7th Annual Women’s Summit Challenges Employees to Believe, Lead, Change

Earlier this month, more than 2,000 AstraZeneca and MedImmune employees from across the country tuned into our 7th Annual Women’s Summit, which was broadcasted from our sites in Gaithersburg, MD; Wilmington, DE; and Mt. Vernon, IN. The event is open to women and men at all levels of the organization and emphasizes the power that individuals have to improve collective performance when they harness their diverse strengths. To help employees put this concept into practice, internal and external speakers provided personal insights from their own lives around this year’s theme, “Believe, Lead, Change.”

Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, AstraZeneca and Head of MedImmune, began the day by challenging employees to believe in their vision even when challenges present themselves. She noted that “Anyone can manage, but leaders appear in times of difficulty.”

Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s first African-American female combat pilot, shared insights from her time on the battlefield in the Marines. FlyGirl challenged everyone to “live gutsy” and reminded employees “it’s how we engage during disruption to the course that is important…we all have obstacles and it is critical that we acknowledge them, but don’t give them power.”

Selena Rezvani, recognized speaker, consultant and author, reinforced that “you serve no one when you dim your unique personal brand.” She challenged employees to identify their niche at the intersection of personal passion, unique skills and strengths, and company values.

Nicki Moore, Vice President and Director of Athletics at Colgate University, a division one school, shared reflections from her career path rising through the college sports sector. She reflected on the many times when her vision of “gold” was moved by outside forces, and emphasized the importance of her accept and adjust philosophy to be able to move forward and achieve new heights. 

The event also offered opportunities to network and to hear from AstraZeneca and MedImmune leaders about their own experiences and values. In Wilmington, Ruud Dobber, President, AstraZeneca US and Executive Vice President, North America, contributed to a panel discussion about personal career growth with a cross section of US employees.

In Gaithersburg, Bahija Jallal and Fiona Cicconi, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, took questions during an open mic session, exploring career navigation and their perspectives as females in leadership.

To close out the day, participants heard from Robin LaChappelle, Human Resources Vice President MedImmune, and AstraZeneca US Human Resources Country Lead. Robin shared data illustrating the positive trends in increasing gender diversity at all levels of the company and reiterated the continued commitment of our leadership teams to support inclusion and diversity. 

This Summit is an employee-driven, grassroots event, which began seven years ago at the suggestion of a few scientists and has grown into a flagship program for all employees to drive innovation. In addition to the US and UK, employees have hosted Women’s Summits in Gothenburg, Sweden and Sao Paolo, Brazil, and we look forward to continued growth and engagement in this important initiative in future years. Many thanks to all involved employees for the lively discussions across our sites and for capturing so many great photos for us to share. 


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