A truly equal and open environment begins in the heart of each and every one of us. Diversity and inclusion initiatives are important as guidelines and goals, but it takes individual action and commitment to make zero racism a reality. It sounds easy – perhaps even simplistic – but as humans, moving beyond our own perspective, background and social circles is key.
We all have a role to play in combating racism. My approach: I try to avoid judging external events or controversial situations, and I work to focus as much as possible in the environment where I can make a direct impact. How can I better serve those around me?
I try to emphasize my own responsibility – my human fallibility. We all have the capability and potential to be good neighbors. But we all have the potential to be petty, to be selfish, and to not take the right actions or attitudes. So when we see things differently, or have differences of opinions or different beliefs, it isn't about “us” and “them.” It’s about all of us coming together to understand different perspectives, or different types of people, and using those varied facets to create a better environment.
Diversity is the visible and invisible differences that exist among all people. But a culture where everyone is respected, belongs, and can thrive is diverse and inclusive. Advocating for another and fostering belonging is key to inclusion.
If you’ve ever been the new kid at school, the new hire, or the new neighbor, think of those who reached out to you first to connect. Think of how that made you feel, and be like them. Look around you now. Who could use a boost? Give it!
I try to avoid anger, outrage, and manage fear; and instead try to lead with humility and love. I learned this from those around me over my life. One example? Early in my career as a leader, a young Black man came to me and shared his own experience of growing up and starting a career. His experience was very different from my experience. He didn't share this with anger or judgement. He did it with humility and love – love of people and also enough confidence in me to be willing to share his perspective and invest in me. He changed my mind about a lot of things with that approach.
What he taught me most: love changes minds more than anger changes minds.
Roche is committed to creating and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment in which every individual employee feels valued, respected and can contribute to their full potential. In November, Roche celebrates D&I month globally, across more than 90,000 employees, nearly 170 nationalities and multiple generations.