Celebrating and supporting the Roche LGBTQ community is paramount to our purpose-driven culture and pursuit of an open and equal society. In honour of Pride Month, employees around the world share their stories.

“We can only hope for real change if everyone is committed to taking a stand. An ally is anyone who supports the LGBTQ+ community and their active voices and actions are essential in helping others understand the challenges."

André Bertomeu works in Roche Medical Affairs, Brazil and is the chair of the OPEN network that believes in the value of working with allies to expand awareness of the LGBTQ+ community. He also talks about a recent win in his country.

Stuart Knight, our GM at Roche in Australia shares his workplace coming-out journey; and how it reminded him of the value of authenticity and visibility in the workplace.

“Coming out at work took me on a very interesting journey. I was already ‘out’ in my personal life, but went firmly back ‘into the closet’ when I joined the UK pharmaceutical industry in 1992. I didn’t know what kind of environment I was walking into; I didn’t know if it was safe and accepted, or if being gay would hinder my career, so I kept it a secret for five years.”

Seeing her best friend come out during high school – and be rejected by his parents and friends – shaped Cindy’s drive for a diverse and inclusive workplace. She believes it is critical to have a culture of seeing individuals for who they are, and what they stand for.

William Haylett is Research and Early Development Scientist at Roche Diagnostics in Cape Town, South Africa. On paper, his country is a beacon of LGBTQ+ rights but it is not always the reality. He shares how his country has a splintered attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Laura Lange is Senior Global Project Manager in the Personalized Healthcare Center of Excellence based at the Genentech campus, South San Francisco. She shares stories that highlight progress made at Genentech on issues concerning the LGBTQ+ community, thanks to support from engaged allies.

“I am proud to see the contribution Roche Diagnostics is making in COVID testing, which could allay some of these heightened fears. I also see areas where the importance of quality diagnostics can have further impact.”

Mike Wierzba, Manager, Regulatory Affairs, Roche Tissue Diagnostics, is the chair of the OPEN Group at the site in Tucson, Arizona in the US. He talks about challenges the community faces during times of COVID and the importance of having allies.

Iain Gowers is a Technical Support Analyst in Roche Diagnostics, Burgess Hill, UK and leads the OPEN group in the UK. He outlines how he helped found a chapter in his city and connect with the already thriving LGBQ community. He reflects how grateful he is to have allies who help grow the community with their direct involvement and support.

“Allies play the role of change drivers within the evolution of a norm. On one hand they support the acceptance of diversity and different values, and on the other, they make a bias obvious. If a LGBTQ+ colleague gets offended by a statement, it is expected that the person will defend herself/himself. But there is a higher impact if a non-LGBTQ+ related colleague defends this person and highlights any kind of wrong behaviour.”

Padraic Ward is Head of Roche Pharma International group. In addition to leading teams across the world, he is also deeply involved in the OPEN Network for LGBTQ employees at Roche. He believes that nobody can, or should, be expected to be one person at home and another at work. He wants our organisation to be a place where we can all truly be ourselves, working together openly to make a difference in our communities and for patients.

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