MassBio is thrilled to welcome Edie M. Stringfellow as our first Director of Diversity & Inclusion. As we often argue, diversity and inclusion should not be just another initiative, but placed at the core of everything a company does. With this new position, MassBio is leading by example – making diversity and inclusion part of everything we do, but more importantly, using our position as an industry leader to encourage companies to do the same. Below is a blog from Edie where she outlines why she’s so excited to dive into this role and what’s next at MassBio.
As someone who grew up in a multi-ethic, multi-racial, mixed-income neighborhood in Chicago, I learned the value of altruism, acceptance and appreciation at an early age. As a community, we looked out for each other and told time by the street lights. We were doctors, lawyers, plumbers and teachers. You can only imagine the conversations we had during block parties!
I am very fortunate to have grown up in a diverse setting and have had the opportunity to work in varied roles within several different industries. Prior to working in healthcare, my career journey has always included helping others. It didn’t matter if I was working in country music or in consumer goods; in business development or marketing, I exuded that we can make each other better. At my core, I am committed to magnanimity and inclusion.
When I interviewed for the MassBio Director of Diversity and Inclusion position, I was prepared to talk about my resume, professional background, and give the top 10 buzzwords why I would be perfect for the position. I was caught off-guard when instead I was asked about what life experiences shaped my beliefs as well as the challenges I have faced and how I approached and overcame them. It was clear that they cared more about my ideas and thoughts than the words on my resume.
Throughout the interview process it became clear to me that MassBio really is committed to improving diversity and inclusion. The best indication of that commitment is how they are leading by example. Our leaders will not sit on all-male panels. We won’t host any events where the panelists are all male. 50% of all the new board members being elected at this year’s Annual Meeting are women; and, this is just the beginning. Authentic inclusion is at the heart at what we do. Now, we want to expand it throughout the industry. Together, we can all have inclusion at the leadership level, board level and on the frontline to serve the patient community.
Looking forward, we will support our members, industry partners and other associations by developing and disseminating D&I best practices, while working with organizations who are already doing well in this area to expand our collective impact. We will encourage companies to embed D&I in their growth strategies and culture; and to lead from the top and not by HR alone. We will spread the message that while diversity is critical for strategy and business, it also has a positive effect on patient care.
Across the board, we know how much life sciences executives want to remove the barriers that hinder organizational growth and to develop the aptitudes to guide, inspire and motivate their squads to their fullest capabilities. Every MassBio member, no matter the size or the type of organization, has the capability to influence change. I invite all members to tell us how we may better support you regarding your D&I initiatives and recommend ways we may improve our association to enhance the return of your investment as members of MassBio. I look forward to working with you all.