Leadership Edge with Johnson & Johnson VP of Global Community Impact, Lauren Moore
I’ve had the great opportunity to interview Lauren Moore, Vice President, Global Community Impact – Johnson & Johnson
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was working for an NGO in my hometown of Seattle and was participating in a community event. Up until that time, I thought of Corporations, as primary donors to our efforts. However, during the event, it was clear that one or two of the Corporations viewed their role very differently, much more as an active participants at the table ready to help tackle the issue we were facing. It really changed my thinking and I developed an interest in becoming an internal advocate, who really tries to help identify and bring all assets of the Corporation (employees, advocacy, products, expertise, innovation, financial resources, etc.) to help solve some of the most intractable social issues.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
The best story for me is when you can bring people and assets together to truly influence the lives of a person, village, community, region, or country. One recent favorite example is when my team at Johnson & Johnson hosted a global social innovation competition, looking for “everyday ideas” that help change the trajectory of human health, on the front lines of care. We had so many amazing entries and finalists. The winning team was two entrepreneurs from India who created a wearables platform comprised of a simple necklace for children that could hold their digital health records, including critical immunization records. Their innovation ensured that in a remote or transient community, every child’s health record would be maintained accurately. This innovation would also feed information to the Minister of Health to track information and identify disease outbreaks. It was very simple, yet incredibly powerful. I was very proud that J&J could use our size and reach to support Khushi Baby not only with financial resources but also through mentorship, advocacy, and communications.
Can you share with our readers the innovations that you are bringing to and/or see in the healthcare industry?
Our Global Community Impact team at Johnson & Johnson partners with NGOs and other stakeholders to address the gap between underserved people and primary health systems. We focus on how to do more effectively leverage technology, particularly for people in vulnerable communities who do not have access to formal primary health systems, or for health workers, who need to serve those people. We are also focused on innovative financing solutions, piloting an Impact Investment, as well as supporting Social Impact Bonds and investing in funds focused on social impact, to make sure we’re testing and learning what works.
How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?
We will see disruption of the status quo in every part of healthcare in the years to come. Our focus needs to stay on the person at the center and how we can pursue our aspiration to change the trajectory of health for humanity.
Which “pain point” is this trying to address?
We are focused on making sure people have access to primary care and there are many reasons people don’t have access. If we focus on that person, technology can help, but it doesn’t provide the complete answer. It is helping with the gap in the system between people and primary care.
If it is a big idea from you, was there a “tipping point” that led to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
When we think about issues in healthcare systems around the world, people don’t often identify the critical role a health worker plays in making sure people have access to primary care. As we worked to identify how Johnson & Johnson could play the strongest role possible, through its social impact and philanthropic investments, we determined that focusing on the health worker would be a strategic way to make sure a mother had access to a midwife, a child had access to a nurse, or an elderly patient had a health worker to check on them. J&J has always believed in the power of a health worker, but our “tipping point” may have been understanding that instead of focusing on disease, empowering a health worker for the most underserved people, can be much more comprehensive for overall health.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
Everyone has a role to play. I loved Tracy Kidder’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains about Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners in Health. One of Farmer’s points is that you don’t have to be a doctor to transform healthcare. Everyone has a skill to bring to the table to improve their own life or the lives of those around them. Don’t use the excuse, “Well, he was a doctor, I couldn’t do what he did.” Recognize that there is plenty that we all can do and must do.
Dealing with ambiguity is a great asset in a corporate environment. A company needs people who understand the larger task at hand and can stay on track even though the path will change and turn. My work is always a longer-term goal, and a lot will change along the way.
Share your opinion – but be sure you’re also listening. I’ve seen people reluctant to share an opinion in case it won’t be adopted. I’ve also seen people share one that isn’t adopted and then hold a grudge. I think as a leader you are responsible to share what you believe, but then if a decision goes a different way, you need to understand how you can support it.
It’s OK if you don’t have a plan for your whole career. I didn’t have a plan worked out for my career. At each juncture, I took time to reflect and really think through where I might be able to add value and where I thought I could continue to learn. It’s been key for me to have a balance of these two things in a role.
Bring your whole self to work. Very early in my career, I was coached that women leaders needed to “be tough” to gain respect and shouldn’t let their real personalities come through. I think we all need to know that who we are as individuals is important and that we are supported at work. I believe you can only be truly effective at work if you feel confident and if things are in good shape in your personal life. Johnson & Johnson really supports the whole employee. I think that’s critical for the success of any organization.
What are your life philosophies? What are your success mindsets?
I am a “glass-half-full” person. I try to approach my work with the idea that a group of smart people can figure anything out.
I read a lot. Fiction and nonfiction. I also try to fully appreciate travel when I have the opportunity. There is a lyric in a song by the Beatles, “the more you travel, the less you know.” I think it’s important to understand as best we can that we are one human in a much larger world. I think it is humbling and motivating to try to determine how you can contribute in small or large ways.
Take the time to understand what you need to be happy, in your work and personal life. We’re all running at a million miles a minute, so make sure you take time to reflect and change course, if necessary.