I am the Director of Social Business Innovation in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMEA) and have been working at Merck for nearly six years. I am based in Zurich, Switzerland and I believe that my purpose and true calling in life all relates back to my love for social innovation. My passion for driving social impact and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) work has spanned more than 10 years. Personally, I am at the precipice of graduating from Geneva Business School with my doctoral degree in Business Administration with a focus on creating shared value, corporate responsibility and ESG. Throughout my three years at graduate school, I’ve conducted research on how companies can continue to make a profit but also deliver tangible and social outcomes for society. Proudly, I will be submitting my draft research findings soon – so by the end of this year I will have completed the doctoral program all while taking care of my little child Noa with my wonderful husband Lukas.
Answer: During my first week of working at Merck on the Oncology Policy team, I was unexpectedly introduced to the employee ambassador program while sitting next to a colleague who just so happened to be a part of the program. As I was talking with him about my background and my passions, he delightfully stated, “you should definitely become a Merck for Mothers employee ambassador!” The colleague went on to share more about the program, and I knew immediately that I would spend a lifetime not only as an employee ambassador, but to work with the Merck for Mothers team.
A couple months later, I found the program, followed it closely and signed myself up to contribute in any way that I could. To this day, being a part of the Merck for Mothers Employee Ambassador program has been a very fulfilling and rewarding journey.
Answer: The Merck for Mothers Employee Ambassador program is broadly connected to my life’s mission and purpose; I had lost both of my parents by the time I was seven years old and was orphaned. While these circumstances were difficult for me to come to terms with, I am very grateful for different family members and community members that helped raise me and put in the effort to support me in every way possible throughout my childhood and young adolescent life.
As I began to go through the different life stages as a woman, the loss of my parents, but more heavily, the loss of my mom, became harder. I’ve learned firsthand that when a mom is not present in her little girl’s life, that life is just not the same. My childhood experience is the reason why I connect so deeply with the Merck for Mothers’ mission - to ensure that no woman dies while giving life. My mother’s absence left a gap that I know can never truly be filled by anyone else.
With that, I am so grateful for the strong women in my community who stood up for me and supported me when I needed them most. Each day, I’m inspired to do everything in my power to never have another child live their life without their mother by their side.
Answer: When I think about activities, I think more recently about the opportunity to collaborate with other employees across the company on the creation of postnatal kits for women in distress in Ukraine, Türkiye and Syria. Supporting these women in times of need and coming together with others to make postnatal kits provides a really uplifting atmosphere and platform to share more about raising awareness on maternal health. Additionally, this activity keeps colleagues engaged and makes them feel as though they’ve contributed something tangible to the work that we’re doing around the world.
Secondly, I’ve found that through the Merck for Mothers Global Grants program we can engage with different countries and organizations while also inviting them to support our mission by putting together proposals on how their work can be a part of this maternal health support journey. No matter your title or day job, this program has taught me that there is nobody that won’t listen if you stop to voice your concerns surrounding maternal health and the work we are doing through Merck for Mothers.
Answer: An inspirational program that stands out to me, is with an organization called the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD). This initiative, supported by the Merck for Mothers Global Grants program, focused on building the capabilities of ambulance care workers in South Africa. Historically and for background, care workers used to drive to pick up pregnant women from one location and bring them to the hospital location without ever being equipped or informed about the care needed for the women during this final stage of the labor journey. However, with training established by the FPD, the care workers developed capabilities that would enable them to stop on the side of the road and support a woman in delivery of her baby.
With our collaboration with FPD, we saw an immense impact on preserving more women’s lives – by the end of the three-year grant (2019), FPD had trained 692 people in Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. This inspiring initiative was picked up by the University of Pretoria and the government in South Africa has decided to expand this program more broadly across the nation.
Answer: Becoming a member of the Merck for Mothers Employee Ambassador program is a two-way street. You experience the immense fulfillment of contributing to transformative work, supporting impactful organizations, and knowing it is making an impact while building your own personal capabilities. I truly believe that those who are most successful in the world have a connection to doing more for others beyond themselves.
My advice would be to connect with the teams that are doing great work within Merck for Mothers, as well as the regional leads, to understand how you can contribute and join in on the fun of making a living while making a difference in our world.