Dreaming Big and Trusting in Talent: Getting To Know John Loveseth
Global lead of the company’s CLIMB People and Business Resource Group John Loveseth sits down to share his thoughts on his career journey within the company, and what inspires him in his role leading CLIMB
Meet John Loveseth, the global lead for CLIMB (Cultivating Leadership in Millennials and Beyond), one of our eight People & Business Resource Groups (PBRGs) at Bristol Myers Squibb. We sat down with John not long after his return from One Young World (OYW), an annual event that brings together thousands of future young leaders from across the globe. John tells us more about CLIMB and its goals, why One Young World is so important to the company, and for him personally.
What is CLIMB?
CLIMB is something that I’m deeply passionate about. The company has eight PBRGs, each of which focuses on different elements of inclusion and diversity. CLIMB specifically exists to foster next-gen talent and promote multi-generational collaboration in the workforce.
How do these PBRGs support the business as a whole?
They each support our Global Inclusion & Diversity strategy by providing opportunities for talent within our business, from every kind of demographic. As a business, we want our workforce to be representative of the people and communities we serve, and to reflect the change we want to make in the world.
Data tells us that next-gen talent value innovation and authenticity — things that make them feel fulfilled and give them purpose. Within CLIMB, we currently have over 5,000 members from across the globe who are actively advocating for change and trying to create positive societal impact, because people need healthy communities and a healthy planet.
Can you tell us a bit more about what that actually means?
Throughout the past decade, our ambassadors have brought forward several important and impactful projects and initiatives for our company, from launching a virtual skill-based volunteer platform, adopting our first Transgender Inclusive Guidelines, and even launching our company’s first next-gen network — which is how CLIMB was born.
By doing this, our employees can amplify the positive impact they are making for our business, patients and communities. We provide opportunities that align with their passions, while developing themselves as future leaders within our company.
How did you get into this role?
I’ve been involved in CLIMB essentially since I first started with Bristol Myers Squibb six years ago. Initially, my introduction to CLIMB was through launching our Canadian chapter, alongside an incredible group of young leaders from across the country. After that, I joined the global leadership team, supporting our regional chapters. This was actually a very clear realization of what I spoke about before, developing leadership skills.
I was attracted to how the group promotes and develops inclusive leaders, that no matter your role, location, experience, education or generation, we all can lead.
What is your long-term vision for this group?
My vision is for BMS to remain a top employer for future leaders. I’m grateful to be leading a diverse, socially responsible and inclusive global community of changemakers. Ultimately, if we use this group effectively, we will continue to embrace generational trends and insights that will help our employees to develop themselves and give back in meaningful ways.
Now let’s rewind. What did your career journey look like before taking on this role?
After receiving my science degree from the University of Alberta, I started my career as a study coordinator at the Cross Cancer Institute, overseeing patient safety and data reporting, and regulatory submissions for pharmaceutical sponsored trials. It was in this role where I discovered my passion for healthcare and helping patients. I held various positions in Clinical Research Organizations, working with investigational sites across North America, before moving to Bristol Myers Squibb, where I spent the past six years in clinical operations. During this time, I was introduced to our PBRGs and became involved in CLIMB to connect and learn from folks from outside my monitoring role.
You were at One Young World earlier this month. Tell us a little bit about what this event means to you?
OYW is an annual summit that brings together thousands of young delegates from over 190 countries to be counselled by global leaders, and debate and formulate solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
I first encountered OYW when I was honored to be selected as a company delegate in 2017. The summit was in Bogota, which sounded like an incredible experience, and it offered me an opportunity to learn more about our company, and to get inspired by hearing about meaningful projects that might benefit the business.
During one of plenary sessions, a simple question was asked of the audience. Folks who were comfortable to identify publicly under the LGBTQ umbrella were asked to stand up. It sounds like a simple thing, but to me, as I stood up, it was the first time I’d ever felt I could bring my authentic self to work. It sticks with me, to this day.
Thanks for sharing that story, John. BMS has a long relationship with One Young World, too, right?
The company has been partnering with OYW for the past decade because it has such a strong impact. The energy and enthusiasm at the summit are contagious. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by young leaders, from every country and sector, working to accelerate the change they want to see.
Who/what has made a lasting impact on your career?
I met a special colleague at OYW 5 years ago who has been a solid friend and mentor to me. Even now, they push me outside of my comfort zone, and I found this is where the most growth happens. Closer to home, my father was a strong business leader and a great example for pursuing excellence; I 100% get my work ethic from him.
What career did you want to pursue as a child?
Although it was too early for me to remember, if you asked my parents, they would tell you I wanted to be Santa Claus. That still sounds like a pretty sweet gig. But from my own memories, I always had a fascination for nature and science. Before I could read, I was flipping through pages of my father’s National Geographic collection, exploring the world of science through pictures. As I advanced through school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could use my passion for science to make a difference.
How do you recharge outside of work?
Recharging and resting are so important to a healthy lifestyle and being our best selves. For me, I enjoy being in nature — kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking and snowboarding. I also love reading, and curl once a week in a local curling league. I have my own subscription to National Geographic, which is usually what I pick up first when I’m looking to check out and recharge.