The Weight of Accountability

PULSE: a decade of doing good

As I start my first day as a PULSE volunteer, I feel the weight of accountability for GSK, for my family and for the children of Philadelphia.

For GSK:

This is the only PULSE program in 2020, during a global pandemic.  Just the four of us, on this new PULSE partnership with the Philadelphia Education Fund and the US Community Partnerships team. 

What will the annual read?   

Will we have made a difference? 

Will it be enough after that amazing decade? 

I have found it quite interesting that 95% of people that I speak to ask me first WHERE I’m going on PULSE assignment, not WHAT I am doing.    It’s time to bring the “home” based assignment to the forefront of the PULSE program. Lucky for us it’s the only thing to look at this year!  I plan to give you and all that follow something good to read alongside the PULSE organization, US Community Partnerships, the Philadelphia Education Fund and my fabulous volunteer colleagues Megan, Linda and Leng.   We’ll start off with a couple of 75lb weights on the bar.

For my family:

Why would a middle-aged women with her daughter entering 8th grade and 20 years of service to GSK decide to jump out of her career trajectory with a well-established routine and into a full-time volunteer position?  Why not?   I have prayed for a way to get more directly involved in service to the community especially when most of my routine volunteer work has been cut off due to safety precautions.   As enlightening as that prayer answered is, I still feel the weight as the breadwinner and bill payer of the family.

I also have a teenage daughter to raise not only with the light of STEM and Equity, but also just regular teenage stuff.   And what about the family?  What will we change to accommodate the routine…?  The uncertainty of the future?  We’ve faced challenges before, and we’ve always found a way together.   Stack on a pair of 25lbs, but we’ve got this.

For Philly:

Philadelphia is the sixth-largest city in the nation. The region is home to the eighth-largest STEM industry hub including my home of 20 years, GSK’s Upper Merion Biopharm Campus for Development, Clinical Supply and Commercial Launch.

It’s also a city where 43% of the population is Black and 15% is LatinX.   In reflecting upon my current team, the numbers are closer than I thought.  It leads me to believe we have a decent start, but we can do so much more to get more diverse, Philly talent into our GSK pipeline.

Here’s the part where I need to listen and learn.   I know we have awesome STEM careers at GSK, but I don’t know what obstacles there are to the Black family with an 8th grader at the Edward Heston school or the LatinX family with a Sophomore at Thomas A Edison or the Female Junior at Holy Family University finding their way to those career placements.   I know once we uncover them and tackle them, Philadelphia will be unstoppable. But where do we start? Let’s go with a solid 100lbs on each side.

Photo by Leon Martinez on

So, that adds up to 445lbs (bar included).   Regardless of the lifting technique, we have reached the Elite level in Weight of Accountability.  That feels right for this opportunity.   Luckily, I used to be an athlete.   Time to shake off the rust and get to work with my strength training as I build the capability to take on each new set of weights one rank at a time for GSK, for my family and for the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective.


  1. Congrats Kim! So excited for you to be able to use your skills to help the Philly community. And one of four volunteers?! That’s really awesome and what a year to be a part of PULSE. As a proud PULSE alum, I look forward to supporting you and following your journey!!

  2. You’ve got this, Kim! The UM team and I will spot you as you lift those weights and we are cheering you on.

  3. Great 1st post Kim, thank you for getting things started! I know this isn’t a typical year, by any means, but having the STEM cohort supporting the Equity Collective means that PULSE doesn’t go dark in a year where we really need the light and all the positivity we owe a big thanks the STEM cohort. We are so excited to have you!
    I think it’s good to think about accountability but don’t let it weigh you down, you have a great team around you and a vast support network that will be there for you. You have the right mindset and the willingness to listen and learn (Don’t feed the Hippos :)). I know you’re up for the challenge and I can’t wait to hear more about your PULSE journey through these blogs. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Congratulations Kim on a monumental decision! You have our support all the way to the goal line and beyond. We have faith in our very grown daughter to lead across dark and choppy waters and accomplish amazing results!

  5. Thanks for sharing the start of your PULSE journey with us Kim. These are great reflections to kick off the start of your assignment with the STEM Equity Collective & I hope that you are able to find answers to some of these questions you have laid out.
    I do love the new infographic for the STEM cohort!!

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