Implementing a Meaningful and Sustainable Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Dec 20, 2021

Guest Blog by Jessica Kline, Director of Internal Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility and Rizwana Seeham, Senior Manager of GMP Quality Assurance & ED&I for Blueprint Medicines

At Blueprint Medicines, we’ve been committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) since our company’s founding in 2011. With a strong historical focus on gender equity as one area of impact, we’ve made great strides to advance female representation at all levels of our organization – including our executive leadership team – and within the broader life sciences industry. And through mentoring programs, professional development programs, and storytelling events, we’ve fostered a culture of continuous learning and development for all employees.

When the world witnessed George Floyd’s murder during the summer of 2020, we recognized that we had a responsibility to broaden and deepen our ED&I efforts for our employees – also known as the “Blue Crew” – and the communities around the world in which we live and work. If we didn’t, we would never become the company and people we have long aspired to be.

Forming Blueprint Medicines’ ED&I Committee

After engaging in extensive and honest dialogue about our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion and the areas where we have a responsibility to rise above performative allyship and bolster our words with meaningful, sustainable action, we created a formal ED&I Committee to build upon the foundation that existed and establish a clear vision and goals to drive our efforts.

Today, 10% of our workforce sits as members of our ED&I Committee, including four of our executive team members. In addition, one of our corporate goals is focused on advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion, and every Blue Crew member is held accountable to help us achieve it.

Our Committee’s mission is grounded in cultivating a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion where people of all backgrounds, experiences, and identities feel safe, welcomed, heard, respected, valued, and empowered to reach their full potential. This is not a small feat, and we’re constantly learning and un-learning how to achieve this.

Our Key Tactics

One key tactic we’re leaning into is opening avenues for the Blue Crew to engage in uncomfortable conversations, acknowledge multiple lived realities, and most importantly, build empathy. Earlier this year, we hosted a Toxic Tour in collaboration with Alternatives for Community Environment (ACE), which educated the Blue Crew on how environmental racism has impacted and continues to impact the Roxbury, Massachusetts community and other low-income communities across the globe. Additionally, we rolled out Unconscious Bias Training for all employees, created customized educational resource libraries, and initiated a webinar series to provide concrete strategies to address the many social issues we are all combatted with every day, from the stigmas associated with mental health, to the fight for racial justice, to understanding gender identity.

Having open dialogue about these seemingly-taboo topics doesn’t just end with a webinar. Our monthly ED&I Circles create a safe, supportive space for reflection, dialogue, perspective, and connection on these topics, and more. And our annual storytelling events – such as our most recent Storytelling for Social Justice– give Blue Crew members an opportunity to share their experiences, open our minds, and stimulate discourse.

We’re also leaning into support from our senior leadership. They empower us to set ambitious goals, rally the organization behind them, and demonstrate what it means to lead. This support has been a catalyst of our early success and will continue to be critically important as we move forward. 

Lastly, we’re leaning into showing the connection this work has on our business outcomes.  Today, we have teams dedicated to better understanding the experiences of patients from underrepresented groups. These teams are looking at the gaps underrepresented groups face from diagnosis to treatment of their disease. Collectively, we are working to ensure that when we commit to helping patients benefit from our innovation, we mean all patients. This work did not start in a vacuum and instead started during some of the activities we drove to foster uncomfortable dialogue.

We also have teams focused on enhancing our recruiting and retention practices. This year, we fostered our long-standing relationship with Life Science Cares to provide summer internships for college students from underserved communities, and we began exploring partnerships with organizations like Women of Color in Pharma to provide employees with learning and development opportunities. This work, too, started from a place of uncomfortable education and awareness.

George Floyd was not the first, and unfortunately will not be the last, murder blanketed in injustice. The fight for a more equitable world starts inside the four walls where we spend our time – with our family, with our friends, with our co-workers. Within Blueprint Medicines’ walls, we’ve made great strides, but we are just getting started.

As we continue on our ED&I journey, we welcome all to step into the movement for real, sustainable change. Like our CEO Jeff Albers says, “We can go further and faster together than we can apart.”


Jessica Kline
Director of Internal Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, Blueprint Medicines

Jessica has held various roles across communications in both information technology and biotechnology. In 2019, she joined Blueprint Medicines to design the internal and brand communications capabilities and today is continuing a focus on all-things employee, change, executive and brand communications while developing Blueprint’s corporate social responsibility strategy and co-leading Equity, Diversity & Inclusion efforts.  Since joining, Blueprint has evolved into a leading precision medicine company with a global, fully integrated business; signaling the organization’s ability to maintain a highly engaged and performing culture through rapid change. Prior to joining Blueprint, Jessica worked on the Global Communications team at Dell Technologies where she held various roles across internal communications, digital communications and executive communications, including working on the integration team for the Dell-EMC merger and driving 360° communications for the President of Dell Technologies’ largest organization. Jessica earned a B.S. in business administration from Bryant University, a M.S. in corporate and organizational communication from Northeastern University and is an active member of Ragan’s Crisis Communications and Communications Leadership councils.

Rizwana Seeham
Senior Manager of GMP Quality Assurance & ED&I, Blueprint Medicines

Rizwana sits within a dual role at Blueprint Medicines where her time is flexed between Quality Assurance (QA) and Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (ED&I). Rizwana joined Blueprint Medicines in 2018 to support their avapritinib program, serving as the drug product lead when the program graduated to become Blueprint’s first commercial product, both in the US and EU (commercialized as AYVAKIT (US)/AYVAKYT (EU)). Alongside her QA role, Rizwana’s responsibilities within Blueprint expanded in 2020. Rizwana now also serves as the co-chair for Blueprint’s ED&I Committee and oversees all of Blueprint’s ED&I initiatives and programs. As a Muslim, bi-racial, immigrant, who identifies as female, Rizwana strongly believes ED&I is a core element of both personal lives and work environments. With this passion, Rizwana brings perspective to Blueprint’s highly engaged and rapidly evolving culture and business model, to ensure BIPOC and other marginalized voices are consistently elevated. Rizwana earned her Bachelors in Neuroscience from Boston University and her Masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a specialization in Regulatory Affairs from George Washington University.

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