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Kay Lavsi _Sanofi Story
March 12, 2018

Giving Back as a Mentor

Kay Lavsi, a Senior Manager in the Sanofi US Market Access group, knows first-hand how instrumental a mentor can be. Now she’s a mentor herself.
I am a Sanofi employee today because of the wise counsel of a mentor early in my career. With a degree in sociology, I jumped from a temporary job, to teaching, then to finance, and then to my current role with US Market Access at Sanofi. I never would have made these moves if it weren’t for the coaching (and coaxing) of my manager at the temporary position, who told me a college major doesn’t necessarily determine your career.

That’s why I’m excited to be a mentor for a new collaboration between Sanofi and Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in New Jersey. It’s an opportunity to help someone like myself who wasn’t 100 percent sure of her best path forward.

Through the Sanofi Corporate Mentor Program, I am paired with Viridiana (Viri) Martinez, who plans to attend a four-year college after completing her associate’s degree in Liberal Arts at RVCC. I’ve been helping her prepare for college interviews, develop her resume and apply for financial aid. My work background has helped me keep her focused on the “must-haves” throughout the process.

While Viri values my advice, she always puts her own spin on things. That’s how it should be. I’ve come to realize that we can leverage our different viewpoints to become stronger as a team.

Mentoring has been a learning experience for me as well. I am gaining the skills to one day reach one of my career goals: to become a people manager. Most importantly, I’ve built a friendship that will last.

To find out more about the Sanofi US Corporate Mentor Program, click here.
Diego Sanofi Story

Helping the People of Puerto Rico

When Sanofi asked for qualified employee volunteers to assist Heart to Heart International’s humanitarian aid efforts in Puerto Rico, Diego Saiz, Value Stream Transformation, Sanofi Business Services-NA, seized the opportunity. During his two-week trip, Diego used both his Emergency Medical Technician skills and his ability to solve problems and increase efficiency. In doing so, he not only provided much needed assistance to the people of Puerto Rico, but also learned some lessons along the way.

February 7, 2018

Patty Hill_sanofi story

A Mother’s Love – with Help from Friends – Makes a Difference

Patty Hill’s teenage son, Aaron, sustained a traumatic brain injury after a serious car accident. When Aaron was a patient at JFK Hartwyck in Edison, N.J., Patty was offered an opportunity to transform a plain patio at the facility into a respite with a pondless waterfall and nature path for patients and their families. Patty explains how it happened with the help of dozens of Sanofi US employee volunteers.

December 19, 2017

Darlene_Sanofi Story

Magic in the Movement

Darlene’s Rheumatoid Arthritis Story

December 4, 2017

July 3, 1968. After 49 years, Darlene still remembers this date as if it were yesterday. That morning, she woke up with her entire body in excruciating pain. “I didn’t know what was happening to me. Everything around me was a blur. All I could focus on was the pain and swelling in my joints, shoulders, hands, knees, and feet,” Darlene recalled. At just 19 years old, she knew what she was feeling was not normal. She had to see a doctor immediately.

During that first visit to see her doctor, Darlene, from Rochester Hills, Michigan, was left with unanswered questions, continuously struggling to find definite answers to what was causing her pain. She spent the next two years working with her healthcare team to uncover the cause of her pain, finally learning she had rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Relieved to finally have a diagnosis, Darlene continued to have issues with her disease, this time with not only the pain she was feeling, but also with difficulty finding the right rheumatologist. After being diagnosed by her primary care physician, she faced a long and arduous journey in search of the right rheumatologist. Thankful to finally have found a rheumatologist, she continues to see this same doctor today.

“With the help of my current rheumatologist, I learned how to manage my disease in a healthy way. I was able to go back to work full-time and care for my family. The difference was night and day. I know well the importance of truly partnering with my healthcare team to better understand my diagnosis,” said Darlene.

Giving Back
Darlene has always had a desire to support her community. So, when she learned she had RA, it was natural for her to try to combine her love of giving back with helping others who were suffering with RA. Darlene explained, “Being an active member of my community is not just a hobby, it’s a part of who I am as a person. Through my own personal experiences, I realized there was an educational gap when it came to RA. I made it my mission to help others become more aware of this chronic debilitating condition, including its symptoms, impact on daily life, and how to develop coping tips.”

Working with the Michigan Partners for Arthritis Education (MPAE), Darlene participated in a program focused on encouraging patients to be their own advocates by better understanding their RA diagnosis and identifying their best path forward. The MPAE also hosted events at universities around the country designed to educate medical students about RA.

Now retired from her job as an accountant, Darlene enjoys taking care of her family and spending her days as a coordinator for the MPAE, serving as a public speaker educating others about RA – something she’s remained passionate about for more than 20 years.

Darlene has no plans to stop advocating for herself and others. She explained, “My hope is that I can continue to help others find ‘magic in the movement’, to push through the physical and emotional challenges that come with living with RA and to actively engage in educational programs about the disease so people suffering from RA can get back to the activities they enjoy while managing their symptoms in a healthy way.”

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the tissues of the joints, causing inflammation, pain, and eventually joint damage and disability. Rheumatoid arthritis impacts more than one million Americans.

For more info click here.

Linda Laustsen_Sanofi Story

Supporting the Diabetes Community

For Linda Laustsen, a member of the Diabetes & Cardiovascular business unit, personal connections to those impacted by diabetes give special meaning to her work.

November 01, 2017

More than 30 million people have diabetes in the U.S., so it’s safe to say that the condition has touched the lives of many people you know. It’s true for me, as some of my co-workers, friends and family have diabetes. My mother had diabetes, and when I saw how she was affected by the condition, it made my work at Sanofi even more meaningful and has inspired me for the past 15 years.

It’s because of my mom and my friends that I am deeply involved with DiabetesConnect, one of Sanofi’s nine employee resource groups (ERGs). DiabetesConnect provides a forum for employees who have been diagnosed with diabetes, care for someone with diabetes, or want to learn more about the condition. Team members network with one another and gain access to experts in the field – physicians, nurses, nutritionists, and more – whose insights can enhance their management or care of the condition. One thing I’ve learned from DiabetesConnect: Diabetes never takes a day off.

This November, American Diabetes Month, Sanofi will also offer events to raise awareness among its employees. My colleagues will have an opportunity to hear from Nicole Johnson, PhD, National Director of Mission at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). You might remember her as the winner of the 1999 Miss America pageant who shared her personal story about living with type 1 diabetes during the pageant. Nicole will speak to employees about her experience with diabetes and all that JDRF is doing to support the community. We’ll also offer HbA1C (blood sugar) testing and education onsite to help employees understand their risks and how to manage a well-balanced lifestyle.

I am most proud of our efforts outside of Sanofi, however, and am honored to have been part of a team that helped donate millions of dollars worth of insulin products over the years to youth summer camps across the country, impacting thousands of campers. Diabetes camps provide unique and exciting experiences where youth can learn to independently manage their diabetes among friends and dedicated professionals.

One of our recipients is Camp Nejeda, a camp in New Jersey for children with type 1 diabetes and their families. In addition to providing insulin products and financial support, Sanofi sends teams of volunteers throughout the summer to help greet new campers, open the camp, and close it at the end of the season. We’ve even helped with special projects, such as building a GaGa pit and a teepee.

The relationships I have built over the years within the diabetes community have provided me with great satisfaction. I am very lucky and proud to work at a company that not only supports community involvement, but encourages it as well.

Zhi-Yong Yang_Sanofi Story

Exciting New Sanofi HIV Research Published in Journal Science

As a research scientist at Sanofi, it is always exciting to share news about a potentially groundbreaking innovation. So I am delighted that a newly-published article in the journal Science highlights our early-stage research into “trispecific” antibodies as a potential new paradigm for combating human immunodeficiency virus, commonly known as HIV.

October 09, 2017

By Dr. Zhi-Yong Yang

Trispecific antibodies are broadly neutralizing antibodies that have been engineered to recognize three target sites in one molecule. One of the key issues in tackling the HIV pandemic is overcoming the remarkable global genetic diversity of HIV strains and subtypes. In our new study, we found that one investigational trispecific antibody successfully neutralized more than 99% of more than 200 HIV samples in vitro (in the laboratory).

This builds upon the experience we’ve seen with monoclonal and bi-specific antibodies – but suggests that “three-in-one” antibodies could lead to higher potency and breadth of coverage than we’ve ever previously witnessed. The implications for HIV are exciting and this approach may also have applicability in other infectious diseases, autoimmune conditions, and cancer.

Securing publication in such a respected journal as Science feels like a real reward for Sanofi’s North America Breakthrough Laboratory. There are always many challenges in early R&D work. When I think back to the early days, and the challenges we had to overcome, I am even prouder of this announcement.

I am personally grateful to so many colleagues who contributed to this work. This research would not have been possible without our close collaboration across teams at Sanofi, in particular the Biologics Research, Translational Science, Biopharmaceutics Development department and leadership teams. Additionally, we are so grateful for the expertise of our external collaborators at the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, and The Scripps Research Institute.

It is true that no single entity can conquer a disease like HIV on its own, and I’m pleased that at Sanofi, we’re able to work in public-private partnerships to work toward this goal. I plan to continue work on this innovative approach as we progress to the first clinical trials in humans and hope that there will be even more good news to share over the next few years.