Boston Scientific EMEA hosts successful IWD multi-site video conference
July 23, 2019
Diversity is one of Boston Scientific's core values. With over 2,000 employees in 20+ offices across its EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) region, Boston Scientific is a very diverse organization that spans many cultures, languages and disciplines to improve the lives of patients every day. So it is no surprise that the Company supports a focus on gender diversity and balance.
2019 marked the first year that Boston Scientific EMEA widely celebrated International Women’s Day, uniting its employees through an inclusive and accessible multi-site videoconference. The day was recognized across the region with hundreds of employees participating in celebrations, and taking the opportunity to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness, and reinforce the Company's commitment to diversity and inclusion.
It was a day for unity, reflection, recognition, advocacy and action.
Launching EMEA's chapter of Global Women's Network
Although Boston Scientific has been making progress, it recognizes that there is still work to do as women remain underrepresented in leadership positions across industries and around the world.
When Boston Scientific looked at senior management positions across the Company, only 1 out of 3 is held by a woman, and only in 1 in 8 executive officers are female. Particularly, as the Company works in the Medical Device industry, it knows that it needs a truly diverse and gender-balanced workplace to bring innovation and solutions to the very diverse population of patients and healthcare professionals it supplies.
This is why Boston Scientific supports several employee resource groups, including a Global Women’s Network, and recently launched “LeadHer”, the EMEA regional chapter. This group seeks to provide social connection, support, and motivation to create lasting intellectual, professional, and financial results for female participants.
Boston Scientific EMEA knew that International Women’s Day provided a perfect opportunity to formally launch its regional chapter and wanted to reach as many employees as possible.
A video conference connecting over 300 employees
Through careful planning, LeadHer considered the best way to maximize engagement, inspire women and generate interest in network membership, considering the disperse and remote nature of its workforce. They opted for a multi-site video conference with the support of their IT resources. They connected over 300 people gathered in seven conference rooms across different countries for a live and interactive hour-long event, followed by a range of site-specific activities: town halls, motivational speakers, general celebrations and networking.
The multi-site event included a powerful introductory video celebrating the achievements and progress made by women. It reminded people how far women have come, and how impactful they have been on society. But it also reminded people that they have not yet achieved gender parity in the boardroom, politics, sports coverage, wealth distribution, and so on.
The video served as a call to action to attendees and prospective LeadHer members to get involved in the efforts towards a more gender-balanced world and Boston Scientific.
Involving the audience in important gender discussions
After showing the introductory video, a polling tool was used to involve the audience in important discussion. They tested their awareness of gender bias in the workplace, focusing on the gender pay gap and continued underrepresentation of women in various aspects of society, as well as within executive positions both around the world and at Boston Scientific.
After formally kicking off LeadHer and sharing its vision and strategy, the audience provided input on what barriers they face in their career progression, which topics are important to them, and what expectations they have of the Women’s Network. This second segment was crucial in helping LeadHer to design its long-term strategy and success.
Recognizing the importance of male allies and senior leaders
LeadHer ensured that its IWD event was inclusive of both men and women, and specifically welcomed and urged men to join the cause. They recognize the importance of male allies and believes they are key to the ongoing strategy of creating more opportunities for women.
By including in the LeadHer Core Team the positions of Male Ally Leader and Awareness Champion, together with the sponsorship of senior male leaders, LeadHer hopes together to advance gender balance within Boston Scientific EMEA.
IWD provided a great opportunity to advertise the LeadHer launch event via various channels, including on plasma TV screens across office sites within the region leading up to the event.
The #BalanceforBetter hashtag along with pictures of the theme's pose were used extensively by employees from countries far and wide and shared via Yammer, LinkedIn and other internal and external portals and social networks, both preceding and following the event. The event and photos were then spotlighted in the next version of the Boston Scientific EMEA newsletter.
Across the region, from as far away as South Africa, Greece and Dubai, Boston Scientific showed its support by wearing purple and by sharing photos with the #BalanceforBetter pose. The Company embraced the campaign theme and reminded everyone that a balanced world is a better world, and that gender balance is essential for its economies and communities to thrive.
An ongoing commitment to gender equality beyond IWD
Since the event, many have been inspired to join LeadHer’s cause. Employees from locations not initially in the scope of the region’s roll-out strategy reached out to get involved in future events. Over 250 people have joined its internal social network so they can actively share and be exposed to useful and interesting articles, videos, events, and so on and look to each other for support, mentoring and networking, while others volunteered to fill vacant roles on its Core Team or asked how they could help.
Encouraged by the success of its IWD campaign, LeadHer has also delivered webinars on the topics of the gender pay gap, women in the field of Cardiology, and introduced the “Lessons from LeadHers” series, with senior female leaders sharing everything from work/life balance tips and tricks to career-pathing and networking advice. These events have welcomed hundreds of participants and united its employee body. Further plans are under way at the EMEA and local levels to provide tools and resources, and to begin engaging externally within Boston Scientific's communities.
IWD has truly made a positive impact on Boston Scientific EMEA - and they are truly striving to make a positive difference to the lives of their employees.