How Biotechs Can Find Their Inclusion Solution: Q&A with The Partnership

Sep 19, 2019

By Edie Stringfellow, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at MassBio

Part of MassBio’s mission is to improve equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in the life sciences industry.  It’s extremely important that we work with organizations that provide the resources and capabilities needed to address professional development and talent gaps, and embed ED&I in members’ growth strategies and culture. In doing so, we’re able to discover fresh ideas and perspectives on how to go about tackling issues and developing new solutions. The Partnership is a special kind of organization that approaches problem-solving from a myriad of angles, due to its work with companies across industries. I sat down with Pratt Wiley, President & CEO of The Partnership, to gain a deeper insight into the organization and their methodology towards addressing ED&I challenges and creating positive social impact.

Can you give us a brief background overview of The Partnership?

Formed in 1987, The Partnership has evolved from its original focus on the advancement of African Americans in corporate Boston, into an organization that supports multicultural professionals at all levels in an increasingly diverse and global workforce. Each year more than 350 individuals, nationally, participate in The Partnership’s leadership development programming for millennials, mid-career professionals, executives and C-suite members. For more than three decades, The Partnership has worked with more than 300 companies and 4,000 professionals providing unparalleled leadership development programming for professionals of color. 

What is the significance and value proposition of The Partnership?

The Partnership equips diverse leaders and area employers so they can thrive in a dynamic and diverse workforce. The organization was born from a shared commitment by Boston’s business community and communities of color to transform the regional culture, invest in visionary diverse leaders who would strengthen Boston’s economic platform, and convert Boston into a destination of choice for people of all backgrounds.

How did you come to develop your first industry specific program, targeting biotech?

Our intent is to have maximum impact on attracting and retaining multicultural professionals in the life sciences to support and help build a diverse pipeline of professionals for the industry. We originally received a grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) to create a leadership development program that would help advance and retain underrepresented talent in the industry. Launched in 2016 with 8 participants, the BioDiversity Fellows Program now has 24 participants enrolled in the program. The MLSC has also provided The Partnership with a grant to develop a program for underrepresented college students interested in pursuing a career in the life sciences. 

Why should biotech companies select The Partnership for their professional development and talent sourcing needs?

The Partnership’s mission is to enhance the economic competitiveness of the region by attracting, developing, retaining, and convening executives and professionals of color. To achieve this, we provide leadership development programming, and work with our client organizations to help them to create environments where diverse professionals can thrive.

We all know we are not where we should be with regard to equality, diversity, and inclusion. However, organizations like The Partnership are critical to advancing diversity in the Commonwealth and beyond – we work to develop leaders of color.

The Partnership does more than provide leadership development and navigation skills. With more than 4000 alumni, we build community – and community is essential to retention. We ensure that Massachusetts has a strong pipeline of people of color at every level of each organization from entry to CEO. I want people of color to stay here, grow here, move up here, and lead here. I also want to ensure that those currently in power understand the business value of diversity, particularly given our demographic shifts. Together we can work with each other to create a rich tapestry that represents our region and drives innovation through diversity.

How do you think partnering with MassBio will drive positive impact for the life sciences, the patient community, and society?

MassBio strives to advance Massachusetts' leadership in the life sciences, to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system, and improve patient lives. Ultimately, The Partnership shares the same values. It is a business imperative facing the life science industry today: diversity drives innovation. Investing in your diverse workforce today will support innovation within the ecosystem, and its competitiveness within the life sciences industry, tomorrow.

What is your organization doing to be the change agent for a more inclusive culture in biotech? Share your story with us!


Pratt Norton Wiley

President & CEO, The Partnership, Inc.

Pratt is the President and CEO for The Partnership, Inc., New England’s premier organization dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of the region by attracting, developing, retaining and convening multicultural professionals. Pratt is a leader and strategic planner in fields ranging from law, politics, non-profit management and business management. Prior to joining The Partnership, Pratt served as the National Director of Voter Expansion for the Democratic National Committee, where he was responsible for designing and executing the DNC’s program to ensure that every eligible voter was able to register and vote, and that every vote was accurately counted. He is also a former corporate attorney at Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, representing a wide range of public and private sector clients in M&A, venture finance, and tax-exempt bond issuances. Pratt received his B.S. in Finance from Georgetown University and his J.D. from Boston College Law School.

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