Missed Opportunities at Life Sciences Companies and Law Firms: Recognizing Implicit and Affinity Biases and Implementing Sustainable Diversity Practices to Move Forward

July 28, 2016 2:45pm

Elizabeth R. Salib Ph.D.
Director, Research
Catalyst Inc.

Marta E. Gross
Goodwin Procter LLP (New York, NY)

Vinita Ferrera
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

Judy Jarecki-Black
Global Head, Intellectual Property
Merial, Inc. (Duluth, GA)

Sonia Chen Arnold
Assistant General Counsel – Litigation and Legal Compliance
Eli Lilly and Company (Indianapolis, IN)

  • Acknowledging seemingly commonplace or unconsciously biased attitudes, even amongst women, which may be more damaging than overt acts of discrimination to careers and the bottom lines of businesses
    • Confronting our own potential biases in addition to facing down the biases of others’
    • Intersectionality: Acknowledging and respecting diversity of all kinds in the life sciences community including gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, familial status, and age
  • Taking a hard look at the data of representation of women throughout the law
    • Interpreting the statistics on gender and pay gap
    • Where are the red flags and where are we improving?
    • Exploring why law firms seemingly struggle more than corporate and government entities in obtaining, supporting, maintaining, and promoting women in the upper management/hierarchy
  • Designing and carrying out policies to ensure that traditionally underrepresented groups have a voice in the community and a path to success at life sciences companies and the law firms representing them
    • Discussing which diversity initiatives currently in place are working and which aren’t
    • Going beyond a stated commitment to diversity to action in inclusive leadership: plans and action items to maintain an inclusive community