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The Power of a Diverse and Equitable Workplace

Terrari Howard, Megan Sharp, Jeff Brown, and David Posehn arrived in gene therapy for much the same reason – to build something new in a startup-like operation, work on the leading edge of human medicine, and bring breakthroughs closer to the patients who need them.

PGS group

In their various roles at Pfizer’s site in Sanford, North Carolina, they’ve realized that their impact is not limited to improving patients’ lives – they’re also making a difference in the lives of the people they work with.

That’s why Megan decided to pursue a supervisor role. Having started at Pfizer’s Product and Global Supply (PGS) in the Rotational Development Program (RDP), Megan, a Gene Therapy Supervisor, rotated through various facets of the business, including operations, engineering, supply chain, and logistics.

“I learned in my time as a process engineer that I really liked working alongside teams, building people up, and accomplishing things together,” Megan says. “I felt that transitioning to a supervisor role would enhance my leadership, allow me to influence others, and help them develop into the best they can be.”

From bioprocess technicians and quality control scientists to site strategy managers, the team at Sanford is made up of people from many different backgrounds who collectively manufacture extremely complex medicines. This diversity plays a key role in the success of the gene therapy manufacturing team.

“It’s what has made this operation nimbler and more receptive to change. The colleagues you see every day reflect a diverse and equitable workplace, and the fact that you can see many different people in this operation is powerful,” says Terrari, an Integrated Manufacturing Excellence (IMEx) Deployment Lead who is part of a team working to bring Pfizer’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene therapy to market.

Pfizer’s commitment to diversity starts at the top, with CEO Albert Bourla and Chief Global Supply Officer Mike McDermott, and permeates the culture at each site as everybody works together to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“It’s not just a lofty goal for us, with some vague deadline of ‘someday.’ There’s an accountability piece to make sure we’re all engaged and on track to meet that goal.”

Integrated Manufacturing Excellence (IMEx) Deployment Lead

The Future of Gene Therapy

Pfizer isn’t the first company to develop gene therapies, but we are determined to be the best. We are leveraging innovation and applying lessons learned in other areas as we scale up gene therapy operations. And we have invested in the facilities, technologies, and people who will manufacture gene therapies at a scale that nobody else can.

“We’ve developed an incredible engine to go from an idea and the vectors we need to deliver gene therapies all the way through to clinical trial material being produced.”

Director of Stage 1 Gene Therapy Operations

This engine will bring the DMD gene therapy across the finish line – and it will do the same for other breakthrough medicines. Over time, more gene therapies will come through Sanford, whether from Pfizer’s own clinical development companies or smaller companies partnering with Pfizer to help get their products to market.

“Gene therapy is a platform Pfizer is invested in and it’s part of our long-term strategy,” says David Posehn, Gene Therapy Stage 2 Operations Lead. “It is truly amazing to see the breadth of talented people involved in gene therapy, which spans across the Rare Disease BU, R&D, Reg Affairs, Finance, Digital, and of course PGS and our colleagues here in Sanford. We’re looking forward to the future and the opportunity to bring our products to patients with genetic diseases.”

A Profusion of Possibilities

For those interested in being part of that future, David and Megan emphasize the immense opportunity that lies at Sanford – to work at the cutting edge of drug manufacturing, have an impact on the lives of others, and grow both as a person and a professional.

“Pfizer is so vast, and there are opportunities not just within our Sanford site but all over the globe to partner with other people, learn from each other, and develop in different ways.”

Gene Therapy Supervisor

The journey each person takes is as unique as they are. There is no set path for Pfizer colleagues – there are roles for those who value structure just as there are roles for those who relish facing new and unfamiliar challenges every day, and for everyone in between.

“There’s a misconception that in a big company like Pfizer, you’ll get lost in the shuffle,” David says. “But it couldn’t be further from the truth. You’re going to have fun when you come to Pfizer; there are many opportunities with all the different organizations. If you work hard, develop collaborative relationships, and dive into meaningful growth conversations with your direct line leadership and peers too, you’ll be able to map a terrific career for yourself.”

Megan started her journey in the RDP, landing in gene therapy after two years working in various functions within PGS, while Terrari started out in the medical device industry before joining the lab at Sanford and transitioning into gene therapy.

Jeff began his two-decade career at Sanford with the Cooperative Education Program at North Carolina State University, through which he alternated semesters of full-time study and full-time work at PGS. Over the years, Jeff has worked in various roles, from manufacturing and quality engineering to operations management, while David has spent the last 20 years in five different Pfizer organizations and at five different sites, including in Tennessee, New York, Massachusetts, Nagoya (Japan), and now North Carolina.

“There is so much opportunity to learn the science, about quality systems, and about the business as a whole, particularly at Sanford,” Jeff says. “Having vaccines, gene therapy, drug substance, and drug product under one roof, we have a unique alignment of all those disciplines and activities that make it the perfect place for talent to come, grow, and make an impact on people.”

For those nervous about making the leap, there’s no time like the present to join Pfizer. People don’t need to arrive at Pfizer with everything figured out, Terrari says.


“All you can do is go for it, learn as much as you can, and have fun. You’ll never know if you don’t try. And Pfizer is a great place to try.”