AN INTERVIEW WITH ROD MACKENZIE, PHD, CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, PFIZER
Why was it critical for your organization to be involved in the Gender Parity Collaborative?
At Pfizer, we believe in the power of a diverse colleague base that feels fully included and can bring their whole self to work on our purpose: Breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. Participating in the Collaborative enables us to learn and build alignment on the changes needed to achieve gender parity in healthcare.
As the first industry consortium working to accelerate systemic change, what will lead the Collaborative to measurable positive outcomes?
Quantifiable outcomes will call for dedicated participation by a sizeable percentage of HBA’s member organizations, which in turn will call for commitment to gender parity at the highest levels of those organizations. At Pfizer we’ve made a public commitment to achieving equality; you can read our statement on our website. We encourage other HBA member companies to consider doing something similar. Posting an aspirational public statement that includes concrete goals and deadlines is a powerful way for us as employers to hold ourselves accountable.
As one of your organization’s leaders, why are you personally committed to advancing gender parity in the workplace?
As Pfizer’s Chief Development Officer, I oversee all components of our clinical development programs, including our global clinical trials. One of our core tenets is that broadening access to clinical trials is a health equity issue. As we strive to reduce health disparities in and through clinical research, we also actively work to eliminate disparities in the workplace. We’re proud that a recent third-party survey confirmed for us that Pfizer has attained parity in compensation. Now we’re focused on parity in opportunity, to open doors to leadership positions for women and underrepresented minorities. I believe that having diverse leadership will help us to better meet the needs of a diverse global patient population.
How have you benefited professionally from participating in this consortium?
I have learned and deepened my appreciation of all the complex issues associated with achieving gender parity. Most powerful is the testimony of women who have talked to us about their experiences. These are humbling for me. I realize that I had little to no understanding of corporate life as a woman or, even less, as a woman of color. Being informed simply makes me determined to take action.