Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Embracing Diversity and Cultural Identities at Gilead


Upon embarking on her engineering career, Vicky Choi noticed a notable representation of women and Asian individuals in the field. However, she also observed a lack of Asian women in higher-ranking positions and leadership roles. Recognizing this disparity, Vicky perceived it as an opportunity for her own professional advancement and embraced her Asian American background.
After completing her college education, Vicky gained valuable experience by working in Shanghai, initially at the World Expo and subsequently at the Shanghai Disney Resort. Despite her Chinese ethnicity and bilingual abilities, she realized that she still had much to learn about the local culture when engaging in significant projects in Shanghai. Nevertheless, Vicky discovered that due to the support for cultivating Asian women leaders, numerous career prospects were available to her, allowing her to thrive while working abroad.
Several years ago, Vicky became a Senior Project Manager at Gilead, and she recently received a promotion to Associate Director for Project Management in Corporate Engineering. In her new role, she oversees a team responsible for the planning, scheduling, and successful completion of new laboratory buildings that facilitate scientists' daily work. The transition into the biotech industry has brought a deeper sense of purpose to Vicky's professional endeavors.
“At Disney, it was making sure that magic is there every time somebody steps into the park,” she said. “But building a lab means making sure the scientists have the tools they need to discover therapeutics that help improve lives.”
As Vicky's career progresses, she has observed a noticeable transformation within her industry. She expresses, "Times have certainly changed. As we bring in new employees, I am witnessing a greater diversity and individuals from various backgrounds. It has been truly exhilarating to witness."
Abbey Kim, a recent addition to Vicky's department, specializes in Automation Engineering. Unlike Vicky, she ventured directly into the biotech sector after graduating from college. Abbey explains her motivation, saying, "I aspired to make a difference and derive fulfillment from my career. When I learned about Gilead's impactful history in revolutionizing HIV treatment and prevention, as well as their success in developing a cure for hepatitis C, I knew I wanted to work for a company dedicated to creating a healthier world for all individuals."
Established in 2021 amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Abbey joined Gilead as an intern, initially working remotely. However, after being hired as a full-time employee, she began working at the office. It was there that a colleague introduced her to the Gilead Asian Interest Network (GAIN), an employee resource group uniting over 1,000 Gilead members of Asian descent. GAIN aims to foster inclusivity, diversity, and professional growth while providing networking opportunities.
Abbey enthusiastically shares her experience, stating, "It has been a fantastic way for me to connect with individuals outside of my immediate department and learn about the diverse roles at Gilead. Through GAIN events, I have met professionals from lab operations, scientists, and maintenance personnel. It has helped me forge a stronger sense of belonging within the Gilead community."
Engaging with the GAIN community has also prompted Abbey to delve deeper into her identity as a Korean American woman in her field.
“I grew up in the Bay Area, where so many people around me were also Asian,” she said while noting that she didn’t face much isolation in school or at work. But when she attended a conference in Texas early in her career,
“I saw other people in my industry from across the country, and they weren’t like me at all. That was a bit of a shock. But it also gave me a different perspective and made me realize that I’m bringing something new to the table.”
Abbey has embarked on a journey of challenging ingrained beliefs from her upbringing. She reflects, "I used to believe that discussing personal struggles should be kept secret. However, upon joining Gilead and being a part of GAIN, I noticed how open people are about sharing their professional and personal challenges, as well as the steps they take to overcome them. It made a profound impact on me, and I now believe it is acceptable to acknowledge and address difficulties."
Vicky echoes Abbey's sentiments, sharing her own perspective. "As someone of Chinese heritage, we often have a tendency to work tirelessly without speaking up as much. Gilead has taught me that there are diverse approaches to work and communication that can enhance effectiveness. It's acceptable to explore different methods to discover what works best and aids personal growth."
Both Vicky and Abbey express that they have found a supportive environment at Gilead where they can pursue their career aspirations while having their cultural identities embraced rather than dismissed.
"Gilead places a strong emphasis on inclusion and diversity, which serves as a great source of motivation," said Vicky. "Irrespective of one's skin color, ethnicity, or role, I firmly believe that each individual brings unique value to the table."