When Employee Resource Groups Intersect
Feb 28, 2019
In our new employee profile series, we highlight Astellas’ commitment to Diversity & Inclusion through exploring the personal stories of employees. In this edition, we speak with Senior Corporate Accounts Director Health Systems Kevin Brown.
Can you tell us a little about your job at Astellas?
I’ve been with Astellas for 15 years. In my current role of Senior Corporate Accounts Director, Health Systems, I lead the clinical, contracting, field sales initiatives, strategy and tactics for the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) account. I co-lead the same initiatives for the Department of Defense (DoD). I work with the VA and DoD to ensure the military and our veterans have access to all Astellas products and value-added resources.
I served eight years in the US Army. While at my last duty station, I was assigned to Fort Bragg as an Army medic at Womack Army Hospital. I started out in the ER and then moved to the male surgical ward, where I provided pre- and post-op care for active duty and retired male patients. I was promoted to the rank of SP4 and received the Army’s Commendation Medal. Now many years later, those experiences help me to support the unique needs of veterans, active duty personnel and their dependents as an accounts director at Astellas
You’re currently part of two Employee Resource Groups at Astellas—African American and Military. How do those two intersect with your day job?
African American veterans are growing as a population, and given my experience, I am sensitive to that. I think often of my uncle and father-in-law, who are both veterans, and consider the issues and challenges that they have faced.
Being a part of both ERGs offers a great opportunity to navigate the corporate world and understand how the organization works. In addition, when you participate in an Astellas ERG, you gain exposure to broad cultural perspectives—and when working with physicians, or department heads or pharmacists of diverse backgrounds, it helps me better understand the needs they are facing.
Tell us about someone who has had a big impact on your life, either personally or professionally.
I have had two very strong women make an impact on my life.
My grandmother was the reason I pursued my higher education. As a young man, I came to her and told her I wanted to go to a community college, but I needed five dollars for the application fee. She was the type of person that would take a dollar and make it last for a very long time. In other words, she was frugal, but she gave me the money and continued to support me after that initial push. Getting my degree with her support was instrumental in my life. It got me where I am today.
And then on top of that –my mother, who raised seven children as a single parent, went back to school and maintained a 3.2 GPA during her studies while raising her family and working two jobs!
What cultural celebrations are meaningful to you?
Veterans Day and Black History Month are both very important to me.
I make it a point to meet with my father-in-law, a veteran, each Veteran’s Day to learn from him. I take him out to eat and we just sit there and talk about life. It’s my way of showing respect to him as an elderly Black American. I’ve learned from him some key things about life. He’s helped me track the history of my family back to the early 1800s and late 1700s, which is something I was never able to do before.
Black History Month is a great opportunity to recognize African Americans' contributions to this country and throughout the world. I talk to our kids about the importance of learning their own history, whether it’s the inventions that African Americans have contributed or fighting for our basic freedoms. Sometimes my son surprises me by being a little bit more politically savvy than I thought he would be!