Diverse Voices, Life-Changing Ideas

Companies with more diversity think more creatively and adapt more quickly to changing markets.

Strategy and Strength|Oct.25, 2018

That's Miles White, Abbott's chairman and chief executive officer, summing up a philosophy that's been central to Abbott's success for decades.

"We're a global company," White said. "We need a wide diversity of ideas and perspectives to understand the people we serve and to be relevant to their lives."

Recently, 2020 Women on Boards recognized us for the 7th straight year for our level of women representation on our board of directors with an ambassador award. Nearly 40 percent of our directors are women. Women also make up nearly half of our senior leadership.

Our commitment to diversity is visible at every level of the company — from our board of directors and our leadership team to our 99,000 colleagues around the world, whose varied perspectives have proved vital to our ability to create the life-changing technologies our customers have come to expect.

Our senior leaders' compensation is tied directly to diversity metrics; so they have an incentive to embrace cross-cultural mentorships and support employee affinity groups that add to Abbott's diversity.

These affinity groups, which appeal to veterans, African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ members and even colleagues who work flexible schedules, help expand visibility and opportunity for thousands of members while supporting an inclusive culture across our company. A corporate officer supports each of these employee networks, helping to align their objectives with Abbott's business strategies.

However, these groups are just part of Abbott’s commitment to diversity. We also offer mentoring programs and industry-leading benefits designed specifically for women and other employee populations that may be underrepresented. It’s an approach that improves business results, generates better ideas and helps guide company strategy.

Abbott's inclusive practices have earned us a place on DiversityInc magazine's list of the "Top 50 Companies for Diversity" every year since 2004. In addition, our efforts to create a woman-friendly workplace have seen Abbott recognized by the 2020 Women on Boards group and the National Association for Female Executives, which has named Abbott among the "Top 50 Companies for Executive Women" each year since 2009. Since the company's founding 130 years ago, women have held key leadership roles and board seats to help steer Abbott's success.

A Vocal Advocate For Diversity

Today, one of Abbott’s key leaders is the company’s top engineer, Corlis Murray, one of only a handful of female African-American corporate officers. Murray is determined to flatten the "Belle Curve," where just 1 in 7 engineers are women and just 1 in 50 are African-American women. The high school internship program she leads at Abbott encourages young women, minorities and other underrepresented groups to consider science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. That and Abbott's other STEM outreach groups to youth have reached 285,000 students around the world, helping build a more diverse scientific community for tomorrow.

Murray, accepting the Advocating Women in Engineering Award from the Society of Women Engineers for her work on the company's STEM education and recruitment initiatives, put it this way:

"It's an honor to work at a company dedicated to both investing in the innovators of tomorrow and inspiring those from diverse backgrounds to discover and pursue their dreams."

Read more about Abbott's focus on Diversity:
The Science of Girl Power
Feeding Tomorrow's STEM Pipeline
2017 Global Citizenship Report