Women are now leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men. What needs to be done to alleviate this?

COVID-19 can undo decades of progress for women at work. This is a concerning trend but companies must act by showing their commitment and plan for action to increasing gender representation at all levels. Companies need to adjust their policies to provide more flexibility to women and men. Men need flexibility too so they can handle more of the childcare duties allowing women to spend more time doing their professional jobs. Companies should also consider strengthening their policies to provide more resources, guidance and support to employees and increase communication with employees to let them know what the company does for them. As importantly, companies need to also focus on people managers and ensure they undergo unconscious bias training and learn new ways to engage employees throughout the year and learn to provide feedback with empathy.

Who was your mentor and what are you now doing to send the elevator back down?

I have had formal and informal mentors over the years working in pharma. The best mentor I had is a peer who gave me precious advice. He told me to be “selfish.” Women leaders tend to do it all, they flex and extend themselves to the point they run the risk of burnout. Being “selfish” means that you allow yourself to identify your needs as a leader and carve out time and resources to meet these needs. I send the elevator back down by serving as a mentor and being a role model within my organization fostering diversity and inclusion.

What is your golden rule at work?

Treat others with respect.

How have you coped with the unique challenges of the past 12 months?

Physical distancing and isolation measures have been the source of stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness and I would lie if I did not admit that I experienced some or all of it at some point in the past 12 months. I was able to cope by being grateful for the simple things in my life such as walking on a regular basis and appreciating nature, eating healthier meals and maintaining the virtual connection with family and friends.

What are the first things you plan to do when the pandemic ends? 

The first thing I will do when the pandemic ends is to visit my family in France and then take a vacation away from home!