Everybody comes to work from a different place, from a different experience, from a different ethnicity, from a different life experience. They've learned things that you haven't learned. We want to use that unique perspective to further the business, to further our goals, and to enhance the lives and attitudes of everybody we’re working with.”
Director Jay Schiller is very open about his disability (he has an artificial arm and leg due to an electrical accident sustained while he was a college student).
“When you have a disability, it’s very easy to not embrace it or hide it. But I’ve always been comfortable with it as well as open to what I can and can’t accomplish.”
And, as it turns out, he can accomplish quite a bit.
Although Jay admits he may have been “a little naive” about going into chemistry with an artificial arm (as well as only taking a semester off after his accident), he graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Chemistry and a vision of working in pharma. Jay now supports early clinical development by analyzing samples from clinical trials of candidate compounds currently in development at Merck. “In early clinical development, we get to touch most of the molecules that come through drug development. We have direct impact on how quickly results get turned around and information gets supplied to our teams.”
Jay tries to pass on his irrepressible attitude to the STEM students with disabilities he mentors though the U.S. Business Leadership Network, a national non-profit that supports disability inclusion in the workplace.
“I had a lot of folks in my post-accident life who helped me along the way to show me there weren’t too many things that I couldn't do. They really helped me get going and started in my career. People with disabilities don't have enough role models. They just don't. But once somebody with a disability sees that somebody like them is doing something, it makes it so much easier to be able to accomplish his or her dreams. I wanted to be that for somebody else.”
Jay also pays it forward by being active in Merck’s Differently Able Employee Business Resource Group, which promotes diversity and inclusion for Merck’s employees with disabilities, workers with disabled family members as well as other allies throughout the organization.
Jay is proud to work somewhere with such a strong culture of diversity and inclusion. “Many people have different ideas about what diversity and inclusion means,” he notes. “What it is to me is using your unique perspective at work. Everybody comes to work from a different place, from a different experience, from a different ethnicity, from a different life experience. They've learned things that you haven't learned, that I haven't learned. We want to use that unique perspective to further the business, to further the goals, to further your team, to further everybody you're working with. I strongly believe that Merck is a company that walks the walk.”