Corporate culture that embraces diversity and inclusion ultimately links to corporate performance. McKinsey’s Diversity Matters report reveals that organizations in the top quartile for diversity are more likely to outperform their non-diverse counterparts. Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform, whereas ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform.
At AbbVie, having a diverse and inclusive culture is a business imperative. Developing and bringing innovative, life-changing medicines to patients requires diversity of thoughts and perspectives. We serve diverse patient populations and it is very important that as a company, we reflect their diversity and represent their voices.
AbbVie Asia covers 15 countries embracing the social and cultural diversity with full of opportunities to explore. We are a collection of dynamic, dedicated, and passionate people working together to solve tough challenges in health care. Across Asia, we have driven the innovation and leadership in immunology, virology, oncology and the like with our best-in-class or first-in-class medicines to transform our patients’ lives by addressing their unmet needs.
AbbVie in Asia has also been a role model of a region not only for the strong performance, but also for the people and culture development. Women represent more than half of the workforce cohort in Asia. More than half of Asia leadership team are women and the leaders have various ethnical background from China, Taiwan, India, Korea, Philippines, UK and the like.
The culture of diversity and inclusion that we have built in Asia empowering women leaders and embracing different backgrounds have innovated the ways we work. Bringing diverse people together with different point of view has driven a collaborative environment where insights are sparked, ideas can thrive, and barriers can be broken. We believe this is the key to advancing our talents, our pipeline and patients’ access and driving our innovation, sustainable business, and continuous growth.
Empowering women leaders is consistent with AbbVie’s Principle on Diversity and Inclusion. By running various initiatives and programs, we encourage our employees to have an opportunity to build a community that fosters a diverse and inclusive environment. Globally, we have the AbbVie Women Leaders in Action (WLA) – a group for women leaders to be powerful catalysts that enable and empower women employees to reach their full potential. It creates opportunities to empower women of all ages and builds the leaders of tomorrow.
In Asia, we encouraged all leaders to attend the company’s inclusive leadership program and learn how to manage diversity in their teams, avoid unconscious bias and foster an inclusive culture. We want our leaders to value both our individual and collective differences and actively engage with their team regardless of gender to exchange or build on ideas to solve our complex and business problems.
AbbVie provides women’s leadership empowerment activities in each region. We have targeted local programs to build awareness and educate employees because Asia as a region has a plethora of cultural characteristics. For instance, we dedicate March as a ‘Diversity Month’ to build awareness in recognition of the International Women’s Day in India. As part of the program, we hold panel discussions with internal leaders for best practices and external speakers who are recognized leaders to talk about gender diversity. Through the panel discussion, we encourage women to speak up.
AbbVie’s initiatives and programs help recognize and amplify each individual’s potential so that she can show her full capabilities. Under the principles of diversity and inclusion, I had opportunities to grow my career. In 2011, I joined Abbott in Taiwan as General Manager with various and broad experience across different functions such as sales, marketing, regulatory affairs and HR. AbbVie was formed as a new global biopharmaceutical company in 2013, separated from Abbott. In 2016, I was promoted to Vice President of AbbVie Asia. This region currently consists of fifteen markets with over 1,000 employees from Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, India, and Asia’s emerging markets.
Having leadership based on diversity and inclusion is not taking the path that has already been taken. We should proactively step up to the plate, not just sitting idle and settling on the status quo. If someone asks me any advice on becoming a female leader, I would like to say the following.
First of all, be brave, be bold, and be fearless. This is what I strongly believe in and a statement that I want to share with women. If someone is looking to be a leader at AbbVie, I would like to say that you should take advantage of what AbbVie has to offer to all our employees to find your voice and bring your best to the team.
Second, be a role model at work and at home. We all have challenges to deal with at the workplace. Still, we can be empathetic and supportive to another colleague who may be discouraged or disheartened perhaps due to a gender or family related issue or whatever it may be. We can be role models for our children as well. Under the COVID-19 outbreak, many of us had to work from home. Our children will be able to observe their mothers working from home and be more aware of the challenges of the roles women play at work, not just at home.
Lastly, we need the support of our loved ones to be a leader. To share my experience, when I had to put in extra hours and balance different priorities, when I made the move in my career to relocate to another country, I would not have been able to do so without the support of my parents, my husband and children. These social support systems are as important to our success as leaders.
Being recognized for potential as a woman and becoming a leader is not just about gender. By fully embracing diversity and inclusion in our society and organizations, we will achieve our best and lead our growth by fostering an environment of learning and complementing one another, strengthening our ability to innovate, and maximizing our potential.
Peggy Wu is Vice President of AbbVie Asia. Based in Singapore where the regional office is located, Peggy manages fifteen markets in the region including Korea, Taiwan, South east Asia, India region and Asia emerging markets, leading commercial and product strategy, marketing and P&L. Currently Asia region is the number one region of revenue in AbbVie globally.
Peggy was most recently General Manager at AbbVie Taiwan. She joined Abbott Taiwan in 2011 as General Manager. Peggy started her career with Eli Lilly Taiwan, advancing to several management positions across different functions and countries covering sales, marketing, regulatory and Humor Resource. This included an international marketing role based in Indianapolis. Peggy led the company’s operations in Thailand and Vietnam as General Manager before moving to Abbott.
Peggy holds an MBA from National Cheng Chi University in Taiwan after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from Taipei Medical University.