65 percent of Durham-based Quintiles’ workforce are women

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Tuesday is International Women’s Day, and one Durham-based company is celebrating in a big way.

Quintiles employs about 36,000 people worldwide. Nearly 65 percent of them are women.

“That’s well above our industry average of 39 percent, so that’s a baseline of success,” said Sandy Kennedy, Quintiles’ senior vice president of quality management.

Kennedy has been with the biopharmaceutical services company for nearly 20 years. She says she’s seen a shift over time, specifically in the last five years.

“I’ve seen an increasing level of responsibility, authority and leadership of our women here,” she said. “A number of very significant roles are now being held by very qualified women.”

In that time, Kennedy says the company came together “in a bit of a grassroots movement” to form a women’s development program.

It’s called Women Inspired Network.

“That has grown now to over 1,600 women globally,” said Kennedy. “Giving them the opportunity to invest in their careers, to achieve their goals and to really craft where it is they want to be in the health care industry.”

The company was just named the World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute.

Kennedy has no doubt her female coworkers had something to do with it.

“When you have a more diverse group of people at the decision table, you have a broader range of opinions, of information sets that are considered, and I believe you always come back out with the best answer and with the most well-rounded, meaningful and thoughtful solution,” she said.

Quintiles has also made Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers and was named one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE Magazine.

Kennedy says the company is committed to getting women involved in science, technology and math as they grow up with its girls in science programs. They also aim to help women living in poverty by supporting the Dress for Success in the Triangle region.

To help celebrate International Women’s Day, the company asked its employees to snap selfies. For every photo taken and posted to its internal intranet site, Quintiles is donating $1 to the local Dress for Success organization.

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