Meet the Women Charting Their Own Courses as Science Trailblazers
This International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we’re celebrating the women at Sanofi who are dedicated to changing people’s lives.
Women are leading the charge in pushing the boundaries of medicines at Sanofi, from exploring the potential of mRNA therapies as cancer treatments to utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning in drug discovery. But, despite their success, we know that only half as many women earn degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) compared to men.
On this year's International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we're celebrating eight trailblazing women at Sanofi who drive science and have some words of wisdom for young women who are considering pursuing their passions in STEM. These amazing women are helping to inspire the next generation of female leaders in healthcare and beyond.
Diane, Global Head of Digital Research & Development
When she was young, Diane knew she was going to be either a scientist or a ballerina. Today, she's leading the digital transformation of R&D at Sanofi, so it's clear which path won out. "My love for science bloomed with great teachers and mentors in the 7th grade," said Diane. "Being around real-life women in STEM from an early age sparked my passion and gave me the confidence to overcome stereotypes and carve my career path."
Working with colleagues across our digital operations, Diane continues learning to surmount challenges and encourages young women to do the same: "Don't be afraid of taking risks! Even if you're the only woman in the room, ask questions and embrace your curiosity."
Kai, Principal Scientist, Type 2 Inflammation
Kai's love for science and its impact on humanity has driven her to become a pioneering Principal Scientist at Sanofi. Fueled by her mother's support, she is tackling the complex mechanisms behind type 2 inflammation and is determined to make a difference in the lives of those affected by asthma, atopic dermatitis, and other inflammatory conditions.
“Over my career, I’ve had the chance to work with many incredible women, including my manager, who has been instrumental in helping me understand ‘the life of a drug,” Kai said. “I am happy to support young women or girls in science the way that my manager and my mum have supported me.”
Ramat, Clinical Science Operations Project Leader
Ramat still remembers the moment she decided to pivot to a career in healthcare. She was working as a veterinary tech as she prepared for her veterinary licensing exams and came face-to-face with a massive pet snake. "That was it – my career as a vet was over!" So she earned her master's in public health and now leads the charge in driving innovative operational strategies for clinical trials in immunology and inflammation.
Outside of work, Ramat volunteers her time mentoring teenagers in her home country, Nigeria, offering them the tools to fulfill their potential in the sciences and society. "The value of mentoring and sponsorship can't be understated," Ramat said. "I am the beneficiary of both, from my parents, mentors, and colleagues at work. Now, it's up to me to do the same for my female colleagues by becoming an advocate and creating an environment where they can thrive."
Maria, Global Head of Digital & Biologics Strategy and Innovation
Maria was inspired by the vastness of space and the mystery of dinosaurs to pursue a career in science. Hailing from the Philippines, she was grateful for the early encouragement in math and science she received. But as a pharma consultant earlier in her career, she saw the lack of representation for women and people of color in the field.
Determined to make a difference, Maria now leads a team of protein engineers and computational scientists on a mission to revolutionize medicine. Her team is tackling the toughest diseases with cutting-edge molecular engineering, synthetic biology, and AI. And Maria is paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive future in science. “Women and men have supported me at Sanofi," Maria said. "I am happy to do the same, not just for junior women scientists at Sanofi, but also for STEM students and young female biotech entrepreneurs."
Raj, Global Head of R&D Data Office
With a passion for education instilled by her educator father and aunt, Raj's first job was as a math and science tutor. But she truly found her calling in data sciences and drug development and embraced the challenges of drug discovery and development. With unwavering determination, she leads the charge in standardizing data management practices, and bringing customer-centric data solutions to the forefront, bridging the gap between R&D and patient needs.
Raj has been fueled by her mentors' guidance and has the drive to pay it forward. “As leaders, parents, educators, and community members, we should work together to accelerate women’s presence in science," Raj said. "We need to recognize that this can only be done by increasing awareness, providing resources for everyone to learn, and practicing empathy.”
Sally, Head of Research Portfolio & Strategy
Sally is carrying on the legacy of her mother, a beloved nurse who selflessly served her patients. Sally now leads the way at Sanofi, where she is at the forefront of selecting the next generation of vaccines. With unwavering determination, Sally rises to the challenge of bringing new vaccines to the masses. Her hard work and dedication have paid off, as she has been part of a team that brought a vaccine all the way from preclinical testing to the finish line.
Sally's message to young women and girls is simple yet powerful. "Follow your heart and never let anyone dim your light," Sally said. "If you have that insatiable curiosity and are passionate about helping others through science, don't be afraid to chase it with everything you have."
Behazine, Head of Global Preclinical and Human Immunology
Behazine, once a young dancer and aspiring choreographer, found her calling in a different arena. In high school, she discovered her passion for immunology and the crucial role it plays in controlling infectious diseases. This newfound purpose drove her to pursue a career in the field, and she now leads a team of trailblazing scientists at Sanofi, pushing the boundaries of vaccine development.
Behazine believes it's important to empower her colleagues to reach their full potential by embracing their authentic selves and fostering a supportive work environment. “I think women in science have everything they need to be successful,” she said. “We just need to be confident in our own emotion, creativity and intelligence rather than try to emulate the behaviors or leadership styles of others.”
Sudha, Head of Discovery Biology at mRNA Center of Excellence
As a child, Sudha wanted to be a lawyer, but she was soon captivated by the wonders of science, creating scrapbooks from science facts she found in newspapers and magazines. Curating her knowledge and contributing to community is an avenue Sudha is passionate about. Today, Sudha works at Sanofi's mRNA Center of Excellence, building the knowledge, technology and tools required to evaluate new designs for mRNA therapies. Her interdisciplinary team of experts in cell biology, translational biology, assay development, automation and immunology push the boundaries of science while having fun.
Sudha's advice to young women and girls pursuing science? "Believe in yourself, and don't feel discouraged when you face challenges," she said. "The power to create your future is within you."
These eight incredible women are a few of the people helping to make progress and are united by their desire to contribute to breakthroughs in health. If you're interested in their journey to explore new ideas, join us. And discover your future at Sanofi.