A message from our CEO
June 19, 2020
Dear Edwards employees:
The global COVID-19 pandemic has tested our company, our communities, our patients and the healthcare professionals with whom we are honored to serve. The strength, resiliency, compassion and dedication that I have witnessed from our global Edwards Lifesciences team inspires me each day. It has also provided opportunities to reflect on the company and on our culture.
Just as we began to witness progress related to COVID-19, we were painfully reminded of injustices impacting the Black community. The tragic and inexcusable deaths of Black men and women in America have forced us to again examine how bias, racism and discrimination unjustly impacts our brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends and colleagues.
At Edwards, we take a strong stand against all injustice and racism. In the spirit of this, I was pleased that, this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against discrimination. I am also grateful that we have created a culture that understands the strength of diversity, the power that comes from an inclusive environment and the impact that we can have on so many patients if we listen to the ideas and diverse thinking of those around us.
But while I celebrate this, I also understand we have a responsibility to lead the change we seek. Over the last few weeks, the leadership at Edwards has participated in listening sessions with approximately 1,000 employees. We are also creating a “Community of Support” internal webpage to provide employees with tools and resources to enhance the ongoing conversation and understanding of our Black colleagues. I know that we have many colleagues who are understandably scared, angry, discouraged and disheartened about recent events, and they have challenged Edwards, despite a strong culture and a commitment to diversity and inclusion, to continue to improve.
What I want each of you to know is that the leaders of Edwards are listening, we are learning and we are acting. Our focus is on being thoughtful and initiating action that results in long-term, sustainable impact. So, while some of these actions may take time to implement, we know we will see the benefits in the long term. Edwards has done a lot over the history of our company to address these issues, but more importantly, we are committed to doing more moving forward. Below, I share information to provide a foundation of understanding of where we are and where we can go. We will hold ourselves accountable to continue to drive improvement. This list is not exhaustive but is meant to represent some of our key actions.
- I have had, and continue to have, a performance goal measured by the percentage of ethnic minorities in senior management in the U.S. Edwards has a publicly reported goal focused on demonstrating a year-over-year positive trend of increasing ethnically diverse talent in leadership positions in the U.S. I am also defining additional, related measures to incorporate into my performance goals.
- Last year, Edwards signed the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion. This pledge demonstrates our commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within our organization and recognizing that change starts at the executive level.
- Over the last several years, 100% of Edwards’ senior leaders and their direct reports have completed workshops that include unconscious bias training, which educates employees around the identification and adjustment of underlying beliefs, perceptions and assumptions we develop based on our past experiences. This training is available as an e-learning module to all employees, and, going forward, we have committed to training all global employees on unconscious bias.
- In keeping with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we believe our supplier and contractor partners should align with our same standards, and we are examining opportunities to do this. We will create a supplier diversity program by the end of the year, with a focus on routinely tracking progress supporting minority-owned businesses.
- We are proud that we currently have 11 thriving Employee Resource Groups (ERG), with 29 chapters around the world, to provide resources and support to employees, and celebrate and advance diversity. For example, one of the ERGs is the African Heritage Forum, which has served as a valuable resource and outlet for education and engagement, particularly over the last several weeks. The ERGs are focused on networking and mentoring, education and awareness, recruiting and community outreach.
- In recent years, we made a commitment to hire more Black graduates, as well as those representing other minority and underrepresented groups. We are examining our metrics and commitments here, including deepening existing partnerships with organizations such as National Society of Black Engineers. Edwards also has ongoing involvement with programs such as the International Center for Professional Development’s Scientist Mentoring & Diversity Program for Medical Technology (SMDP MedTech). Supported by the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation and with involvement by Edwards’ leaders and employees through speaking and mentoring, SMDP MedTech is a year-long mentoring program benefitting baccalaureate and graduate students from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in the medtech industry.
- Edwards Foundation is committed to addressing health and opportunity gaps, such as health disparities, among at-risk and minority populations, including organizations specifically focused on strengthening the Black community. Included among the 50 organizations supported in 2019 are those focused on national efforts such as the Association of Black Cardiologists, as well as those focused near our corporate headquarters where employees can be more involved, such as 100 Black Men of Orange County. For the 2020 grant cycle, Edwards Foundation is encouraging existing partners to focus on programs or initiatives that address needs within the Black community.
- Edwards Foundation also supports the charitable giving of employees, and, in partnership with the African Heritage Forum ERG, has provided recommendations for non-profit organizations focused on strengthening the Black Community for employees to donate to, volunteer their time and learn more. As announced earlier this year, the Edwards Foundation is doubling its commitment to supporting employees through the Employee Matching Gift Program at an increased $2:$1 ratio, through the end of 2020.
As noted above, this is not an exhaustive list but rather my commitment to each of you that I will drive improvement in our company and strive to behave as a good example. I believe our future will be brighter if we continue to be a place where all employees around the world thrive and grow without bias or discrimination. With your engagement, we will be even more successful, because we succeed when we collectively put our minds to common goals. I will continue to listen and look for opportunities for sustainable systemic improvement, and I appreciate your partnership in continuing our honest and productive dialogue.
Please take care,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
June 1, 2020
Dear Edwards employees:
Last week in the U.S. we witnessed the tragic and inexcusable death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of a police officer. His senseless death fills us with a range of emotions from anger to sadness and feelings of hopelessness. It has also triggered protests against discrimination and injustice across the U.S. and other parts of the world, several of which have sadly turned violent.
Our Edwards community prides itself in being compassionate, and there is no more important time than now for us to demonstrate that to each other and the world around us. Fostering a diverse, inclusive culture where all of our employees can grow and thrive is not just something we do, it’s who we are. We are deeply committed to passionate engagement that strengthens our communities. We must condemn acts of discrimination, violence or hate against members of our Black community and any community, as well as the areas where we live and work.
Seeking diverse perspectives is part of our Secret Sauce because it makes us better and stronger, and we need all perspectives now more than ever. As we navigate these difficult times, it’s critical that we continue to treat each of our colleagues, and all people, with the respect, dignity and humanity we all deserve.
Thank you for your continued passion and engagement. Please remain vigilant and safe during this time of concern and uncertainty.
Please take care,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
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