Finding My Voice: Advocating for LGBTQ+ Inclusion at Sanofi and Beyond

Published on: June 25, 2024
Amy sits on the front stoop of her home on a spring afternoon with her wife and their three children
Amy, back left, enjoys a spring afternoon with her wife and their three children

By Amy Kalista, People and Culture Transversal Project Lead

My journey at Sanofi has been one of continuous growth and self-discovery. To their credit, Sanofi encourages employees to explore opportunities that suit their interest and apply for cross-functional moves as their career aspirations evolve. As a result, I recently switched teams from Global Regulatory Affairs to People & Culture, a move fueled by my passion for building a positive and inclusive work environment for all.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it was important for me to work at a company with an unwavering commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I). Sanofi delivers on that commitment every day in empowering me to be my authentic self, and that sense of belonging is invaluable.

This commitment to DE&I extends beyond the workplace and helps fuel my advocacy for LGBTQ+ inclusion, both within Sanofi and in the broader community. Prior to joining Sanofi, as my wife and I started a family, we were quick to see the need for more comprehensive healthcare benefits for the LGBTQ+ community. Even as Sanofi offers some incredible benefits – including certain hormone therapy & gender-affirming surgeries for transgender employees – they continue to work with me and my colleagues to address gaps in care and resources we need to live happy and healthy lives. Each day, they listen to our first-hand experience and act by identifying solutions to improve access to care for all.

Despite the challenges my wife and I had starting our family, we were fortunate to welcome three children: six-year-old twins (thanks to my wife's eggs!), and a two-year-old daughter (thanks to mine!). While navigating parenthood, I've also grappled with my mental health including the social stigmas around my Bipolar II disorder. Sanofi's mental health benefits, including coverage for out-of-network doctor visits and access to resources like Headspace, a mental health support app, have been instrumental in my well-being.

a collage of three images showing Amy and her wife spending time with their three children

Amy and her wife spend time with their three children

Beyond my family and work, my passions lie in empowering LGBTQ+ youth. Drawing on my own experiences, I understand the transformative power of mentorship which is why I organize mentorship sessions for LGBTQ+ students, connecting them with school counselors and positive role models. It's all about sharing stories, offering support, and creating opportunities they might not have had otherwise.

Sanofi has been a fantastic partner in these efforts. As an active member of our PrideConnect Employee Resource Group (ERG), a community of LGBTQ+ employees and allies, I organized similar mentorship opportunities between students and members of our ERG. The positive feedback from the students was incredibly moving and reminds me of the impact we can have. Through educational programs, awareness campaigns, and community outreach, my colleagues and I worked tirelessly to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ employees.

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and made it this far, this is for you… Never give up on your dreams. Trust your instincts and listen to that inner voice urging you to make a change. Stay resilient and lean on your support network. I’m deeply grateful for the unwavering support from my wife, family, friends, colleagues, and mentors who stood by me throughout this journey. Together with their support and with allies, we can create a more inclusive and understanding world.