Celebrating Cultural Diversity at Teva
At Teva, our success is dependent on our people.
From making sure almost 200 million people worldwide continue to have access to our medicines every day to helping fight the “invisible epidemic” of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, stroke and heart disease, every time we succeed it’s down to the dedication of our teams.
We aspire to have a workforce that is representative of the communities we serve and the world at large because we believe that a diverse workforce drives innovation and creativity.
Diversity makes us stronger - we only need to look at our history to prove it.
“Teva's evolution over the past 120 years was strengthened whenever it was more inclusive and brought more diversity into the business. And when I speak of diversity, it is at its broadest sense - regional, markets, minorities in all senses, race, gender, age - I could go on and on.”
Mark Sabag, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and Global Communications & Brand
At Teva, we work to recruit and develop employees of diverse backgrounds and create an inclusive environment in which all voices are heard and all employees realize their potential – no matter who they are or where they come from.
“There are still places in the world where women are not equal. It is important that we all, women and men, fight to make sure people are treated the same in all aspects. If things have improved in terms of equality, it’s because, in my opinion, women are doing it for themselves.”
Romana Santar, Head of API Production in Europe and General Manager of Teva’s manufacturing facility in Zagreb, Croatia
Of course, there is still work to be done, particularly in the area of management representation. Across the world, white men account for the highest percentage of corporate leadership at the majority of global corporations. To take just one example, women represent 45% of the Teva workforce, but there is insufficient representation at management levels.
As Mark Sabag explains: “Like many other companies, we are struggling with what they call the leaky pipeline for women in leadership. Our focus, therefore, is to gradually close this gap and we have developed a holistic approach to address it.”
Mentoring and on-the-job support is strongly encouraged at Teva and Teva Europe is developing a mentoring program to foster inclusion across leadership, which will create a pipeline for employees of different levels and encourage talent diversity.
“I try to help the women in my site become more confident, because I know they can do a great job. A common problem for women is that if we don’t believe that we are 100% capable of doing a job, we sometimes don’t try. If a man thinks they can do 70%, they will often go for it and figure the rest out later.”
Sara Zavaleta, Head of Supply Chain, Florida
Last year, Teva appointed Janine Jansen as Senior Director Inclusion and Diversity in North America to provide strategic counsel and thought leadership on Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) initiatives and strengthen efforts to define, assess and foster I&D. Internally, several Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have been set up for US employees, including people working with disabilities, from the LGBTQ+ community as well as those from Black, Asian and Hispanic/Latino heritage.
It’s an important move against a backdrop of rising hate crimes globally, particularly anti-Asian hate crime often linked to the pandemic.
Speaking at a recent TevaTalk, CEO and founder of Inspiring Diversity Betty Ng explained that it is up to each individual to build bridges and create an inclusive culture, starting right now.
“You don’t build a bridge the day you need it. We need to start to work on building inclusive and diverse relationships, because we can all benefit from them, no matter who we are.”
A recent ERG Black Heritage professional development meeting invited panellists from across the business to give insights into their career histories, promoting an open discussion about the difficulties of progression, but also the opportunities and in particular, the importance of networking, mentoring and sponsorships.
Speaking about her initial arrival in the United States, Janet Vaughn, Vice President, North America Generics Regulatory Affairs, recalled: “When I first came to the US, someone told me something that I should always remember. I am an immigrant. I am black. I am female. I am not tall. This meant I had to work four times harder than others because I had these four things against me.”
Sheila Jo Mikhail, Vice President Global Analytics and Data Management, says there are important opportunities available at a company the size of Teva, “where you can try lots of different things without leaving the business”.
For Richard Glaze, Vice President of Global IT, feedback was the most important thing that allowed his career to progress.
“To be really helpful, feedback needs to be direct. Before I started working at Teva, I remember a time when I received some feedback and it was probably one of the worst days of my life. But it really helped. You need to hear the negative stuff if you want to continue to move forward.”
Challenging perceptions continues to be important – and is also a way of inspiring people all around the world.
“Sometimes, people presume I will be a man before I meet them, especially as I have a Spanish name so they don’t necessarily know what gender I am. I’ve had people assume my male colleague was the vice-president and I was his assistant. They were really embarrassed when they found out it was actually the other way around and very apologetic about it. I was quite amused.”
Mar Gimeno, VP Global Planning & Transformation Global Supply Chain
At Teva, we continue to strive to deepen our culture of inclusion. And when we are talking about inclusion, we are talking about belonging.
“Think of a time you felt left out—it leaves a mark on you. Unconscious biases, those underlying attitudes and stereotypes that people unconsciously attribute to others, can permeate our thinking and our people processes. It's important to examine these to remove any systemic bias that may exist.” Mark Sabag
It’s not an easy path. In the words of Betty Ng, “No one company or no one person is perfect. Building diversity and inclusion is a long journey and even when we succeed, the journey must still continue”.
We will continue steadfastly on the journey. As Janine Jansen says: “When we ensure every voice is heard we are advocating for the best solution through our differences”.