Years of intentional work to diversify Blueprint Medicines’ leadership is being recognized. A report from the Eos Foundation found Blueprint Medicines was one of the top ten companies in gender diversity among Massachusetts’ largest companies.
The report, “Breaking Through to the Top,” is an analysis of diversity among executive leadership at Massachusetts’ 75 largest public companies. Researchers found that Blueprint Medicines was ranked third in the Commonwealth for gender diversity in executive leadership, and ninth in gender diversity in Board leadership.
Chief People Officer Debbie Durso-Bumpus said that the acknowledgement highlights Blueprint Medicines’ commitment to build a foundation of equity across the entire company.
“It’s more than just this gender diversity outcome, there’s a bigger story to this,” she said. “It didn’t just happen overnight; this was over the course of many years, and it was achieved at every level within the organization.”
Currently, six of the 12 executive-level positions are held by women. Improvements to the company’s executive gender diversity began in 2016 and were in part realized after a large organizational shift in April 2022, when CEO Jeff Albers transitioned to the Executive Director of the Board of Directors and elevated COO Kate Haviland to CEO. The move triggered a reorganization at the executive level, leading to the elevation of three other executives who identify as female.
“We executed succession plans across four positions, all going to employees who were female and two who identify as racially diverse,” she said. “That is differentiating across many different industries. From an HR perspective, it was a proud moment. They were ready, the performance was there, the leadership capability was there, and their commitment was evident.”
Durso-Bumpus said that what makes Blueprint different is their focus on steady, incremental progress in equity across all levels of the company (not just the C-suite).
“Right now, we’re at 56-57% female representation throughout the organization,” she said. “We’ve been on this journey since 2016, so we have a point of proof that we know how to diversify.”
Blueprint’s Board of Directors was also named ninth in gender diversity among the 75 companies. Currently, there are three female Board members, with one serving as the Lead Independent Director and Chair of the Compensation Committee, and one serving as the Chair of the Audit Committee. Durso-Bumpus said that the Board distinguishes itself not just by the number of female-identified members, but the diversity of its leadership who are driving the Board’s priorities.
“As we were evolving, we knew we needed to evolve our Board,” she said. “There are other companies that have women in leadership, but we are purposeful about the role they play and that continues to evolve.”
A culture of equity has been built within Blueprint Medicines over the years, with an eye to both recruitment and retention of gender and racially diverse individuals. The company partners with community organizations focused on internship and job shadowing, which helps diversify our future employment pipeline; currently 80% of the company’s interns, fellows and co-ops come from these partnerships. Also, strategic metrics are employed to ensure parity in promotions, and third-party reviewers called “bias interrupters” are used to pinpoint and eliminate unconscious bias from the performance review process.
“This was an organization-wide, leadership-driven strategy,” she said. “I couldn’t do this in a vacuum, and there was real commitment both to large-scale investment, but also in day-to-day actions. Culturally, it’s got to be an organization that’s open-minded.”
Durso-Bumpus said that while Blueprint Medicines’ work in equity has shown progress, there is still more work to be done, particularly when addressing racial and intersectional diversity within the company.
“We, like our greater ecosystem, are not where we need to be,” she said. “But we’re making meaningful progress, and that’s what’s most important.”
The Eos Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation making charitable investments in efforts to fight hunger, support immigrants, and promote gender and racial equity. The “Breaking Through to the Top” report is part of the Eos Foundation’s Women’s Power Gap (WPG) initiative, created in 2018 to dramatically increase the number of women from diverse backgrounds among CEO and C-suite leaders across all sectors of our economy.More posts and webinars