A message from our CEO
Jan. 14, 2021
Dear Edwards Employees,
The start of 2021 has already been unpredictable, with continued and urgent concerns around COVID and a tumultuous political environment in the United States. Despite this, the new year still signals an opportunity to reaffirm our commitments and look ahead to new goals. As always, we remain steadfast in serving patients, our employees, communities and partners; and to succeed, diversity, inclusion and belonging must be core to our identity.
We believe our future will be brighter as we continue to foster a culture where all of us around the world grow and thrive and embrace our diversity. Last year, I discussed the injustices impacting the Black community, reflecting on Edwards' commitments and responsibility to lead the change we seek in advancing a more inclusive workplace and community.
We believe that we can be most effective when we give everyone the opportunity to be a part of this process. Through listening sessions and ongoing dialogue, we’ve heard that even with our strong culture, there is more to learn and improve. We added questions in our recently completed employee engagement survey, to address the inclusiveness of our environment and define areas of strength and opportunities for further development. Your feedback has informed priorities and initiatives to enhance our global diversity, inclusion and belonging strategy, as we ask, “What else can we do?”
For these types of changes to have an impact, meaningful steps must be taken. I am pleased to share areas where we focused our attention in the last several months, and areas where we will continue to focus in the months and years ahead:
- We remain committed to increasing gender and ethnic diversity in leadership. We've consistently improved year over year in the last decade, and find ourselves comparing favorably among our peers and against well-regarded industry benchmarks. I have had, and continue to have, performance goals measured by the percentage of females in senior leadership roles around the globe, as well as ethnic minorities in senior management in the U.S. While there has been steady progress, my performance goals will be expanded in 2021 to focus on inclusion and belonging, and goals will also be established and reviewed for our senior leaders around the globe.
- While I firmly believe that each of us is responsible for fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, we recognize that to truly advance, we need dedicated expertise to ensure inclusivity is a daily priority. We are in the process of hiring an additional leader responsible for evolving Edwards’ diversity, inclusion and belonging strategy, assessing and monitoring metrics and encouraging our progress. Additionally, we are progressing to meet our goal of having all Edwards employees complete unconscious bias training by the end of 2022.
- Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) remain a vibrant part of our inclusive culture. From inception, our ERGs have been initiated and driven by our employees who are passionate about fostering a culture of belonging. This community has been invaluable for us in 2020 and our ERGs continue to expand in 2021.
- We are encouraged by the progress made toward our early career and professional talent initiatives and are committed to further developing these partnerships in 2021. Last year, we strengthened our recruitment initiatives and outreach with the National Black MBA Association, the National Society of Black Engineers and other professional and student organizations. We also made connections with several historically Black colleges and universities and other institutions with diverse student populations.
- As we shared before, we expect our supplier and contractor partners to align with our same standards. We began a supplier diversity program and are working on our goals and plans to grow this program further in the future.
- Throughout 2020, the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation continued its long-standing charitable support to address health and opportunity gaps among at-risk and minority populations, including organizations specifically focused on strengthening Black communities in the U.S. This included support for eight trusted partners to address healthcare gaps for Black structural heart and critical care patients through our Every Heartbeat Matters initiative.
- In communities near our corporate headquarters in Orange County, Calif., and our facility in Salt Lake County, Utah, we continued our support for more than 50 non-profit organizations addressing opportunity gaps impacting minority communities.
- We continue to be engaged in numerous industry partnerships. Edwards is taking a leadership position with AdvaMed on convening companies to focus on fostering diversity in medical technology and lifesciences workplaces, and to address racial disparities in health equity. With partners such as the American Heart Association and Association of Black Cardiologists, we are addressing racial disparities in health equity through a patient centered quality improvement initiative.
With the start of 2021, I am optimistic about our opportunities ahead. I recognize that we need inclusive leadership to foster a culture where all employees feel respected and valued. Getting this right is critical to our long-term success. I reaffirm my commitment to you that we will aspire to continue to make Edwards a welcoming environment for all employees. Thank you, as always, for your partnership and engagement as we help more patients around the world.
Please take care,
December 21, 2020
A Sincere Thank You to Our Employees
By Mike Mussallem, Edwards Lifesciences Chairman and CEO
To say that 2020 has been a challenging year would be an understatement. This year has tested clinicians, our partners and communities, our employees and their families, and, especially, our patients. Despite these challenges, I have been inspired and humbled by the tireless work of frontline health care workers treating patients and confronting COVID-19 daily, as well as those treating patients with other deadly conditions such as structural heart valve disease. And while I recognize that we are not on the front lines responding to COVID every day, the actions of our team are extraordinary. They have continued to greet challenges and crises with, "How can I help?" all the while remaining focused on bringing our life-saving therapies to patients in need.
I am grateful for our team’s accomplishments and flexibility. Many on our team had to quickly adapt to remote work, and their transition was impressive, as we continued pushing forward and innovating on our vast array of new technologies. Our resilient global supply chain team continued to come to work in-person at our manufacturing facilities around the world, ensuring that we could continue to bring our most important lifesaving technologies to patients in need. Our committed field teams found creative ways to support physicians, our engineers kept innovation alive, and our clinical colleagues found new ways to collect clinical evidence around the world. We began supplying our heart valve technologies from one of our global network facilities in Costa Rica, advanced our new facilities in Ireland and Irvine and received approval of TAVR in China. We are pleased that we did not make staff reductions as a result of COVID, and, instead, grew our team and invested in long-term programs to ensure a brighter future. The list goes on and on; I deeply appreciate that everyone has played a part to ensure patients were put first this year, despite the pandemic.
Supporting underserved patients and the communities where our employees live and work, through the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation and our employee gifts, is central to our company’s values. I feel incredibly fortunate that we have been able to give back in a significant way during a year where our world has had extraordinary needs. The generosity from our employees is especially meaningful as they have used their passion for innovation to continue to find ways to give back: from making meals for the homeless, to virtual fundraising campaigns, to refurbishing computers for homeless youth, to donations of our technologies to help vulnerable patients in intensive care units. The team’s creativity always inspires me. I’m pleased to report that 2020 will be our most significant year of giving yet, as we nearly doubled giving to support almost $20 million in charitable causes. You can read more about our giving here.
This year threw us all more than a few surprises, but, as I reflect, I am also immensely thankful for the unwavering commitment demonstrated by the entire Edwards team in living our credo and remaining focused on patients. The strength, resiliency and dedication of our global team truly motivates me every day, and it is because of them that our future is so bright. So, to all of our employees around the world I say, "Thank you."
Wishing you a safe and healthy new year,
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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