Submitted by Gilead Sciences
When Jamari Brooks was looking for a new job last fall, he knew he wanted his future employer to have a few key qualities. As he perused pharmaceutical companies’ job postings, he kept a look out for diversity in leadership, the potential for personal career growth and a commitment to helping improve the lives of people and the health of the world.
It was through Gilead’s relationship with the National Black MBA Association that he encountered the company. Gilead checked all his boxes, but it was the interview process that really cinched the deal for Jamari. Jasmine Pree Hameth, Senior Director of Corporate Function and Strategic Talent Sourcing at Gilead, connected him with diverse, executive-level Gilead staff so he could learn about their experiences at the company – which, Jamari says, had an impact.
“Before I even started, Jasmine set me up with people within Gilead that I could build networks with and potentially work with,” Jamari says. “It didn’t feel like they were checking a box hiring me. It was an authentic recruitment process. I thought ‘this is where I need to be, no question about it’.”
Today, Jamari works in Sourcing and Procurement at Gilead, where he helps research teams identify and purchase equipment that allows them to create new medications. His experience joining Gilead represents one of several efforts the company is focusing on to hire new, top talent with the belief that diversity drives performance and innovation and helps shape an inclusive culture.
For the past three years, Gilead’s Talent Acquisition team has focused on a multi-year set of commitments to increase diversity within the organization’s workforce by building relationships with, and by hiring diverse talent from, universities and institutions such as the National Black MBA Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, the National Sales Network and a number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
As another part of the recruiting strategy, Gilead also launched a Programming Academy, a four-month program that draws in early and pre-career underrepresented and diverse talent to train them in how to do pharmaceutical programming. This ranges from the curation of data, which means handling data gaps and errors, and analytical programming, which reveals scientific discoveries embedded in data.
Talent Acquisition’s efforts are largely focused on building partnerships outside of Gilead’s backyard, to ensure that the California-based company finds diverse talent across the United States. Jamari works remotely from Chicago, and the Programming Academy is based in North Carolina.
Gilead's Programming Academy
The Programming Academy is how Adashi Odama discovered Gilead. She graduated with a master’s degree in public health last year, and as part of her job hunt attended a Gilead virtual event. It sparked her interest, and when she saw an application online for the academy, she applied. “I always like a new environment, something that's a challenge,” she explains. “I'm very interested in data analysis and I do a lot of programming that involves statistics. I thought I could go for it.”
Michael Neece, the head of Gilead’s Programming Academy, says he created it to fill the gaps in knowledge that he recognized when he started in the pharmaceutical programming world. “We just kind of stumbled into the industry,” he says of himself and the two chief instructors. “Hopefully, we’re removing some of the barriers to being really successful in the program by having created what we wish we had when we joined.”
The Academy offered Adashi a unique opportunity to learn on the job, tackling everything from clinical trials to drug production to Food and Drug Administration rules and regulations. She also learned SAS, a programming software she previously had no experience with.
The training nurtured Adashi’s love of statistics and allowed her to focus in on her desire to make a difference. “Once you start to get into statistics, you realize that it tells you pretty much everything,” she says. “I think it's a very tangible way to understand health problems, to see exactly what needs to be fixed or what should be addressed.”
When Adashi graduated from the Programming Academy last October, she was offered a job with Gilead’s inflammation team. “It definitely prepared me for what I'm currently doing,” she says of the academy. “I was given the confidence to believe that I could be successful. It laid a very solid foundation, and now I feel I'm able to learn more.”
Adashi and Jamari came from different backgrounds, pursued different degrees and lived in different parts of the country. But their commitment to personal growth, and to doing work that makes a difference, is a uniting force that brought them to Gilead.
“Gilead is a company that really values innovation and empowering employees,” Jamari says. “You can create a fingerprint at the company quickly. It's been awesome to experience.”
Learn more about Gilead Careers.
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need. The company strives to transform and simplify care for people with life-threatening illnesses around the world. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
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