International Women's Day (IWD) is a global initiative celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also recognizing a need to accelerate gender equality. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual, recognizing the power of individual action to collectively effect change.

At Roche, our Mississauga Women’s Network group is one of more than 20 women’s professional networks across our organization, bringing together men and women with the shared vision of gender equality and inclusion for all. These are employee-created and -driven networks aimed at strengthening our female talent, helping to eliminate barriers between genders, building networking opportunities and developing our future leaders.

Lisa Holtshousen, one of our Mississauga Women’s Network’s founding members, shares why a group like this is so important to our organization. “We have a significant number of women working at different levels across almost all functional areas, many of whom are willing to mentor, share their journey, and support the next generation of women. Along with the newly formed Women's Network, we are well set up to sustain the supportive culture that allows women at any stage in their career path to both see what is possible and to feel supported in working towards what they want to be." 

Lisa adds, “Whether through good hiring practices, diversity training or other means, Roche has created a supportive workplace culture in which women can thrive.” 

As we embark on this new decade, with a renewed enthusiasm and commitment to create a gender equal world, we asked other members from our Women’s Network and Roche leaders for their perspective on this important topic.


Woman with arms put out in front like an equal sign

Lisa Holtshousen

Woman with arms put out in front like an equal sign

Vanessa Federovich


“We want to make sure we have the best people in this organization to deliver on our mission to deliver better outcomes to more patients, faster. We have a philosophy that supports what may have traditionally been known as “women’s issues”, by creating inclusive, flexible policies that benefit everyone. We take pride in our recruitment and internal promotional practices that actively try to minimize bias in order to attract the best talent regardless of gender or any other qualities.”

Vanessa Federovich, Vice President, Human Resources & Corporate Services


Woman with arms put out in front like an equal sign

Carlene Todd


“A gender equal workplace - as does diversity of culture, beliefs and sexual orientation - brings diversity of thinking, represents the society we live in, and therefore is critical to effective decision-making and innovative solutions."

Carlene Todd, Vice President, Access & Mississauga Women’s Network member


Man with arms put out in front like an equal sign

Ronnie Miller


“As a father of 3 young women, I’m committed to supporting an environment in which women are afforded the same opportunities as men. Each one of us has a role to play in achieving gender parity. We need to question our biases, and actively work to change attitudes and behaviours that do not afford equal opportunities to our employees – regardless of gender, race, or other factors that have nothing to do with talent. When everyone contributes their unique perspective, skills and insights, we see better outcomes for our business, and ultimately the patients we serve.”

Ronnie Miller, President & CEO, Canada


March 6, 2020

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