Ange Buchter, Director, Vaccine Manufacturing in Swiftwater, PA and Shane Nelson, DE&I Business Partner in Bridgewater, NJ, know first-hand the challenges working parents face, especially in today’s climate. This year, they have been named as the Sanofi US 2022 Working Parents of the Year to celebrate the honor of Sanofi US receiving a spot on Seramount’s 100 Best Companies and 100 Best Companies for Dads lists. Ange and Shane will be featured in the annual listing of the country’s top companies that rank highly in family benefits, including parental leave, family support and job flexibility. Read on for their stories.
I have been working for Sanofi for 18 years in manufacturing and have worked my way up from a technician to a director.
My husband, Paul, also worked in manufacturing for several years at Sanofi. In 2019, Paul suffered a cardiac event and passed away suddenly. This was very unexpected and without warning, leaving me a single mother in an instant to our three children: Gavin (14), Adria (13) and Amelia (5). Trying to be a single mom with three kids and work in manufacturing full-time is a challenge, but a challenge I accept every day. I needed to develop new skills and tactics to manage my work and my life. As a family, we have rebuilt our lives, but it took a lot of learning, establishing boundaries, depending on my support systems - including a great family that helps us. For me, it took a lot of courage to tell my story and ask for help. Sanofi has supported me beyond my expectations and made it possible to navigate through the past few years.
My children and I miss Paul immensely and we have become more resilient than we ever thought we could be. Two things I’ve learned from the impact of this tragedy in our lives is that you have to take care of yourself to recharge. In doing so, it helps you with the most important thing which is being fully present for my family.
I have worked my entire career in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In 2020, I took the opportunity to join Sanofi as the Diversity & Inclusion Business Partner and contribute to Sanofi’s DE&I vision and goals.
Alongside my work life, I am a father and a husband. I have four children, Ominay (21), Jayden (18), Bryson (9) and Shane Carter (3), who is often called the CEO of the house, and my wife Kimiko. My son Bryson was diagnosed with Autism at 18 months. We were able to start services early on, such as Early Intervention and speech therapy, which have provided him with the tools to hit major milestones and thrive. I like to honor each of my kids by spending individual time with them and doing something they enjoy.
Raising kids is a lot of work! My wife and I make a great team. We play “good cop, bad cop” masterfully and that keeps the kids on their toes, especially Bryson and Shane Carter. We have also learned how to honor each other, to be able to take time for our own well-being. Each year we take a few days, just the two of us, to decompress and rejuvenate. We try our best to communicate what we need to help us show up as our best selves as parents, and for each other. It is not all rosy, and of course we encounter rough patches here and there. The best advice I can give, and one I received from a mentor a long time ago, is to have a short memory for those rough patches. Work through them and move on. It also helps that my wife thinks I’m a comedian. I use humor to get through those rough patches.
I am currently looking forward to a family trip to Disney World at the end of the year. The kids have grown up with Disney and Marvel characters so it will be magical for them to meet those characters in person.