Corporate attorney talks about advancing racial justice at Baxter and lessons learned throughout her career
An interview with Regina Atkins, Baxter associate general counsel and racial justice advocate
Q: Tell me about your role at Baxter.
Regina: I work in our Legal area as associate general counsel, and am currently transitioning from lead counsel for our Medication Delivery Global Business Unit and Global Technical Services function to lead counsel for our Global Renal Care Business Unit.
Q: What brought you to Baxter?
Regina: I started working for Baxter about 10 years ago as a contractor supporting our Legal team in the U.S. region, and after six months I was offered a full-time role. I had a good sense for the team and Baxter's culture, which were both a good fit, so accepting the position was an easy decision.
Q: What is the proudest moment you’ve had while working at Baxter?
Regina: I think the events of last summer, with the death of George Floyd, caused an awakening for the entire nation, but especially for corporations; it caused them to take a step back and assess what they could do to be part of the solution. So, my proudest moment happened about a year ago when Baxter launched Activating Change Today (ACT), our initiative to advance racial justice for the Black community, which is something very important to me.
Q: Did that inspire you to become involved with ACT?
Regina: Very much so. As a member of the executive board for our Baxter Black Alliance Business Resource Group, I was part of the original group that met to discuss what Baxter could do to address racial justice issues. I then volunteered to serve on the ACT Marketplace Workstream, which seeks to ensure that the diverse needs of our patients and customers are considered in all aspects of Baxter's business. For example, we’re working on a campaign to increase awareness of chronic kidney disease in the Black community. I see it as an opportunity to help make inclusion and diversity a part of everything we do, from the way we operate to the messages we convey to the communities we serve.
Q: Baxter was recently named to the list of Best Companies for Multicultural Women. In your opinion, what is Baxter doing well in terms of recruiting and retaining women of color?
Regina: Quite a bit. In addition to our racial justice efforts through ACT, Baxter has committed to increasing the representation of women and ethnic minorities in leadership roles over the next decade. We've also worked hard to help our leaders identify unconscious biases that can get in the way of making good decisions. So, I think we're off to an excellent start, but I look forward to seeing us do even more.
Q: What factor is most important to you and your career journey?
Regina: For me the biggest factor has been the ability to balance my professional life with my personal life. As someone who has been a working mom, it's a really big deal to work for a company that understands the importance of work/life balance for its employees.
Q: What career advice would you give to your younger self?
Regina: Life involves a lot of negotiating – with your spouse, with your employer, even with your kids – so don't be afraid to negotiate a fair outcome for yourself, no matter what the circumstance may be.
Activating Change Today
Learn about our multi-year initiative to advance inclusion and racial justice.
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