Magazine Article | February 28, 2020

Dear Readers — We Hear You

Source: Life Science Leader

By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
Follow Me On Twitter @RfwrightLSL

My January Editor’s Note, “Can You Help With Gender Diversity In The New Year?” received some comments from readers. And while most of these included suggestions toward helping, one email provided a different perspective.

“I am disappointed to read that the content of your magazine will now [or more so] be based on what is between people’s legs instead of what is between their ears or the quality and quantity of their accomplishments and contributions. Political correctness … is this of your own choosing or has the collectivist bio press/media come after you for not having the politically correct groups on your cover?”

Let’s address this head on.

First, our goal has always been to focus on uncovering best business practices which provide actionable information for our readers, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. While I wish society was to a point where we didn’t have to pass laws to provide for inclusion of diversity at leadership levels, the reality is, the world of business, which includes our industry, squandered opportunities to be self-determinant. Persistent excuses of not being able to find any qualified diverse candidates for boards or leadership opportunities, combined with incredibly slow progress for “equal opportunities” truly being equal (and open), is why California passed a first-in-nation law (SB-826) requiring publicly held companies to put women on their boards of directors. And though this law is facing some legal challenges, one cannot dispute its positive impact for opening doors to opportunities now being filled by extremely well-qualified and diverse leaders.

Second, this was my/our choosing, and has been since my taking on this role when arriving in 2010. Because while we always try to find great people to share their stories regardless of attributes that constitute whether they are diverse, we would demonstrate complete societal tone deafness if we weren’t cognizant of our covers representing the diversity of our readership. While I/we welcome the day when people won’t be so aware of the gender or race of a leader appearing on Life Science Leader’s cover, the reality is, for now at least, diversity (including thought) among contributors and covers is something we will continue to pay attention to — until we no longer have to.

Not long ago, I had a phone call with a reader late on a Friday, as this was the time that worked best with their schedule. Talk about impressed. While most are racing out the door to get their weekend started, this reader stayed a little late toward helping us. We talked about some of the things they liked about the publication; for example, the monthly “Ask The Board” column remains a favorite. But they also shared their preference for reading our magazine in its print version. “When you stare at a computer all day, your eyes get fatigued by that platform,” they stated. Though it was good to hear what they liked, they also gave a bunch of ideas for where we can improve. And while emails like the above can sometimes be difficult to take, it is important to listen, especially when the opinion might not seem aligned with yours. For I assert that this reader, like me, looks forward to a day when diversity and inclusion are organic in nature.