Today’s guest blog comes from Ganesh Sharma, chair of the Lilly PRIDE employee resource group and a consultant in Lilly’s Clinical Development Information and Optimization area.
In May 1876, Colonel Eli Lilly started his own drug-making business – at just 38 years old. Being the same age, and not quite nearly as ambitious, I’ve wondered who would have inspired and motivated him to start making medicines 140 years ago? I’ve been at Lilly since 2000. During my career, I've learned that many of our senior leaders have shared a common story: Each had that one person who impacted their career for the better, and his or her goals and aspirations would not have been achieved without that person's support and mentorship.
I was given an opportunity to share my thoughts on how mentoring made all the difference for me in Diversity in Action’s June edition. As I think back to my early Lilly days, it took meeting the right people to give me what I needed to start the process of being my authentic self and being fully present at work. I am fortunate to have the same mentor since 2006, and I'd say the one thing from him that resonates with me is that there is a cost to hiding, and that's a cost to Lilly. To hide or to cover can exhaust the best people and doesn't invest in Lilly's culture of innovation, and it’s that culture that will bring the best minds to work here.
Lilly's commitment to that culture is shown by our membership in Indiana Competes, an organization in our company’s home state that supports updates to civil rights laws here. It seeks to let all citizens – regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression – participate freely in our state’s economy. It runs parallel to Lilly’s core values of integrity, excellence and respect for people that no one should feel that they cannot come to work every day as himself or herself. I'm thankful that Lilly as a company holds the belief that no one should be discriminated against because of who they are. In a word, yes, I am proud of that.
So while LGBT Pride Month is a time for many to celebrate our culture, diversity and individuality, it’s also the time I get to walk with my colleagues and friends in the local Circle City IN Pride Parade representing Lilly. It's a moment when I’m reminded why I’m glad to work here. I celebrate that I work for a company that not only values but relies on its employees to be authentic. In doing so, we can deliver on our commitment to create the best medicines for the patients who need them.