Paradigm for Parity® CEO Spotlight Series: Stanley M. Bergman, Chief Executive Officer and Board Chairman, Henry Schein
The Paradigm for Parity® coalition CEO Spotlight Series showcases member company CEOs who are transforming their corporate culture to be one that advances women of all races, cultures, and backgrounds.
This week, Paradigm for Parity’s CEO spotlight is Stanley M. Bergman — Chairman of the Board And Chief Executive Officer of Henry Schein, Inc. In our conversation, Mr. Bergman said:
Since 1989, Stanley M. Bergman has been Chairman of the Board and CEO of Henry Schein. Inc., a Fortune 500® company. With more than 22,000 Team Schein Members worldwide and operations or affiliates in 32 countries and territories, Henry Schein is the world’s largest provider of healthcare products and services to office-based dental and medical practitioners.
Mr. Bergman serves as a board member or advisor for numerous institutions including New York University College of Dentistry; the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; the Columbia University Medical Center; University of the People; Hebrew University; Tel Aviv University; the University of the Witwatersrand Fund; The World Economic Forum’s Health Care Governors; the Business Council for International Understanding; the Japan Society; and the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Bergman is an honorary member of the American Dental Association and the Alpha Omega International Dental Society.
Below is the recap of the conversation we had with Mr. Bergman:
What motivated your company to join the Paradigm for Parity® coalition?
Bergman: We looked at our data, and while we were effectively increasing the number of women in leadership positions, we said –’ we can do better’. As a global company, we can do better to engage women at all levels throughout the organization, especially in senior operating roles. It was also clear to us the significant role that diversity — and more importantly, inclusion — play in building a stronger and more successful organization. Teams that are diverse and inclusive are resilient, more innovative, and have higher financial returns — the data is clear on that As with most complex issues, the solution is not simple and requires the commitment of all segments of society working together to achieve a common goal. It is for this reason that we joined Paradigm for Parity and pledged to take actions that can meaningfully advance gender equality.
What role should CEOs play in leveling the playing field for marginalized groups, including women and people of color, in the workforce?
Bergman: Anyone who is a leader of people has a responsibility to shape and influence their company’s culture. One important step CEOs can take is to lay the foundation on which to build a vision for an inclusive and diverse workforce culture. We have established a values-based culture where team members can share, connect, learn, and develop- both personally and professionally- in alignment with the company’s values and business strategy. We are also raising awareness around unconscious bias throughout our organization in a variety of ways, which include educational sessions, roundtables, and a hiring toolkit for managers. In addition, we host roundtable discussions with female team members and members of our leadership team to better understand the challenges women in our company face. All of these actions, whether alone or done in concert, are helping to level the playing field for women within our company.
What do you consider to be the benefits of leveling the playing field for women in the workforce for your company and society as a whole?
Bergman: The research persistently shows that societies that fully engage the talent of women are stronger and healthier. And where women are held back, those societies suffer. The same holds true for companies — those that fully engage their female team members are certain to be stronger companies. This is especially meaningful to Henry Schein because our customers are increasingly women. The American Dental Association reports that women made up 56% of first-year dental students in 2021 and the percentage of dental school graduates who are women grew from 46% to 50.6% between 2009 and 2019. It is critical that we reflect the demographics of our customers to ensure we are supporting and meeting their specific needs.
How is your company advocating for, lifting up, and supporting women of color in your workplace? What has made the biggest difference in advancing all women in your company?
Bergman: Henry Schein is focused on lifting all underrepresented groups with an understanding that the intersectionality of gender and race play a critical role in access to opportunity. To accomplish this, we established Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) dedicated to promoting a diverse and inclusive culture that has transformed the way employees engage personally and professionally. For the Women’s Leadership Network (WLN), the company’s first ERG, gathering women and allies to encourage equity across the organization has led to global chapters united under a single objective to empower women.
Within our five ERGs, we are focused on providing opportunities that empower women to drive business success and offer women of color growth and professional advancement. Through these efforts, we have raised awareness of women’s singular experiences and collaborated with internal stakeholders to initiate change, build connections, advocate for women in leadership, and launched mentor and allyship programs that have advanced efforts to promote women at any stage in their career.
When you look at the Paradigm for Parity® coalition 5-Point Action Plan, is there one step that you think is most critical to ensuring that women of color have the same opportunities for advancement as their colleagues?
Bergman: As a member of the coalition, we are committed to the bold and specific actions outlined in the 5-Point Action Plan. We believe these efforts will catalyze change. With a strong focus on action step three — measure targets at every level and communicate progress and results regularly — we are advancing our efforts to develop and secure the best leaders of tomorrow. Having both short- and long-term goals and reviewing our progress against those goals keeps us accountable and on target with our strategy. We review our metrics on a quarterly basis and communicate the results to our Executive Management Committee and Board of Directors frequently. We also believe in transparency and share progress with our investors and shareholders in our annual sustainability and corporate social responsibility report.