms for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

2020 Diversity & Inclusion Calendar Whether you’re seeking to complete a diversity and inclusion calendar for your company, or simply to learn more about holidays in different cultures, this list offers a wealth of dates important to both religious and ethnic minorities in the U.S., as well as the people who want to honor them. DBP Glossary of Terms for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (please note: This glossary of key equity, diversity & inclusion terms is not intended to be an exhaustive list of every word and term used in the life sciences industry and conversation about DEI. These are basic working definitions to be used as a reference to help move DEI efforts forward.)

The Language of Inclusion (please note: This glossary of key equity, diversity & inclusion terms is not intended to be an exhaustive list of every word and term used in the life sciences industry and conversation about DEI. These are basic working definitions to be used as a reference to help move DEI efforts forward.)

Tools and Resources from BIO

The BIOEquality Agenda is a national effort in collaboration with our partners and member organizations in the biotechnology sector that aims to counteract the systemic inequality, injustice, and unfair treatment of underserved communities.