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Building Careers

Bringing Different Voices and Perspectives Together Through Mentorship

April 29, 2022
Career GrowthCultureInclusion & Diversity
Careers Home  /  Career Stories  /  Bringing Different Voices and Perspectives Together Through Mentorship

When you join BMS, you’ll pursue meaningful, interesting work alongside other smart, creative and talented colleagues who are committed to helping patients prevail over serious diseases. It is a collaborative team environment where managers and colleagues support and challenge you to drive your career forward with continuous growth opportunities.

At BMS, we offer a wide variety of development opportunities that provide our teams with professional training, leadership skills and the potential for career advancement. We are committed to making these initiatives accessible to employees across all dimensions of diversity, including gender, gender expression, race, culture, disability and veteran status. By providing our global workforce with learning and development resources, everyone has the opportunity to strengthen their skills and grow in their careers to better deliver on our company vision and mission.

The Connections Mentoring Program

Led by Global Diversity & Inclusion at BMS and designed for employees who are members of our People and Business Resource Groups (PBRGs), the Connections Mentoring Program leverages intra-company global group mentoring capabilities to provide employees with opportunities to learn and grow by matching one mentor with a group of five to seven mentees who represent different cross-functional departments and levels. By leveraging mentoring to build relationships and learn from the diverse perspectives of others, BMS fosters an inclusive environment where all employees can collaborate and contribute to their full potential.

“Now in its 15th year, Connections Mentoring has been a hallmark of how BMS enhances and accelerates the development of leadership capabilities at BMS for members of our PBRGs. Research shows a positive impact on promotion and retention among program participants,” said Isaias Zamarripa, Director, PBRG Strategy and Operations Lead, who manages the program for BMS.

Testimonials and Stories from Connections Mentoring Program Participants

“The mentoring program helps with inclusion, not just diversity, because it brings together different voices and different perspectives,” said Soo Bang, Vice President of Enterprise Integration and Change. Soo, who works in our Global Business Operations, has been involved in mentor/mentee teams throughout her career, long before she came to BMS. As soon as she joined our company, she knew she wanted to be involved with the Connections Mentoring Program.

Soo shares her mentoring passion externally as well, having piloted a peer mentoring program for early to mid-career clinicians for the Society of Neuro-Oncology. “I immigrated from Seoul, Korea, so English is my second language,” she explained. “I didn't have a professional network to tap into when I began my career. It really took many mentors who helped me see my strengths, and open doors and career possibilities for me. I am grateful and have been keen to pay it forward, especially to people who normally do not have access.”

Soo spent six months working with a small team of BMS employees, giving them practical advice on relationship building, strategic networking, managing people and leading with influence. She also served as a sounding board, encouraging peer-to-peer mentoring and one-on-one counseling as needed. And though the program is no longer active in an official capacity, she still maintains the mentor relationship with members of her team.

“We still continue,” Soo shared. “I am generous with my time with employees when I get a text saying, ‘I need to talk to you today.’ The time I invest to help someone is rewarding in so many ways.”

Tangible and Intangible Benefits of Mentorship

Judith Hofstaetter, Senior Product Manager of Innovative Medicine
Judith Hofstaetter, Senior Product Manager of Innovative Medicine

Mentorship comes with countless benefits, some quite tangible and others less easily measured. For Judith Hofstaetter, a senior product manager of innovative medicine who works in the Vienna office, the result was learning to see herself as a leader for the first time. She got involved with Connections Mentoring through the Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women PBRG to help her lead a team of people who weren’t her direct reports—something with which she had no prior experience. She was matched with two female mentors and six fellow mentees.

“We had a very open atmosphere,” Judith said. “We really felt safe within our group and discussed topics like conflicts, work-life balance and how to deal with complicated colleagues, bosses; things like that.”

When the program ended, one of Judith’s mentors suggested she become a mentor herself. She said she was surprised and initially didn’t feel ready. But she stepped up to the challenge and realized she was more than capable. “My mentors saw that I was ready to be a mentor when I didn't see it,” she recalled. “The biggest thing I learned was to be more confident and trust a little bit more in myself and in my experience. I learned not to hide—to say, ‘OK, I can do this. I’ll try this.’ And by trying it, you can do it.”

Join BMS and Build Relationships That Can Transform Lives

Together, we use our collective passion and expertise to do work that transforms patients’ lives—and our own. If you’re interested in joining a company where you can give and receive life-changing career advice, learn more about our BMS culture and browse open roles with BMS today.