Javier Barrientos: A True Passion for Diversity

The field of diversity and inclusion is more than just a career path for Javier Barrientos, Senior Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Biogen—it’s a calling.

“To me, diversity and inclusion is a vocation,” says Barrientos. “It was what I was born to do—even if I didn’t always know it, it became clear over time. In the global business context, diversity and inclusion are about optimizing human potential, leaving little or no unrealized value behind. To do this well, we must leverage the richest mix of backgrounds possible.”

Prior to his role at Biogen, Barrientos worked in the diversity and inclusion space for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. He also worked in Human Resources for the TJX Companies, Inc. and Bank of America. According to him, that most important thing that leaders can do to promote diversity and inclusion within their respective companies is to practice and deliberatively build their inclusive leadership competency. In building their inclusive competency, Barrientos recommends that organizations and leaders pay close attention to leaving an ever-growing trail of evidence that actually demonstrates their commitment.

As the Senior Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Biogen, Barrientos looks at diversity in a business integrated fashion, covering the areas of workforce, patients, and suppliers.

“[Biogen is] playing a leading role in being disruptive by bringing in next practices and breakthrough innovations. This extends to diversity and inclusion. What hasn’t been done before, can be most transformative,” he says. “At the moment, we’re considering a suite of disruptive technologies to minimize unconscious bias from the recruitment and selection process.”

In the realm of diversity and inclusion, Biogen has taken leadership and advocacy positions on LGBT equality, in addition to introducing women’s leadership and women on corporate boards programs. Biogen was also instrumental in the creation of the industry-wide Biodiversity Fellowship, which encourages Black and Latino leaders to advance their careers in the life sciences industry.

“Understand that diversity is not just about the numbers, but about making those numbers work,” says Barrientos. “Create an inclusive environment where everyone has a seat, a voice, and impact at the table.”