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October/November 2011

Diversity/Careers October/November 2011 Issue




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Diversity In Action

Genentech is working to hire the right people

"We focus on techies who will drive innovation and continue our tradition of providing critical medicines to patients," says the D&I director


Genentech is in the business of life-saving and life-enhancing breakthrough medicines. As a result, this founder of the biotechnology industry "doesn't compromise on the recruiting and hiring of new employees," says Monica L. Poindexter, director of diversity and inclusion (D&I).

"We work hard to hire the right people in their respective fields," she says. "That means we focus on finding techies who will drive innovation and be motivated to continue our long tradition of providing critical medicines to patients."

Genentech uses human genetic information to discover, develop, manufacture and commercialize medicines to treat patients with serious medical conditions. Its twenty-two key marketed products treat cancer, heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, influenza, hepatitis and more.

Since March 2009 Genentech has been a member of the Roche Group (Basel, Switzerland), a leading research-focused healthcare group in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics that employs more than 80,000 people worldwide.

The Roche Group currently has 350-plus projects in the early stages of discovery and testing; they target cancer, metabolic disorders, immune conditions, infectious diseases and central nervous system disorders. It has eleven potential medicines in late-stage global clinical development.

Genentech likes to bring in experienced engineers in biotech or pharma for jobs like process, automation, packaging and validation engineer. It usually looks for people with a ChE or ME and at least three years of experience, Poindexter says. There are currently some engineering jobs to fill in Hillsboro, OR and South San Francisco, CA; the company usually has several jobs open, she notes.

"We seek exceptional abilities, skills and heart. People work here because they have a passion to make a difference for patients; this common commitment drives everything we do."

As Genentech evolves into a global role, "We maintain our signature casual dress and attitudes but we remain steadfast in our dedication to great science and our patients," she adds.

Genentech uses many recruiting strategies and tools to hire the best people, including online social networking and a careers page on its website. The company also does outreach at schools, hospitals and health-related events. This shows interested candidates how Genentech works in the community and with its customers, Poindexter points out.

The company has strategic local and national partnerships with SWE, NSBE, SACNAS and the Association of Women in Science (AWIS). Many Genentech employees are members of these groups and some serve on local or national advisory boards.

The company's college programs are also going strong. "We consider applications from college students across the U.S.," Poindexter says, "but most of our focus is on twelve target schools including Stanford University, the University of California, UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley."

The Genentech MBA internship program is an intensive experience that gives MBA candidates a chance to work alongside biotech industry experts. Likely MBA interns may be hired at any of Genentech's U.S. campuses.

In 2010 more than 10,000 graduate and undergrad students applied for about 300 internship positions at Genentech; 100 of them were pure research projects in South San Francisco, Oceanside and Vacaville, CA and Hillsboro, OR.

Genentech's postdoctoral program brings in postdoc fellows from around the globe. They train "to conduct research of the highest possible quality so they're prepared to become independent scientific investigators at academic and industrial institutions," Poindexter says.

Genentech's diversity network associations, the "DNA groups," provide development opportunities at all levels. The groups also offer educational outreach to Genentech's wider community, support community healthcare organizations and help identify diverse talent for Genentech. Nearly 3,000 employees participate in the groups' activities, and each group is supported by an executive sponsor.

Employees can also develop their careers through rotational and leadership development programs in areas including finance, commerce, informatics and tech operations. The tech ops program, for example, involves four six-month rotations and includes an official program of mentoring and development.

D&I is an essential part of Genentech's culture, Poindexter says. The company's goal is to increase the pool of women qualified for senior positions by 50 percent by 2015. A D&I team will identify initiatives and goals and report progress.

As part of Genentech's gender diversity strategy the company is focusing on work and career flexibility for all employees. It is also offering tools and education to help employees remain flexible in its global, cross-cultural business environment.

D/C




Genentech
www.gene.com

Headquarters: South San Francisco, CA
Employees: 11,600
Business: Breakthrough biotechnology medicines

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