In a country where being a part of the LGBTQ+ community can be challenging, openly gay professionals like Marcos Maia and Maritza Medeiros have found meaningful careers in the inclusive culture at BMS Brazil.
“I was so excited to become a BMS employee because in all my former experiences at law firms, you can only specialize in one type of law,” Marcos said. “Being a lawyer in biopharma challenges me to understand all aspects of BMS business.”
Day to day, you can find Marcos providing legal assessments within all business units, whether it’s analyzing the legal implications that come with the launch of a new product or reviewing marketing campaigns and publicity.
What keeps Marcos most engaged is seeing how his work positively impacts his biggest clients—the patients. He explained, “In my former experience, I never had the opportunity to see the face of the client in the end. At BMS, we have events like Global Patient Week where we have the opportunity to hear directly from patients. We receive testimonials from patients during Global Patient Week telling us how grateful they are for our work. This is what inspires me to go to work every day. I don't feel like I'm working for a boss. I'm working for something bigger.”
Making the Case for Inclusion in Brazil
As Marcos’ law purview expanded with his biopharma career, his interpersonal experiences evolved as well.
“Here in Brazil, BMS is seen as a great place to work when it comes to diversity and inclusion (D&I),” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to evolve my social skills and speak my mind without fear or concern about my sexuality. This, unfortunately, does not happen very often inside law firms or other companies.”
It also doesn’t happen in many areas of Brazil. “It’s not rare in Latin America to see the majority of LGBTQ+ people hiding their authentic selves from family or at work, and suffering because of this,” Marcos shared.
His colleague Maritza Medeiros agrees. It took time for her to find the confidence to come out to her family and friends later in life. “Like many women, I grew up in an environment with strict expectations of who you should be. I knew my sexual orientation since I was a teenager, but I never had the courage to say it, even to my childhood friends. It takes a lot of courage to face the challenge of being a lesbian woman.”
After hearing from a friend about BMS’ welcoming environment and seeing a wealth of publicity about the company’s D&I initiatives on social media, Maritza wanted in. Since joining BMS in 2018, she’s advanced from analyst to marketing associate to corporate affairs manager. And the best part? She found it easy to come out to her colleagues—especially as the current lead of the São Paulo Chapter of the BMS PRIDE Alliance.
Forging Ahead with PRIDE
Maritza wouldn’t be fortunate enough to lead the BMS Brazil PRIDE Alliance had it not been for Marcos’ efforts before her. He launched the local People & Business Resource Group chapter shortly after joining BMS Brazil in 2018 to empower LGBTQ+ inclusion, awareness and engagement, and he led the team for two years.
“I wanted to inspire other LGBTQ+ lawyers and employees to be their authentic selves at work, especially at BMS where your sexuality and other aspects of life are fully respected and don’t have a negative impact on your career,” Marcos said.
And it’s clearly working. Since the group’s founding, BMS Brazil has been among the top three “Best places to work for LGBTQI+ community” in the award edition of Great Place to Work®.
For Maritza, being a member (and now the lead) of Brazil’s PRIDE Alliance has given her more strength and courage to “promote love." She shared, “I never thought that a company could change my life, but BMS has. Of all the places I have worked, BMS is the one with the most LGBTQ+ employees, and this makes me feel so safe. I feel stronger and more motivated than ever to do my work.”
Marcos finds safety at work as well. “Here in Brazil, some of us can only be our authentic selves inside the company because we’re afraid to be ourselves outside in real life. Sometimes I see BMS like a “safety bubble” because it's so safe, and we feel so comfortable. That’s not the reality after work for some of us.”
Initiatives that Marcos and Maritza have spearheaded, like Safe Zone Brazil and Allyship, have done wonders to make that possible, helping to increase workplace engagement and support of LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies, bring more diverse colleagues into the company and address LGBTQ+ health disparities in Brazil.
“It’s very important for me to be a leader in this community in Brazil because I can impact lives emotionally and help people to be their authentic selves," Maritza added.
If you want to experience the transformative effect that being your authentic self can have in the work you do and the lives that you touch, explore career opportunities with BMS today.