Building Our Next Generation of Leaders

Breakthrough Fellowship Program is off to a successful start

In early 2021, we launched the Breakthrough Fellowship Program – a nine-year commitment to increase minority representation and enhance our pipeline of diverse leaders. The Breakthrough Fellowship Program, a first-of-its-kind program, works to advance students and early career colleagues of Black/African American, Latinx/Hispanic and Native American descent, with a goal of developing 100 Fellows by 2025.

Our first cohort of 20 rising seniors completed the first phase of the program, a 10-week internship, in 2021. The cohort was 55 percent female and 45 percent male with a diversity breakdown of 40 percent Black/African American, 40 percent Latinx/Hispanic and 20 percent two or more races.1 The application process was extremely competitive, with more than 2,600 submissions received. Fellows were supported by a “triad” of Pfizer colleagues that included their manager, their peer buddy, and another first, an ”Equity Mentor.” This unique support system ensured Fellows had multiple connection points within their team and an expanded relationship within our Colleague Resource groups.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in a small-group Zoom session with the 2021 Breakthrough Fellows

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla meets with Breakthrough Fellows during one of the 1:20 sessions with the Pfizer Executive Leadership Team.

We developed a premier program for the Fellows that highlights our core values:

  • Courage, to meet with and ask smart questions during small-group group sessions with the Pfizer Executive Leadership Team
  • Excellence, through opportunities to collaborate and connect between therapeutic areas
  • Equity, through networking and development sessions with our Colleague Resource Groups, and
  • Joy, through the life-long peer connections and mentor relationships fostered during the Fellowship

We have invited 17 of the first cohort of 20 to join us as full-time colleagues upon graduation in 2022. The selection process is underway to identify the second cohort starting in 2022.

  1. Applicant data – Jackie Goldschmidt