Views from Juan Ramón Alaix, CEO of Zoetis
At Zoetis, diversity and inclusion has always been an important part of who we are as a company and a critical element of our success. It remains a recurring topic that all global business leaders grapple with as they try to shape corporate cultures – cultures that respect individuals, create a unity of purpose, and produce results for business and society.
In reflecting on Zoetis’ philosophy around diversity and inclusion, I would like to share how our company builds on the differences among our people and collaborates across markets and functions to remain strong in today’s changing world.
Developing a Culture that Respects Diversity
When we became Zoetis in 2013, we had the opportunity to set our own deliberate path for building a diverse and talented organization, using an open and inclusive mindset and four key approaches.
- Appointing a diverse executive team. Not only do we have very talented individuals in each position on our leadership team, we also have leaders who come from different backgrounds and experiences, hold various opinions and work styles, and identify with different ethnicities, heritages and cultures. I believe that the unique viewpoints we each bring to the table enable our team to challenge each other and arrive at the best possible decisions for our customers, colleagues and shareholders. It’s an approach to diversity – and an appreciation of different viewpoints – that we try to emulate throughout our company.
In addition to our unique perspectives, our executive team proudly owns diversity and inclusion in our company. They make sure diversity is embedded in our culture at every level, valued in the way we operate and engage with each other, and respected by colleagues across Zoetis.
Many of our executive team members have been recognized for their leadership in diversity and inclusion by external organizations. Cathy Knupp, EVP and President of Research and Development, and Kristin Peck, EVP and Group President, were both honored as recipients of the Feather In Her Cap Award in 2018 and 2019, respectively, for their contributions, leadership and mentorship of women in the animal health industry. Heidi Chen, EVP and General Counsel, received the Justice in Action Award from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) for her achievements and efforts in advancing social justice in the U.S. And, EVP and Group President Clint Lewis has been recognized by Black Enterprise magazine as one of its 300 most powerful executives and Savoy magazine as one of the Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.
- Establishing programs, policies and practices focused on diversity and inclusion. We have worked to ensure there is an open dialogue around diversity and inclusion in our organization, supported by programs, policies and practices that protect and promote this important part of our culture. We want all our colleagues to feel included and valued by the company and its colleagues, and we recognize it is a continuous journey. Beyond the foundational policies that we hold ourselves accountable to, we proactively identify gaps and take action to ensure we are building a talented, diverse and inclusive pipeline of future leaders. This is especially evident in our talent planning and recruitment efforts, which are designed to identify where we need to focus on diversity and address our opportunities.
- Empowering colleagues to identify needs and take action. In line with our Core Belief of “Run it Like You Own It,” we have encouraged our colleagues to initiate actions that support diversity within our company. For example, our Zoetis Women’s Council was established by colleagues, and it has thrived and grown as a forum for rich discussions and workshops with the support of our leaders. Colleagues around the world at Zoetis share our passion for diversity and inclusion and promote this thinking in their workplaces in various ways, such as organizing guest speakers for fellow colleagues, attending conferences, and sponsoring events in their communities that advance diversity and inclusion.
- Cultivating a flexible & inclusive workplace. Finally, one of the most powerful ways diversity has flourished at Zoetis is through our award-winning work environment. We have worked hard to promote an open, flexible and collaborative workplace. Our colleagues are empowered to balance personal and professional success, while taking on challenges and experiences that help them reach their career goals. We promote special advancement programs for employees, including mentoring, leadership development programs and work-life balance initiatives. We have been recognized by Working Mother magazine, Forbes, The National Association of Female Executives (NAFE), and other publications as a great workplace. As a global company, this is especially important as we work across borders and cultures toward the same objectives, while respecting and celebrating everyone’s individuality.
I’m extremely proud of the diverse business we have built at Zoetis. As we move forward in today’s ever-changing world, diversity and inclusion will continue to be a critical aspect of Zoetis – and any successful global business. I’m confident that through the leadership of our colleagues and the Zoetis executive team, we’ll continue to strengthen diversity and inclusion as part of our culture and keep Zoetis strong for years to come.