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Fostering Neurodiversity: A Pfizer Panel Discussion

Neurodiversity team meeting

At Pfizer, we are dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace where every individual feels valued and respected. As part of this commitment, our Disability Colleague Resource Group launched the Neurodiversity Colleague Community during Neurodiversity Celebration Week in March to ensure that we are inclusive of our colleagues who navigate neurodiversity, including those who are caregivers.

An estimated 15-20% of the world's population experiences some form of neurodivergence, including conditions such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD, and generalized anxiety, and our Neurodiversity Colleague Community provides a platform where Pfizer colleagues who identify as part of that group are encouraged to be their authentic selves. Allies, including those with neurodivergent family members, are also encouraged to join.

In addition to creating a psychologically safe space, Pfizer’s Neurodiversity Colleague Community aims to drive career opportunities through professional development, apprenticeships, and internships. The goal is to support new and existing colleagues through mentoring and coaching, including neurodiversity awareness training sessions for colleagues and people managers. This will ultimately help evolve Pfizer’s hiring practices to be more inclusive to those with neurodivergence.

“Embracing our natural differences allows us all to contribute our unique perspectives and skills, thereby living our Pfizer values,” said Christine Aurigemma, Senior Manager, Candidate Experience, and cofounder/leadership team member of the Neurodiversity Colleague Community. “We recognize that by interacting with and interpreting the world in unique ways through their diverse strengths, including innovative thinking and creative problem solving, neurodivergent individuals strengthen Pfizer’s ability to deliver breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.”

March’s Neurodiversity Celebration Week served as the perfect occasion to formally launch the group. The week featured a range of programming and activities designed to raise awareness and celebrate neurodiversity. These events provided opportunities for learning, networking, and furthering the conversation around embracing diverse perspectives.  Among the activities was a virtual panel discussion that highlighted the significance of embracing neurodiversity in the workplace.

The panel featured neurodivergent colleagues and caregivers who generously shared their personal experiences and insights. They emphasized the positive impact that embracing neurodiversity and its accompanying strengths can have, including the potential for increased creativity and innovation, and the advantages of incorporating diverse ways of approaching problems.

The discussion also addressed the challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals, such as stigma and the need for greater awareness and accommodations. We also recognized the essential role of caregivers and focused on supporting their needs within the workplace.

The event concluded with a statement of support and a call to action from Rady Johnson, Pfizer’s Chief Compliance, Quality & Risk Officer, Executive Vice President, urging colleagues to take advantage of the available resources to support neurodiverse individuals and foster a culture of inclusivity and support.

“I was moved by the courage of the colleagues who participated on the panel, speaking openly and candidly about their personal journeys with neurodiversity,” said Rady Johnson. “Your openness is helping to ensure Pfizer is a place where all colleagues feel seen, heard, and cared for. I encourage all colleagues to engage and learn more about neurodiversity and how we can foster an inclusive culture for neurodiverse colleagues.”

Pfizer firmly believes that by embracing neurodiversity, we can tap into the unique strengths and perspectives of all our colleagues, driving us towards even greater achievements.  As we prioritize innovation and breakthroughs at Pfizer, we recognize that exceptional talent can come from diverse and non-traditional backgrounds. By embracing neurodiversity and creating a supportive environment, we can unlock the full potential of our workforce and drive positive change.

    Diversity & Inclusion Employees Leadership Pfizer Culture