By Jacqueline Maestri, Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Engineering and Property Services.
Diversity and inclusion are quite simply part of the fabric of Johnson & Johnson. The company and its leadership have always been forward looking when it comes to a diverse workforce –130 years ago when the company was founded more than half of its first employees were women. We’ve been doing multi-language advertising in the U.S. since 1912, and we continue leading D&I efforts today.
Our Credo, has guided our actions and business for 75 years and was really ahead of its time. From its realization that everyone must be “considered as an individual” and that we must “respect their dignity” and “recognize their merit” to the idea (revolutionary at the time) that there has to be “equal opportunity for employment, development and advancement” – the concepts of diversity and inclusion are embedded within the Credo. Most importantly, these are not just words written on a wall or on a website – we really strive to meet the responsibilities to our stakeholders that are laid out in the Credo and that expectation is embedded across our culture. This expectation is something you feel from your first day working at Johnson & Johnson.
I think there is an inherent belief at Johnson & Johnson that only by having different experiences at the table can we be successful in finding solutions and innovations that bring health to billions of people. There’s no way that we can be successful in helping humanity if we only have the perspectives of one group. And I really think that having that basis changes everything and influences our overall approach to how we do business.
Many companies, of course, realize that D&I is an expectation from society. They have a lot of talent programs to address it – and they are all needed and we also need to measure their effectiveness. The talent part of the equation is important. Like every other company, we have to identify, recruit, develop and advance the best and brightest people. We’re doing a lot in terms of strengthening inclusive leadership capabilities amongst our employees and becoming more aware of our unconscious biases, especially our people managers – because we know this will help shape our culture of inclusion and innovation. But the business-focused aspect of D&I is what sets us apart.
In fact, my career trajectory is an example of how we value and bring together the full array of experiences and points of view to help meet the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow. My current role is Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Engineering and Property Services. I’m responsible for providing strategic direction across Johnson & Johnson’s 1000+ properties worldwide. Before that, I was Vice President, Quality Systems and Services and had prior roles in R&D, Operations, Regulatory Affairs, Quality and Compliance. At each step – because of J&J’s expectation about bringing diverse viewpoints and experiences to the table – I was not pigeonholed into one department but was able to leverage my skills to help move the company forward in a number of seemingly disparate areas. Throughout my 27+ years at J&J, my managers focused on the merits of my business and leadership results when making decisions regarding my next role – recognizing the value of building on the diversity of experiences and backgrounds to drive further success.
I’m often asked by the many folks I mentor what my primary piece of advice is, and I always say: Keep all doors open and don’t be afraid to take on responsibilities in new areas – whether you chose them or they were chosen for you. Each experience builds on the prior one and expands your network and relationships. Don’t underestimate how translatable those leadership skills can be in multiple areas of the business. Lastly, as Latinas, we often think our good work will show for itself and are timid about sharing our successes and seeking new opportunities. So, striking the right balance between humility and confidence is key – go for it!
I am so pleased that Johnson & Johnson has been recognized as LATINA Style‘s Company of the Year. We have a long tradition of Diversity & Inclusion. But the best thing is we are continually striving to do even better and help the company, our communities and our world move forward.