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Parexel Honored for Commitment to Improve Gender Representation

Parexel, a leading global clinical research organization (CRO) focused on development and delivery of innovative new therapies to advance patient health, recently was named a 2022 Catalyst Award winner by the global nonprofit organization Catalyst. Parexel was recognized for its Leveraging Gender Partnership to Advance Women in Leadership initiative that has evolved the company culture to one where women have the right resources and training to succeed.

In 2014, Parexel leadership realized that despite having healthy representation of women at the manager-and-below level, women were not progressing from the senior-director to vice-president level at the pace they would like. One of the actions the company took in response was to hire its first Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Aida Sabo. Under Ms. Sabo’s leadership, the company launched an initiative aimed at increasing its representation of women leaders at the highest levels by building a culture of inclusion from the top down.

Oversight of Parexel’s Women in Leadership initiative sits with the company’s Diversity Executive Committee (DEC), which includes several members of the Parexel Executive Leadership Team and the DEI department. This group meets quarterly to review goals, activities, and leadership representation data. Information from the DEC is funneled down to companywide committees, which prioritize activities based on the organization’s strategic goals. These companywide committees are sponsored by designated leaders and cover a range of subject matters, functions, and regions to address the unique needs of each.

CEO Jamie Macdonald and Parexel’s executive committee continue to lead a profound change in senior leadership culture by bringing in high-profile external speakers and providing unconscious bias training for the senior leadership team. These efforts have enabled leadership to recognize their own biases in a safe and supportive environment. The culture change at the senior-leadership level has permeated throughout Parexel across regions, functions, and levels.

“It is an honor to receive this prestigious award reflecting the importance of women in leadership,” said Jamie Macdonald, CEO of Parexel. “This recognition is a testament to the commitment Parexel has made to diversity in everything we do. From diversity of patients in our clinical trials to our hiring practices, to diversity in our Board, we are committed to fair and inclusive practices across every aspect of our global organization.”

The representation of women globally among senior leadership ranks has increased across each job-band level between 2014 and 2021. Particularly noteworthy are the increases at the senior vice-president level from 13.3% to 38.8% and from 32.3% to 50.3% at the vice-president level during this timeframe. In addition, in the United States, representation of women of color in Parexel’s workforce increased across several job levels, including an increase from 0% to 10% (10 percentage points) at the SVP level and 3.3% to 14.8% (11.5 percentage points) at the VP level. Parexel’s new board is comprised of 57% women and 29% women of color.