Last week, Takeda held a Memorial Day ceremony at the Cambridge, MA office. We spoke with Mark O’Rourke, Esq., Director, State Government Affairs, about what Takeda is doing to support veterans and the importance of diversity and inclusion in the life sciences. Mark is an U.S. Army Veteran and the Chair of STRIVE.
Please share with us why you think it’s so important for life sciences companies like Takeda to support military veterans?
Recruiting and hiring talented men and women who have selflessly served our nation is not only a privilege, it is simply smart business. These diverse and capable individuals possess a proven track record of excellence and exceptional organizational skills that are readily transferrable to the biopharmaceutical industry.
Veterans are expert problem solvers who have been afforded extensive leadership training across a wide spectrum of disciplines. Veterans are also adept at mentoring leaders and employees at all levels of development and, in receiving and providing feedback. They simply know how to accomplish the mission as they are decisive and proficient decision makers who understand how to make the complex, simple. And, their ethos is to always do the right thing while delivering superior results.
What are their strongest attributes?
The strongest attributes of our veteran employees reflect the company values of Takeda-ism — integrity, fairness, honesty and perseverance. Veterans embody these values, which reflect the founding spirit that is integral to our 237-year-old company and its mission of striving towards better health and a brighter future for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Veterans are known for keeping their word; for exhibiting utmost good faith; for their persistent follow-through; and, for accomplishing the mission. These notable attributes not only demonstrate “Takeda-ism”, but underscore our four priorities:
- Putting the patient at the center of all that we do at Takeda
- Building trust with society
- Reinforcing our reputation
- Developing the business
What are some of their roles?
Veterans are employed at all of Takeda’s facilities and locations throughout the United States and at all levels of responsibility in the company. STRIVE’s leadership team has Government & External Affairs experts at the state and federal levels; senior leaders in Global Outcomes Research; senior clinical scientists; leaders in the commercial organization; systems engineers in Drug Safety & Evaluation; medical directors and leaders in Global Patient Safety Evaluation; managers in Global Regulatory Affairs Development; and, leaders responsible for Security, Logistics and Facilities.
Do you have a specific program for veteran employees? Or an Employee Resource Group?
Yes. Takeda’s veteran-oriented Employee Resource Group (ERG) which is known as STRIVE (Supporting Troops and Inspiring Veteran Engagement), is committed to serving veterans, their families, and caregivers. Takeda first introduced ERGs in December 2014 to support all employees and their wide-ranging interests and priorities. ERGs consist of individuals with shared characteristics and life experiences as well as allies and advocates who support the core values of the group. ERGs offer employees community, camaraderie, and meaningful connections to the organization, giving them a true sense of belonging.
Reflecting its commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace as part of its culture, Takeda is proud to have seven ERGs across the United States that foster considerable employee interest and engagement:
- AACE (African American Cultivating Cross-Cultural Engagement)
- La Voz (‘The Voice” – Latinos and Allies)
- PACT (Parents and Caregivers at Takeda)
- STRIVE (Supporting Troops and Inspiring Veteran Engagement)
- Takeda Pride (LGTBQ and Allies)
- WIN (Women’s Inclusion Network)
- IGNITE (Young Professionals)
STRIVE, Takeda’s largest ERG in the United States with 400-plus members, has four principal pillars – Service; Charitable Support; Learning & Development; and, Recruitment & Hiring – which guide its activities and programming. All Takeda employees are welcome to participate in STRIVE. One does not need to be a veteran to join. In fact, many STRIVE members are the spouse, parent, adult child or family member of veterans or members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Is Takeda doing anything else to support veterans and their families?
All Takeda employees are welcome to join STRIVE as one does not need to be a veteran. In fact, many STRIVE members are the spouse, parent, adult child or family member of veterans and/or active members of the U.S. Armed Forces. For example, STRIVE has sought to help spouses during deployments as well as with the crucial skills of resume writing, job searches and interviewing.
Takeda is also committed to supporting employees who are members of the Guard and Reserve when an employee is called to active service; Takeda maintains the employee’s full benefits during the entirety of the deployment and pays the difference between the employee’s military and base pay for up to 12 months. This extraordinary support is one example of the unparalleled lengths that Takeda goes to demonstrate its genuine commitment to military personnel, their families and caregivers.
Any last thoughts?
Takeda is proud of its commitment to the recruitment and hiring of our nation’s veterans, who, over the years, have made invaluable contributions to its success as its seeks to become one of the very best global biopharmaceutical companies. STRIVE’s commitment to serving society and the nation – with a clear focus on veterans – flows directly from Takeda’s commitment to creating better health and a brighter future for patients, their families, and caregivers.
Takeda’s Chris L. Pashos, Ph.D., Vice President, Global Outcomes Research at Takeda contributed to the story. He is the Executive Sponsor for STRIVE; an U.S. Navy Veteran and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.