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The Expert Q&A on Breaking Barriers With Thalia Mingo of BMS

Thalia Mingo

Q: One year ago, you became the global lead for Bristol Myers Squibb’s Network of Women (B-NOW) People and Business Resource Group. And what a year it’s been! This group is dedicated to ensuring that women at BMS have equal opportunities to be recruited, developed, advanced, and retained globally. What are some of the most important ways you have advanced that work over the past year?

While supporting career growth and development opportunities for women remains important, over the past year our focus on employee retention has never been more critical. This includes enhancing our focus on the personal well-being of our B-NOW members to ensure that they feel supported with the necessary resources during this unpredictable time. Importantly, we’ve implemented a sustainable approach that will continue well beyond the pandemic.

Q: The challenges facing women globally in 2021 are greater than we could ever have predicted a year ago. What do you think needs to happen, at the systems level, to stop the exodus of working women from the workplace that we have seen since the pandemic?

One of the transformations that would benefit women is if they took on less traditional job roles. For instance, we see examples of women being targeted for job cuts because certain positions that women more typically employ may be seen as less critical.

Q: Let’s talk about women continuing to break barriers. What lessons learned can you share?

There is a strong appreciation of how resilient women have to be to break barriers. For example, we recently celebrated 100 years of having the right to vote in the U.S. However, women in Switzerland have only had the right to vote for 50 years. It is daunting to realize that many of the women who were striving for this opportunity may not have lived to see it come to fruition. The phrase “when women win, we all win” comes to mind. For me, this makes the purpose of gender equality critical.

Q: What in your experience made you want to be a global champion for women’s equality in the workplace?

I had the opportunity to complete a “tour of duty” assignment outside of the country, and I met many women who stressed that they did not feel they could develop and advance their careers without relocating to the U.S. The frustration and challenges voiced by these women is one of several factors that sparked me to take action.

Q: These are challenging times for many people. What are some of the strategies you have used to stay focused and inspired?

I’ve learned that I can’t do it all. I have to prioritize and even say no sometimes. The resilience and tenacity demonstrated by so many of my family, friends, and co-workers inspires me, as well.

Thalia Mingo began her career with Bristol Myers Squibb in 1998 and has held roles of increasing responsibility across sales, marketing and commercial operations. Currently, Thalia leads the Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women (B-NOW) People and Business Resource Group, which drives business performance by embracing gender diversity.