Feature Stories

Astellas Stands Together as One during Pride Month

Jul 6, 2016

Two years ago, Astellas established seven dynamic employee resource groups (ERGS) to raise awareness and foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Together as One (TAO) is the ERG that supports Astellas’ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community, together with their straight allies. The group’s purpose is to foster an inclusive and supportive work environment that inspires members of Astellas’ LGBTQ community and furthers the company’s longstanding commitment to support LGBTQ issues.

“Through our ERGs, we are making a concerted effort to be a leader in fostering diversity in the workplace at Astellas,” said Linda Friedman, SVP, general counsel, Legal, and executive sponsor of TAO. “TAO has been an embodiment of these efforts, doing remarkable work to advance the goals of the LGBTQ community inside and outside our company.”

While TAO is active all throughout the calendar year, Pride month celebrated in June is always a particularly special time. This is when Astellas proudly displays the rainbow Pride Flag outside its headquarters for the Americas in Northbrook, Illinois. This year, TAO also hosted several events for employees across the U.S. to increase awareness and education of the extraordinary work the broader LGBTQ community is doing to advance equality and human rights for all.

At their Northbrook headquarters, Victor Salvo, founder and executive director of Chicago's Legacy Project, led Astellas employees in a powerful lunch-and-learn session about the many contributions LGBTQ individuals have made over the past several decades. As part of our 2016 National Sales Forum, TAO joined other ERGs in the One Astellas Spirit Run, where they raised funds for The Tyler Clementi Foundation, a national LGBTQ anti-bullying organization. And, at Agensys, TAO hosted The Trevor Project—the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth—for an informative and impactful training session for straight allies of the LGBTQ community.

Pride Month culminated with Astellas’ participation in the 47th annual Chicago Pride Parade– our 7th consecutive year at the event – where over 100 employees and their friends and families proudly marched alongside the Astellas float. TAO members also carried a special flag in remembrance of the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

“The LGBTQ community has made tremendous strides in corporate America in the last 20 years, but the need for an inclusive workplace remains as important as ever,” said Ellen Papadakis, assistant general counsel, Legal, and chair of TAO. “Astellas’ unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion empowers TAO members to bring forward workplace issues that are important to them as members of the LGBTQ community.”