Parexel: Leveraging Gender Partnership to Advance Women in Leadership (Practices)Jan 19, 2022
In 2014, Parexel leadership realized that despite having healthy representation of women at the manager-and-below level, women were not progressing from the senior director to vice president level at the pace they would like. One of the actions the company took in response was to hire its first Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Aida Sabo. Under Ms. Sabo’s leadership, the company launched an initiative aimed at increasing its representation of women leaders at the highest levels by building a culture of inclusion from the top down.
Oversight of Parexel’s Women in Leadership initiative sits with the company’s Diversity Executive Committee (DEC), which includes several members of the Parexel Executive Leadership Team and the DEI department. This group meets quarterly to review goals, activities, and leadership representation data. Information from the DEC is funneled down to company-wide committees, which prioritize activities based on the organization’s strategic goals. These company-wide committees are sponsored by designated leaders and cover a range of subject matters, functions, and regions to address the unique needs of each.
Highlights of Parexel’s initiative:
- Wisdom Circle and Women in Leadership programs assist women in building the robust internal network that is crucial to advancement. Both programs successfully engage men as mentors, sponsors, and champions, leveraging their experience and participation in training programs for men, including Catalyst’s MARC and Parexel’s Changemakers.
- CEO Jamie Macdonald and Parexel’s executive committee continue to lead a profound change in senior leadership culture by bringing in high-profile external speakers and providing unconscious bias training for the senior leadership team. These efforts have enabled leadership to recognize their own biases in a safe and supportive environment. The culture change at the senior leadership level has permeated throughout Parexel across regions, functions, and levels.
- Parexel’s work is global, with regional DEI committees established to develop and execute strategies reflective of the concerns and needs of their regions.
- Parexel has stressed and focused on diversity among its clinical trial participants to create pharmaceutical products that are safe and effective for the populations that use them.
The representation of women globally among senior leadership ranks has increased across each job band level between 2014 and 2021. Particularly noteworthy are the increases at the senior vice president level from 13.3% to 38.8% and from 32.3% to 50.3% at the vice president level during this timeframe. In addition, in the United States, representation of women of color in Parexel’s workforce increased across several job levels, including an increase from 0% to 10% at the SVP level (10 percentage points) and 3.3% to 14.8% (11.5 percentage points) at the VP level. Parexel’s new board is comprised of 57% women and 29% women of color.
Parexel supports the development of innovative new medicines to improve the health of patients. We provide services to help life sciences and biopharmaceutical clients everywhere transform scientific discoveries into new treatments. From decentralized clinical trials to regulatory consulting services to leveraging real world insights, our therapeutic, technical, and functional ability is underpinned by a deep conviction in what we do. For more information, visit parexel.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
To learn more, download the full report on this Award-winning initiative.