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Inclusion at Astellas: Recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is observed in the United States every October to recognize the workplace accomplishments of people living with disabilities and to reaffirm our nation’s commitment to equal opportunity in the workplace. As part of our commitment to build an inclusive workplace, we support our Astellas Abilities Employee Impact Group (Abilities EIG) and their efforts to educate the Astellas community and create a better workplace for people with disabilities.

In addition to traditional EIG focus areas such as career development and fostering a strong culture, our Abilities EIG works with our Human Resources team to support the hiring and promotion of employees with disabilities and to connect employees with resources to support their needs and the needs of their families.

“Our goal is that every member who comes into the Abilities EIG gets what they need,” shared Kourtney McGrew, co-chair of the Abilities EIG and senior sales representative, Hospital & Transplant. “Especially in this remote world, we’re able to tap into where people are less satisfied and may need more support.”

Because a diagnosis of cancer qualifies as a disability, the Abilities EIG recently launched a Cancer Support Community for employees and their families who are cancer patients, survivors, and/or caregivers. As part of an ongoing commitment to oncology and mission to deliver value to patients, Astellas prioritized the opportunity to extend that commitment to employees and family members impacted by the disease.

“We recently had an employee share their cancer journey and attendees were very moved. One attendee even openly shared that they had just started their own cancer journey and felt inspired. This sort of outreach lets people know they’re not alone,” said Jeff Letizia, co-chair of the Abilities EIG and associate director of Commercial Finance. “We always say ‘everyone is going to be a caregiver or be cared for at some point in their life,’ and we want to ensure we support our employees and provide them with the necessary resources.”

The Abilities EIG has also prioritized mental health awareness, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included programming around work-life management and other topics focused on raising awareness and addressing stigma associated with mental health. “As we navigate through this new way of remote working, it is our goal to stay connected with our Astellas family to make sure we do not lose that sense of belonging and allow people to have open and honest conversations,” commented Jeff.

“If our mental health isn’t right, we can’t be at our best each day,” shared Kourtney. “Our goal is really for all employees to bring their true self to work and thrive in our culture.”

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