Teresa Cooper is the Chief Inclusion Officer at Deloitte
Dr. Terri is currently Deloitte’s Chief Inclusion Officer, the US national chief inclusion officer for Deloitte Consulting LLP, and principal focused on the life sciences and health care industry.
Terri has a personal passion and commitment to growing and developing talent at all levels. As chief inclusion officer, Terri drives Deloitte’s strategy to recruit, develop, and advance a diverse workforce and foster an inclusive environment. She is focused on advancing inclusive leadership at all levels to advance inclusion in workplaces today.
Terri has more than two decades of experience working in various capacities of the life sciences and health care industry, including participating in a broad range of strategic advisory services. She has created new global operating models; supported the integration of development, regulatory, and drug safety functions in a number of Life Sciences company mergers; restructured all aspects of the research and development (R&D) value chain; and driven increased cost and efficiency measures.
She holds a Joint Honors Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Pharmacology and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of London, UK.
What brought you to Davos 2019?
Davos continues to be the premier event for thought leaders to discuss and advance solutions for critical issues today. Inclusion is clearly a top priority, not just for Deloitte but for many organizations.
I participated in Davos to share Deloitte’s approach and perspective, to showcase what inclusive leadership means at Deloitte and how we are embedding that into our culture every day.
But, I also wanted to hear from others on how they were approaching and advancing inclusion in their ranks. What are others focused on that we could learn from? How could we better view inclusion from multiple perspectives? What are steps that can truly impact results on the ground?
Getting leadership together for impactful conversations continues to shape our perspective and priorities, giving us new ideas on how to move the needle and advance inclusion in our organization.
Defining leadership moment at Davos:
Now more than ever, organizations are poised to truly make a change.
What struck me most was the different voices and perspectives in the room. Even just compared to last year, there were so many participants who were eager and willing to participate in the conversation. It underscored for me the importance of engaging both men and women in the discussion. I so appreciated the conversation and everyone choosing to learn and ask questions about different experiences, and were authentic when sharing their own perspectives. The level of engagement and excitement that came from those conversations inspired me in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.
It reinforced for me the importance of actually having diverse perspectives and backgrounds at the table when we tackle these tough issues, even if it can seem uncomfortable.
Personal motivation to advocate for women and girls:
I am originally from a working-class family. No one had a college education. Fortunately for me, I received a scholarship to a girls’ grammar school and discovered my passion for science. One of my teachers recognized and really encouraged me to seek this out and explore possibilities for my future that I hadn’t been exposed to and, up to that point, couldn’t have imagined.
When I attended university, there was only a handful of women and the minority shrunk even further in science classes. But, again, I found support and encouragement to explore my passion. I eventually received my doctorate in pharmacology, achieving not only the first college degree in my family but also the first graduate degree.
In both college and graduate school, I was often the only woman, as well as one of the few from a working-class background. Sometimes, my qualifications and skills were questioned, sometimes I was held to a different standard.
But, through those experiences, I also had mentors and sponsors who saw my potential and challenged me to be my best. That’s what I strive to do each day for others, provide that support and encouragement to inspire others to achieve beyond what they can even imagine.
Where can people learn more about you and your key projects?
Learn more about Terri Cooper and Deloitte’s inclusive culture at our website. Check out Terri’s recent research on bias and allyship in The State of Inclusion 2019. To hear more about Terri’s perspectives on inclusion, check out her LinkedIn and Twitter at @DrTerriCooper.
If you want something, truly go after it. Less wishbone, more backbone!