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A Passion for Paying it Forward: New Hires Carla Ayala and Stefan Ade

October 17, 2022
Data ScienceEarly CareerGlobal Product Development and SupplySTEM
Careers Home  /  Career Stories  /  A Passion for Paying it Forward: New Hires Carla Ayala and Stefan Ade
Carla Ayala, Manager, Global Product Development and Supply, Emerging Leaders Program
Carla Ayala, Manager, Global Product Development and Supply, Emerging Leaders Program

Nobody ends up working for Bristol Myers Squibb by accident. As one of the world’s largest and most innovative biopharma companies, BMS attracts exceptionally high-achieving candidates who actively choose to join our organization in what has been a hyper-competitive talent market for a couple of years now.

But what is it that makes the best and brightest choose Bristol Myers Squibb? In the case of Carla Ayala and Stefan Ade, two early career hires working at one of our New Jersey facilities, the answer is how deeply their core values align with ours—in this instance, the value of Passion.

Carla, Manager, Global Product Development and Supply, Emerging Leaders Program, and Stefan, Business Insights & Analytics, MBA Rotational Development Program, recently spoke about how passion drives their work at BMS on the BOLD Innovators Podcast, a series of discussions hosted by Bryant Powell and the communications team from the Black Organization for Leadership and Development, one of several People and Business Resource Groups (PBRGs) here at BMS.

In the podcast, Carla and Stefan explain how it was their passion for making a difference which ultimately led to their decision to work here.

A Passion for People

“The core thing I’ve always thought about, ever since I was young, is people,” says Carla. “I’ve always felt driven by working for people who work for people. That’s how I’ve found my passion at BMS.”

Originally from Ecuador, Carla’s journey toward joining BMS started when she pursued higher education abroad. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology engineering from the Tecnológico de Monterrey, one of the top global universities in Mexico. However, after arriving at Harvard Medical School to pursue an internship during her senior year, Carla realized that a career in academia might not actually be for her.

“Working as a research intern at Harvard Medical School was great, but it helped me understand that this was not what I wanted for my life," said Carla.

Instead, she ultimately chose to pivot the focus of her career and pursue a master’s degree in biotechnology at Northeastern University, which is how she eventually ended up at BMS.

While researching different companies to apply to, Carla started reading about values-driven initiatives at Bristol Myers Squibb such as our People & Business Resource Groups. These groups demonstrate that BMS acts on its company values, rather than just treating them as words on a page.

“When I learned there were so many driven people within BMS, I knew that was what I needed. That was what I was looking for. Somewhere I could grow my professional skills but also be part of a community of people who inspire me to grow and develop.”

The Value of Feeling Valued

Stefan, a native of Cameroon, had similar reasons for joining the organization. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland, Stefan got his first job as a technician at a giant pharmaceutical chain and through that experience became curious about how drugs worked and the industry behind them. That led to an application for postgraduate studies at the College of Pharmacy at Howard University. After an internship at Pfizer, he was inspired to pivot and pursue an MBA at Howard.

“I was trying to push myself,” Stefan explains. “I wanted to see what I could add to my passion for going to school and figuring out how drugs work. Like...can I merge it with something else to add more value?”

Stefan Ade, Business Insights & Analytics, MBA Rotational Development Program at his graduation from Howard University
Stefan Ade, Business Insights & Analytics, MBA Rotational Development Program at his graduation from Howard University

As his time at Howard came to an end, Stefan began researching the next step in his career. Through the Tomorrow’s Innovators initiative program at BMS, he talked to several BMS employees who had been through the same experiences as him. They told him that BMS was a company with many opportunities, which inspired him to apply for a summer internship.

“If people with similar backgrounds are saying good things about this company, then I’m pretty sure it’s a company I’d like to be at.”

Stefan joined BMS as part of a 2-year Business Insights & Analytics MBA Rotational Development Program (RDP), which gave him the opportunity to utilize not just the pharmaceutical qualifications he earned at Howard, but also the business skills he was developing through his MBA. The Rotational Development Programs allow for exploration among the different areas within your business unit over a 2-year period.

But three months before his RDP, a summer internship at BMS primed the pump for what was to come. “My summer internship at BMS was an amazing experience. I was shown so much respect and was given all the help I needed to succeed. I felt welcomed. I felt valued. I felt like I was able to talk to anyone. Everyone was very, very open to learn about my experiences and help me with my projects. They were interested in getting to know me as a person, which is something that stuck with me and made me want to come back on a full-time basis.”

Paying It Forward

But for Carla and Stefan, the decision to come and work for BMS wasn’t just about what the organization could do for them. It was also about the impact they feel they could make by leveraging programs and initiatives at BMS that were driven by that shared value of passion.

“I want to excel here,” Stefan explains, “because when you’re excelling, you’re helping BMS create innovative medicines which help people with diseases.”

But it’s not just patients that Stefan wants to help during his career at BMS.

“I also want to pay it forward and be a mentor to others, because I feel like if I hadn’t had mentors in my life, I wouldn’t be here myself.”

BMS gives Stefan the opportunity to be a mentor to students at Howard University as part of the Tomorrow’s Innovators initiative, through which BMS aims to double executive representation of Black and Hispanic/Latino employees in the United States.

Carla similarly leverages initiatives at BMS to make an impact for people following in her footsteps—specifically international professionals who may be looking to emigrate to the States as she did, but don’t know how.

“At BMS, we’re working to create more opportunities for people like me,” Carla explains. “I’m working with a PBRG called the Organization for Latino Achievement (OLA) to create bridges between BMS and highly competitive academic institutions in Latin America, so talent from these universities can come over to the States like I did.”

“If we’re able to walk a path,” she says, “we must make sure we’re building a sturdier and nicer path for those who walk behind us. Hopefully that’s the impact I can bring to BMS—more opportunities for people.”

When Goals Align

Carla and Stefan both share a passion for helping people like them have easier access to opportunity, and seeing that passion mirrored through programs and initiatives in place at BMS ultimately drove them to join us rather than take their talent somewhere else.

If you share a similar passion for helping other people and transforming your career, BMS could be a good match for you, too. Listen to the BOLD Innovators podcast series to learn more from the talented colleagues at BMS. Then explore what open BMS roles fit your goals and objectives.