Two local women are making strides to increase gender parity in the workplace, both locally and around the world.
Written by David Kindy
"I’ve been blessed and lucky,” she said. “I’m fortunate that I am in a position where I can now help other people,” says Driscoll. “I want to help people find their passion and translate that into finding the job of their dreams."
If you want to get Megan Driscoll angry, start talking about the progress women (or lack thereof) have made in reaching the corner office of corporate America. In 2014, she attended an INC 5000 conference, where she learned that only 800 or so of those businesses had female CEOs. That was the first year that her Quincy-based firm, PharmaLogics Recruiting, was ranked among the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the country.
“The audience was celebrating because there had been a one percent improvement in the numbers over the past year,” says Driscoll. “I did a quick calculation on the back of a napkin and realized that it would be sometime well past the year 2500 before female CEOs would reach 50 percent of that list. I was fuming! That’s when I decided to devote myself to changing that number through advocacy for women in leadership and pay parity.”
The Duxbury resident wasn’t satisfied being a cheerleader for the cause, so she took action. Driscoll authored articles, addressed audiences, and in June of this year she and Massachusetts State Representative Josh Cutler co-sponsored legislation—House Docket, No. 4322, An Act Relative to Equal Pay—a bi-partisan act that if signed into law would require employers to disclose the pay scale for employment positions. Armed with accurate salary information, women (and men) would be better equipped to have conversations about money with their employer and advocate for pay equality.
Driscoll doesn’t just talk the talk; she walks the walk. Fiercely competitive and hardworking, she built PharmaLogics Recruiting from a one-person shop to a major player in the field with more than 100 employees. Her stated mission for the firm? “To become the number one bio-pharmaceutical recruiting company in the world by placing top talent at companies devoted to the development of medicine that improves and saves lives.”
In 2017, she raised the starting base pay for employees at PharmaLogics from $37,500 to $50,000. Always the innovator, Driscoll also began publishing pay ranges and changed the way recruitment firms get paid. Her company now charges by the hour for the work it does instead of taking a percentage of the annual salary for placing a new employee.
The results speak for themselves. PharmaLogics has grown from $11 million in revenue in 2016 to a projected $30 million this year. Driscoll expects to top $40 million next year. In 2018, Driscoll was named Boston Chamber of Commerce Small Business CEO of the Year. Earlier this year, after more than 15 years at the helm of her very successful business, Driscoll recently sold a majority share of PharmaLogics to a private equity firm and passed the CEO position to another female leader at her company. She is now preparing to begin a new chapter with the launch of Megan Driscoll Consulting.
“I’ve been blessed and lucky,” she said. “I’m fortunate that I am in a position where I can now help other people,” says Driscoll. “I want to help people find their passion and translate that into finding the job of their dreams.”
"Having better representation of women isn’t just about making things fair, it is about making sound business decisions."
For companies with a worldwide workforce, creating a successful diversity and inclusion strategy means identifying and addressing unconscious bias, male-dominated cultural mindsets and situations where women may self-exclude from possible promotions. One woman who is pushing for progress in this realm is Hingham resident Eileen Martin.
In January, Martin became the Global Director of Inclusion for EMD Serono, based in Rockland--the healthcare arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. She previously led an action team aimed at analyzing the company’s leadership succession plan. After organizing the data according to gender, she saw an opportunity for improvement.
One of the vice presidents Martin worked with, however, helped her to see that the “glass ceiling” was not impenetrable. He was German, and very much the prototypical leader of a multinational corporation—stern and implacable. Yet all around him—untypically—were women in positions of authority and management leading his successful division with equanimity and decisiveness. One day, Martin asked him about the dichotomy.
“He told me a surprising story,” says Martin. “His father died when he was young and his mother, who was a very smart woman, had to take jobs that were beneath her to support the family. In the German culture, she was known as a ‘Raven Mother’ – a woman who leaves the nest to work.” As a result, he was raised to view women as equals in the workplace and he was consciously aware of the importance of hiring capable leaders based on merit, not gender. It was an eye-opening moment for Martin. She realized that gender equality in the upper echelon of management was indeed achievable.
Martin now reports to the office of Belén Garijo, the female CEO of the global healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany - a science and technology company that employs 55,000 people worldwide. In her role, Martin supports initiatives that increase diversity within the workplace and facilitate access and inclusion for all employees. She is the co-founder of EMD Serono’s Women in Leadership, leading an initiative that aims to implement policies and strategies to hire, retain, support and promote women in the workforce.
Senior managers across the globe have received training on unconscious bias and female workers have been given career coaching and sponsorships. After just six months on the job, they’re already seeing promising results, with increasing numbers of women getting promoted to leadership positions. “Having better representation of women isn’t just about making things fair,” says Martin, “it is about making sound business decisions.”
Martin’s work is focused on all aspects of diversity, promoting a culture where everyone feels valued. “I love what I’m doing,” she said. “EMD Serono and the global Healthcare organization have been so supportive in moving forward with initiatives that recognize the abilities of all people. They’ve allowed me to step up and represent groups that have been underrepresented in management positions in the workforce in the past. By pulling together, we can share our collective voices and help our company grow and prosper.”
Martin’s genuine sincerity and intelligent arguments help others understand how past practices need to change in order to achieve better business outcomes. “Women’s economic empowerment is essential to gender equality,” she says. “Research tells us that if women participated in paid work at the same level as men, the annual global GDP would increase by $28 trillion US by 2025.”
Believing that a rising tide lifts all boats, Martin makes sure her voice is heard–effectively and forcefully. “I have my mom to thank for that,” she says. “She taught me it was important to speak up.”
Eileen Martin’s Top 10 Things a Woman Can Do To Propel Her Career
Build and leverage relationships, particularly with those a few levels ahead of you.
Be loud and proud about your achievements.
3 Clear Goals
Be clear what your career goals are and share with others.
4 Take Risks
Stop Playing it safe and push yourself for that stretch job or assignment, event when you do not meet 100 percent of the requirements.
5 Pull From Behind
Support women around and behind you and pull them forward until your arms ache.
6 Be Flexible
Career opportunities may come up that don’t fit your “plan” but they may be the best path forward.
7 Stop Waiting to Be Asked
Put your name in the hat for action teams or special projects. You don’t need to be asked.
You are the captain of your career. Seek out development opportunities in your role.
9 You Be You
Authenticity makes for great leaders. Seek feedback on your “perception” and be true to yourself.
10 Mentors, Advisors and Sponsors
You need all of these things to help move your career along. Go find them!