Member Spotlight | Lilly: Can We Talk? Navigating Hot Topics in the Workplace

Member Spotlight | Lilly

Member Spotlight | Lilly: Can We Talk? Navigating Hot Topics in the Workplace

The following Member Spotlight highlight’s Member company, Lilly, and their popular “Can We Talk?” series. As part of this Member education, Lilly shares ways they foster a diverse and inclusive culture.

Video: What It’s Like to Be Middle Eastern in the Workplace

As a global healthcare leader in the 21st century, we unite caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We strongly believe diversity and inclusion are critical elements that enable our success at Lilly, and we recognize the key role diversity of perspectives, skills and talents play in the progress we are making as a company. One of the ways we foster an inclusive culture is by providing opportunities for employees to openly discuss and examine topics of diversity.

Several Lilly employee resource groups (ERGs) have presented a discussion series titled “Can We talk? Navigating Hot Topics in the Workplace.” This series features a respectful discourse on racial and cultural relations. The honest conversation is a breakthrough for many employees about what it means to be authentic at work and better connect with colleagues at all levels of the company on a daily basis. Other companies are replicating the panel.

The first “Can We Talk?” event was planned as a way to focus on how news events outside Lilly’s walls involving African Americans have an impact on the way people of different backgrounds interact at work. Organized by Lilly’s African American Network (AAN) ERG, the panel featured Lilly leadership and employees. The panel was moderated by consultant and former Harvard dean John Fitzgerald Gates, Ph.D., who wrote about the event in Huffington Post saying, “It was a conversation on the intersectionality of race, society and work that charted new ground for Lilly and, hopefully, the nation.” Due to the success of the first panel and multiple requests, AAN has continued the discussion during Black History Month the past two years.

Last year, the Lilly African, Middle East, Central Asia (AMECA) ERG hosted its first “Can We Talk? panel featuring colleagues and a Muslim leader who shared information about the complexities of Middle Eastern cultures and religions. Attendees learned more about what Americans of Middle Eastern heritage (Muslims and other faiths) feel and think about events in the Middle East and elsewhere (terrorism, violence, and immigration) as well as their impact on US and global policies and social change. A video shown at the event featured Lilly employees who shared their experiences and what they’d like their colleagues to know about them, their beliefs and cultures.

These talks are transformative because of candid panelists and strong audience participation. Lilly executive committee members consider these discussions revolutionary. Another “Can We Talk?” event focused on issues of immigration is expected to be held in May. Panelists on different sides of this issue will openly and respectfully talk how about how Lilly employees are affected, and how the current issues being discussed politically are creating an environment of uncertainty for some people living in the United States.

Check out additional videos Lilly has created that further displays their commitment to diversity.

About the Author

Jaime CostilowJaime Costilow is the Public Relations Manager for DirectEmployers Association.View all posts by Jaime Costilow »