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Career Advice: Jean Santana: Aligning Goals with a Company’s Mission

In this week’s installment of our Career Advice video series, Linda Bell, Head of Content at Fair360, spoke with Jean Santana, Senior Director, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Strategy & External Reputation Management at Eli Lilly and Company (No. 5 on the Fair360 2023 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list). 

Santana spoke about the importance of employees aligning goals with a company’s mission. Santana said he learned this lesson as a human resources executive.

“The biggest thing I learned was that it’s not just about putting people in jobs or matching people with opportunities. It’s about matching candidates with a mission, with a company’s mission. You can put people in jobs and put people in companies, but if they don’t really connect to that mission, you’re not going to get that long-standing relationship.”

In 2022, Santana moved into his current role at Eli Lilly.

“I don’t really look at it as a transition,” he said. “To be an HR professional in 2023 and to be an HR leader is what we all strive to be. You have to be able to have a DEI lens in every single thing that you do.”

Santana said it’s the company’s mission that helps employees make it through the tough days.

“For us in the DEI space and at Lilly overall, it’s about our patients,” he said. “Everything we do is about our patients. You just think about that … There’s someone out there that really needs the medicines that we’re providing. There’s something that I’m doing that’s helping someone. So for me, I think the biggest thing is that missions matter and connecting people to missions is something that I carry with me to this day.”

2024 Top 50 Companies

Eli Lilly and Company

David A. Ricks
David A. Ricks
Chair, President & CEO

Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion is all about the pursuit of excellence. To deliver the new medicines patients need, we need the best people from all backgrounds to bring their best ideas and be heard. We’re building an environment where there’s equality and inclusion for everyone. Not only does it make us a better company, it aligns with our core values.

Kelly Copes Andersen
Kelly Copes-Anderson
VP, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

DEI is a capability that we all need to build. To make a difference in the lives of the more than 47 million patients who rely on our medicines, we must all play a part in driving a culture of inclusion and belonging–where all feel seen, supported, connected and proud.

From the Company

Marking its fifth consecutive year on the Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, Lilly believes diversity, equity and inclusion paired with innovation help the company discover and deliver life-changing medicines.

Lilly’s commitment to DEI enables us to better deliver on our purpose of making life better for people around the world.

In 2022, we:
• Created CEO-sponsored leadership development programs focusing on U.S. minority group members and LGBTQ+ employees
• Increased mentorships to more than 5,800 pairings
• More than doubled 2020 spend with Black suppliers to $358 million in 2022 and engaged Black business enterprises supporting the advancement of underrepresented businesses

Between 2017 and 2022, the number of women in management increased globally from 41% to over 49%. Representation of minority group members in U.S. management positions increased from 16% in 2017 to just below 25% at the end of 2022.

Lilly’s Racial Justice Commitment is driving change, enabling more jobs for minorities through our professional apprenticeship program, Skills First, which has more than 90 participants and focuses on eliminating the degree requirement for specific roles.

In 2020, Lilly committed 25,000 hours of volunteer service over five years to support organizations working against racial injustice and its effects on communities of color. Lilly employees completed that commitment in 2022, two years ahead of schedule, volunteering more than 30,000 hours to date.

Top 50 Ranking History