Stories and Viewpoints
By: Niki Kapsambelis
March 8, 2022
As a child, Kelly Zou recalls accompanying her mother, a pediatric attending physician, on visits to remote rural areas to train local healthcare workers.
While the workers took notes and asked questions, 5-year-old Kelly imitated her mother by drawing pictures on the blackboard.
“The students chuckled and remembered my drawings years later,” Kelly recalled. “I felt like a young medical school professor at the time.”
Fast forward to the present, where Kelly now serves as head of global analytics and real world evidence for Viatris. Her mother’s influence is apparent, as Kelly has dedicated a significant amount of her career to mentoring women with the goal of increasing their presence in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM).
One of those occasions was her service on the Joint Committee on the Status of Women at Harvard University, where she has held a variety of appointments. Kelly collaborated with several authors on an article published in the Journal of Women’s Health that found gender disparities in academia led to downstream gaps in grant funding for men and women in medicine.
International Women’s Day is an occasion for celebration of what women can collectively accomplish towards society, but it is “also a day to remind each of us that much can be done to elevate the roles of women as inspiring leaders, policymakers, decision-makers and achievers,” she said. “To break the glass ceiling for equity, we must engage members of all walks of life, including both men and women.”
She urged women who are early in their careers to seek organizations whose core values align with their own, to actively ask questions and participate in organizational activities and volunteer opportunities, and to sharpen their grasp of policies, standard operating procedures, and subject-matter knowledge.
As a member of Viatris’ Women Employee Resource Group (ERG), launched in September 2021, Kelly highlights the benefit of being able to network with other professional women for potential mentorship opportunities.
“This is a community for women to celebrate both diversity and achievements. This is particularly important on International Women’s Day and throughout Women’s History Month in March,” Kelly said. “As working women, we can lend a supportive hand to women around the world, including those in developing countries, directly or indirectly through our Women’s ERG.”