Use Science, Grit, Compassion and Courage to ‘Prove the Impossible Wrong’ at Gilead Sciences

Sponsored by Gilead Sciences, Inc.

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April 17, 2024 at 6:33AM UTC

Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative medicines. For over 30 years, they’ve worked to advance medicines that both prevent and treat life-threatening diseases like HIV, viral hepatitis and cancer. 

Gilead believes that the impossible is not impossible; it simply hasn’t been achieved yet. This belief is grounded in the people who make up Gilead: the communities, partners and the over 13,500 employees who come together through science, grit, compassion and courage to prove the impossible wrong. 

But how does Gilead drive such a powerful belief? According to Jyoti Mehra, Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Gilead, they work to cultivate this spirit by ensuring a sense of belonging within teams, connecting teams with the partners and tools they need to do their jobs and helping employees feel a sense of fulfillment in what they discover and build. 

As part of this, Gilead needs “to ensure that we continue to step up as our people have, taking their wellbeing and their future to heart, continuing to invest in them to ensure they feel valued, supported and part of something so much bigger,” Mehra notes. “I look forward to the opportunities that the future brings as we work together to create a healthier, safer and more equitable world.”

Want to take a glimpse into the inclusive and welcoming world of possibilities that Gilead is creating for their employees and the globe? Read on...

The Keys to Gilead’s Success: Diversity and Inclusion

“I bring to work every day a mission to strengthen our culture of inclusivity. Having teams made up of people with different experiences and backgrounds increases diversity of thought, drives innovation and helps us achieve our mission. It also helps us reach more people who could benefit from our medicines, who themselves are an infinitely diverse group with equally diverse needs.” — Jyoti Mehra Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Gilead

To Gilead, diversity and inclusion are imperative to their success. As part of this, they have three key inclusion and diversity aspirations:

  1. Foster an inclusive culture where differences are leveraged to innovate and enable our mission.

  2. Be respected for equitable and socially responsible practices.

  3. Be the employer of choice for diverse talent.

One step Gilead has taken toward these aspirations is establishing a Global Diversity Council that is responsible for governance, tracking progress and helping further a culture of inclusion. The Global Diversity Council is chaired by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel O’Day and includes members of the Gilead Leadership Team, employee resource group (ERG) executive sponsors and ERG leads.

Speaking of ERGs, at Gilead, ERGs are viewed as an integral part of their inclusion and diversity program and are open to all employees around the world regardless of background. ERGs foster a sense of belonging and inclusion that can spark innovation, enhance business impact and accelerate employee development.

Almost 60% of Gilead employees belong to at least one of their six ERGs, demonstrating the impact and important role of these groups at Gilead in providing community and making real change. For example, the ERGs have a seat at the table with the benefits team at Gilead and have influenced many changes for their members. The Pride Alliance ERG helped champion the important change of adding broader benefits for transgender individuals at Gilead. As employees were adjusting to home schooling during the pandemic, the Women at Gilead ERG was able to champion the implementation of a stipend for childcare and elder care. They have also been able to influence the creation of part time roles, job sharing and the addition of a phased approach to returning from a leave of absence.

The Women at Gilead ERG is the largest of the ERGs at Gilead with more than 7,200 members. Gilead’s Chief Commercial Officer, Johanna Mercier, is their Executive Sponsor and is passionate about the work they do. Johanna feels so strongly about the importance of this ERG that she created a full time role for a Global lead for this ERG – currently filled by Sharon Grehan, PhD, Executive Director and recruited an Executive Sponsor Male Ally, Stu Dorman, VP.

The Women at Gilead ERG takes a data-driven approach to truly improve the lives of women at Gilead. They listen to employees to determine the specific challenges for women at Gilead and implement solutions to accelerate their career progress. Active members of this ERG are more likely to have awareness of career development opportunities and resources available to them and are more likely to have a mentor and sponsor at work and to also play those roles for others.

This ERG has also provided many community- and career-building opportunities, including:

  • A monthly series highlighting women leaders who share their stories and advice, followed by sustainment and pull through to ensure employees are taking action towards their own career development..

  • A small group mentoring program, which involves multiple groups of two senior women leading monthly meetings with eight-to-ten more junior women for mentorship and career advice throughout the year.

To continue making progress in the future, the Women at Gilead ERG has established a few actionable long- and short-term goals:

  • Short-term:

    • Increase the number of members who have mentors, sponsors and champions for their roles. 

    • Increase the proportion of women at Gilead who are aware of the opportunities available within their groups as well as the career development resources that Gilead makes available.

  • Long-term:

    • Enhance gender equity in opportunities and experiences at all levels.

    • Making Gilead the employer of choice for women, partially by using the help of external partnerships.

      • These partnerships include their partnership with Fairygodboss and resulting participation in Galvanize, where they discussed the importance of companies recognizing diverse challenges of their employees and taking an empathetic leadership approach to allow for flexible working hours and other accommodations

Gilead’s efforts to improve equality have had tangible results. Currently, Gilead’s global team is made up of 51% women, and their senior management is 44% women. Additionally, their global salary ratio for women to men is 99.78 to 100. Not only this, but, since pay parity is a serious issue to Gilead, they have commissioned an annual global pay equity study to get a more comprehensive view of pay parity across Gilead. 

Due to all of their efforts, Gilead has been recognized externally as a company of note. They’ve made Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies list, Forbes named them on their list of Best Employers for Diversity for two years in a row and more.

A people-first reaction to crises.

An example of the Gilead people-first culture in action is how they reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic. “During the pandemic, our employees moved quickly to advance a treatment for COVID-19 while also ensuring that the people who needed them received an ongoing supply of their medicine, whether that be HIV treatments or cell therapy for cancer,” explains Mehra. “These critical priorities kept moving despite a period of near-constant global disruption.”

However, at the same time, Gilead recognized the importance of making their employees a priority, as “it became more important than ever to take the time to listen to our employees, adapt to their needs and create a healthy, safe working environment,” says Mehra. To find out how they could help, Gilead relied on employee feedback and surveys, such as those conducted by the Women at Gilead ERG. 

A few of the changes and benefits Gilead implemented to aid their employees during such a stressful time are:

  • Providing a work-from-home stipend to purchase office supplies or apply the money to higher utility costs.

  • Employees with children received an additional stipend to help defray incurred expenses, such as sitter fees and virtual education materials.

  • Expanding their backup care benefits.

  • Hosting a series of coffees with our leadership team where employees could join and listen and ask any question on their mind.

  • Providing emergency evacuation services and paid disaster recovery leave and financial support for those affected by the wildfire evacuations in California.

  • Cultivating an open space where people can talk about their experiences.

  • Ensuring that all employees are aware that they can access on-demand mental health resources and free counseling sessions.

Benefits at Gilead that we think you’ll love.

To ensure that their global team is living their best lives while helping improve the lives of people everywhere, Gilead provides a wealth of competitive benefits:

  • Expanded health benefits. In the U.S., their expanded health benefits include family planning resources (such as adoption and surrogacy assistance and elective egg-freezing) and 24/7 support for working parents from pregnancy through the baby’s first year, including doula services, lactation consultants, career coaches and parenting specialists. 

  • G.Flex, which offers flexible work options using guiding principles that aim to encourage more flexible ways of working. Potential flex work options include:

    • Up to three days of work from home (WFH) for flexible- and mixed-location employees.

    • Expanded access to remote roles for flexible-location employees as part of an exceptions process.

    • The elimination of "Core Hours" and introduction of flexible hours, which empower employees and managers to set expectations and schedules that work for them and the business needs they support.  

  • Child and caretaking support to help Gilead employees and their families live their best lives.

    • Up to 12 weeks paid pregnancy leave (medical certification required)

    • Up to 12 weeks paid bonding leave

    • Up to 12 weeks paid care for another leave (spouse, child, parent and medical certification is required)

    • Backup child care

    • Tutoring for school-aged children

    • Elder care

    • Special needs care

    • Caretaking PTO

  • GMentor, their mentoring program, which helps connect mentors with mentees and provides resources to share valuable experiences and insights.

Want to help change the world for the better and improve the health of people globally as part of the Gilead team? Now’s the time — they’re hiring! Browse current opportunities and apply today via the link below!


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