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.
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.
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.
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.