At Syneos Health, we are continuously building the company we all want to work for and our customers want to work with. We firmly believe, when we bring people together with diverse backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, identities, and perspectives we’re able to create a place where everyone feels like they belong. We stand with all who are seeking justice and equality, and our Total Self culture means everyone is empowered to authentically be themselves at work. Every day. 

One of the ways we bring our culture to life is with our Employee Resource Groups (ERG) – led by employees, for employees. We are actively working to build these resource groups internally and we invite you to follow our journey.

During Pride Month – we recognize all of our LGBTQIA+ employees for their passion and unique contributions. Our LGBTQIA+ ERG group put together some questions for us to learn more about their members’ stories and experiences!

Ivan Pacheco

  • Pronouns: he/his/him
  • Location: Spain
  • Hobbies: Fitness, travelling, research, virology, reading, languages
  • Fun Fact: I once sat next to Colin Farrell on a flight from L.A. to Dublin and he was very kind and polite with everyone around. 

 

 

 

Ivan joined Syneos Health in January 2020 as a Senior Site Contracts Specialist, and quickly connected with our Diversity and Inclusion leader with a vision to start an LGBTQIA+ employee resource group (ERG). We connected with Ivan to learn more about what motivates him to help us continue building a safe and inclusive place for all at Syneos Health.

Learn More about Ivan's Story

Why did you choose a career in healthcare?

Since I was a kid, learning everything possible about biology, living entities and their extraordinary machinery, their physiological processes, the origin of diseases, their cure and prevention, always amazed and motivated me! It focused my educational and professional pathway on experimental and healthcare sciences. I graduated with a Biology major in Biomedicine and achieved a Masters of Science in Clinical Research, specializing in Clinical Microbiology.

I had the opportunity to work in research and clinical trials in Spain, Sweden, Canada, Germany and Ireland. This international experience helped me grow not only as a professional, but also as a person. I learned about different cultures, the way they operate in their daily life, their traditions and local language. I knew that working in healthcare would offer me exciting career opportunities, and that my work and contributions would help make a difference in peoples’ lives.

 

What made you want to be a founding member of the LGBTGIA+ employee resource group at Syneos Health?

I wanted to know how I could help to make Syneos Health not just a great place to work, but also a safe place for our LGBTQIA+ employees. Our Diversity and Inclusion leader, Caitlin Purinai, introduced me to Heather Martin, who shared this vision as well, and together we decided to start up a Syneos Health group for LGBTQIA+ employees.  I want everyone to see that they belong at our Company and everywhere. Syneos Health will be known as a company where talent and hard work will always be promoted, discrimination fought, and this is precisely one of our pillars for success.

 

Do you feel empowered to be authentic at work?

I am fortunate to live in a place where I do not need to hide my real self. I have a healthy working environment where I can express myself, and where both personal and career development go hand-in-hand. Some time ago, I tried to keep my personal life out of the professional picture as I did not want to be exposed to judgement at work. Then I realized that talking about my home and family was an essential part of me. How could I even say that I want to give 100% of myself at work if I do not let my colleagues know who I really I am?

Now, I am a very open person and I enjoy talking about my home and family, and sharing this with my colleagues. This gives me the power to express myself and makes me feel comfortable in a place where I spend an important amount of time.

 

If you could share a piece of advice, what would it be?

My advice to those people who worry about coming out to their loved ones is that whoever truly loves you, will be honestly proud to see your real self.

When I came out – it was to my parents. My mom always took care of her family and had a challenging and 24/7 job at home. My dad was a retired first lieutenant of the Special Forces in the Spanish army, a very serious man, and he worked multiple jobs to ensure the financial stability of our family. At 16 years old, I decided that it was time for me to return all the love I received from my parents by being honest.

After I came out to my mom, she told me I was confused and that my dad would kick me out. So, I started packing up my things. My dad came back from work that day looking exhausted, and I went to talk to him before he could see my mom’s face. When I told him, my dad started crying and my mom said this news destroyed my dad – it felt like a soap opera.

But my dad’s first words to me were: “I am not crying because you are gay, I am crying because you had the strength and goodwill to be honest to me about yourself. You are my son, I am proud of you and I love you with all my heart because who you really are.”

My advice to anyone is to always be honest to yourself and to those who love you and care about you. That’s what defines a family.

 

What’s one thing everyone can do today to help support an inclusive work environment?

Promoting education. We fear what we do not know. Quoting Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

We need to learn how to achieve an efficient, cooperative society, where all differences are respected and embraced as opportunities.

Ben Hunt

  • Pronouns: he/him
  • Location: Farnborough, UK
  • Hobbies: I practice Kendo and have, over the years, competed in Archery and Fencing
  • Fun Fact: I was a nationally ranked archer (many years ago)

 

 

 

Since joining Syneos Health in 2014, Ben has brought his total self to his role as Associate Counsel on the Corporate Legal team, and most recently as a member of our LGBTQIA+ employee resource group (ERG).

Learn More about Ben's Story

What makes you excited to be a part of the new LGBQIA+ Employee Resource Group at Syneos Health?

At the end of my training to qualify as a lawyer, I was lucky enough to spend 3 months working at a law firm. Within minutes of the induction at the firm they had introduced their employee resource groups (ERGs), including their LGBTQIA+ network. The comfort afforded by having such an open culture cannot be understated. I knew from the outset that I was not going to encounter any uncomfortable situations with anyone in the firm.

Now that I’m at Syneos Health, I am looking forward to working with LGBTQIA+ colleagues and allies to foster the same environment here because I remember how much it meant to me that first day at the firm to know there was a network and support system for LGBTQIA+ employees.

 

Are you out or have you always been out at work?

Yes. I’m lucky enough to have always been comfortable with being out at work. I’ve always felt that the more LGBTQIA+ people who are visibly out, the sooner barriers are broken down.

 

If you could share a piece of advice with someone worried about coming out, what would it be?

Start with one person. The best reaction I had when coming out was from my older brother. After I came out to him, he took it in, and then asked if I’d played a new computer game that had just been released. That reaction was perfect for me because at the time, I’d played through countless “what if” scenarios leading up to that point - the vast majority of which have never occurred. His reaction gave me the confidence to come out to others. I’m very fortunate that this has largely been my experience of coming out, but everyone’s experience will be personal. In that regard, finding a trusted friend or family member who can support you through your journey is key.

 

What’s one thing we can do today to help support an inclusive work environment?

Be visible. As an LGBTQIA+ person or as an ally. Simple things can make the biggest difference to someone else’s day-to-day life. For example, putting your pronouns in your email signature, or saying them when you introduce yourself at a meeting may seem small, but could have a substantial effect on someone else.

Heather Morell

  • Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
  • Location: Morrisville, NC 
  • Hobbies: Cooking, Entertaining, True Crime, Jeopardy junkie! 
     

 

 

 

Heather Morell is the Executive Director of Enterprise Sales Operations and joined the company late last year. She’s jumping straight in to an exciting new role designed to merge the existing Clinical and Commercial sales operations teams in to one global team, and making an impact as a part of our new LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group. We spoke with her to find out how the new job and ERG are shaping her Syneos Health experience. 

Learn More about Heather's Story

Why are you excited to be a part of this new Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Syneos Health? What do you hope to accomplish as part of it?

I can see that people are living up to the company’s culture and values every day, and I have the feeling that our employee resource groups really matter. If a specific employee resource group doesn’t exist today – Syneos Health is working to establish it. I wanted to be a part of that.

 

Why is creating an inclusive environment important to you?

I actively seek out ways to make people feel comfortable and welcome.

Whether it’s a new neighbor, or a new kid in class, I think the people that are settled and strong in who they are, or where they are, should be a champion for those that are still finding their way.

I’ve been on the leadership team of the Pride organizations at both of my prior companies and believe that if I’m open and unapologetic about who I am, it will show others that it’s ok to be yourself too.

 

Do you feel empowered to be authentic at work?

Who I am as a person doesn’t change if we’re talking about work, home, friends. I’m passionate, fearless and open to anything. I’ve met amazing people, been given opportunities, and learned (and grown) so much from just being me.

 

What motivates you every day?

I’m energized by the professional challenges and opportunities in my work at Syneos Health, but ultimately I’m motivated by my family. I love my family. As a child, I came from a large family and we didn’t have a lot of new things, and our clothes were usually hand-me-downs. So, I work hard today to enrich the lives of my family and make sure they have everything they need – and I get to work for a company that needs what I offer and appreciates it.

 

What’s one thing we can do today to help support an inclusive work environment?

I think it’s being done! With the creation of this ERG, we’re setting the tone that as an organization, our differences are what make us better as a whole, and it shows Syneos Health has your back.