As we enter Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Month (AANHPI), we wanted to shine a light on some of the high-achieving AANHPI team members who have found exceptionally interesting and meaningful careers with BMS. We caught up with Jennifer Rasing and Alexander Cheung, who are at different points in their career paths and have found success on their journeys.
From the lab to the lead
“I continue to strive to find a cure for cancer,” shared Jennifer Rasing, the Global Lead of the Pan Asian Network (PAN) at BMS, one of the company’s thriving People and Business Resource Groups (PBRGs).
Having grown up with loved ones and friends struggling or dying from the disease, she set out to join the fight graduating with a biotechnology degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2004. Shortly after, she joined BMS as a research scientist.
“I believe BMS and I found each other,” she said. “Our passion and mission to bring innovative medicines to patients aligned, and after 18 years, that commitment has not changed, even though I’m taking some time away from research.”
If you’re wondering how a research scientist becomes the Global Lead of PAN, you’ll come upon a common story at BMS—passion for inclusion and transformative opportunities to grow, lead and succeed. Prior to PAN, Jennifer worked in the clinical trial space, managing key global immuno-oncology studies as a senior project manager, and most recently, overseeing quality governance and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) across the company as an auditor.
“Early in my career, my mentor introduced me to the 3 Cs: Curious, Creative and Confident,” Jennifer said. These 3 Cs, which she still lives by today, served her well in performing experiments, and being innovative and agile in her previous roles. They’re also what inspired her to seize the opportunity to join PAN and become a change-maker that inspires others—like Alexander Cheung, a fellow member of PAN and Manager, Commercial Regulatory Affairs in the legal department.
Setting the stage for success
Alex Cheung caught the “acting bug” in high school and wanted to seriously consider acting as a career. While he did spend a lot of time on the stage throughout college, he also pursued a PharmD degree.
“I'm glad my parents encouraged me to earn my PharmD because I don't think I was good enough to pursue theater, to tell you the truth,” he laughed. He entered pharmacy school at age 18 not really knowing what his path would be because he wasn’t interested in a clinical role.
“Ultimately, what helped solidify my interest in ‘industry’ as a career option rather than being a clinician were my experiences working in the medical information department of a pharmaceutical company during pharmacy school. I got to see firsthand the versatility of a PharmD degree. It felt like kind of the most fertile ground for me to grow as a professional,” he said. Things moved quickly and he completed a post-doctoral fellowship with BMS in U.S. Commercial Regulatory Affairs, Advertising and Promotion. That’s when he knew BMS was the company for him, and he became a full-time senior manager with the team soon after in early 2021.
“Commercial Regulatory Affairs doesn't inherently make sense on paper for someone of my professional background, until you learn more about the role. As clinicians, we use our breadth of clinical knowledge and experience to analyze all of the available information we have on a patient, and work with the other clinicians to develop a plan of action for how we are going to treat that patient, be it changing a medication, or increasing or decreasing a dose. The same thing happens in this role from a regulatory perspective as we look at promotional materials. We utilize our extensive regulatory knowledge and experience to analyze promotional materials, and work closely with our colleagues to promote our products in compliance with the rules and regulations.”
As you might expect, Alex’s ability and confidence to get up in front of a crowd and engage people as an actor has helped propel his success within BMS. And like Jennifer Rasing, he also credits his participation in PAN for driving his career forward.
Empowering the Asian Community at BMS and Beyond
At BMS, PAN drives business results worldwide by promoting a workplace environment that fully values the contributions of Asian employees and helps the organization deepen the understanding of Asian patients, customers and other stakeholders.
“Growing up [as an American-born Filipino], I didn’t realize that the whole Asian ‘model minority’ and unconscious biases were a thing,” said Jennifer. “My parents always instilled in me self-advocacy, being bold and speaking up for myself, but it’s easy to get pigeonholed. Members of the AANHPI community may be strategic thinkers and innovative thought leaders, but we are seen as quiet and technically skilled.” She recalled her early career days of trying to mold herself into what people expected of her and after a while, it became exhausting.
“I wanted a change,” she explained, “to change the workplace culture, bring my authentic self forward and break through that bamboo ceiling. So, I got involved with PAN to make an impactful difference.”
Alex echoed her sentiments. “Asians have so many unique attributes and skill sets. Our voice at the table matters. And to Asian-American students considering a career in pharma, I’d say avoid the habit of limiting yourselves. Know your value. There are so many more opportunities than the traditional roles Asians have, not only at BMS but across pharma in general.”
For Alex, being a PAN member has been a great way to meet other Asian colleagues, share his voice to the broader organization and empower allies for the Asian American community—all while delivering on the company’s mission to transform lives through science. “How rewarding is it to be able to do these things as part of your work?”
Jennifer agreed adding, “BMS is one of the only companies that has dedicated full-time PBRG leads. That investment speaks wonders for our commitment to global diversity and inclusion."
These are just two of the many empowering career stories that make up the diverse, dynamic, and energizing culture at BMS. If you’d like to start transforming lives, including your own, explore career opportunities with BMS today.