We like to say that Johnson & Johnson is a family of companies. But as you can see from the photo above—and I’ll get to that photo shortly—we’re also a company of families.
And that means all kinds of families.
How each of us defines our family reflects tradition and evolution, geography and demographics, culture and context. These days, families—like society itself—are so diverse.
Recently, on International Day of Families, sponsored by the United Nations, we celebrated all families—especially our own working families at Johnson & Johnson. We also shone a spotlight on the role that family-oriented policies play in fostering a culture of inclusion and innovation. It's quite fitting, given the theme of this year’s observance: “families and inclusive societies.”
At Johnson & Johnson, we believe family comes first.
But don’t take my word for it—take Karen Appignani’s. That’s her in the photo.
A Trailblazing Johnson & Johnson Working Mom
Karen spent 40 years at Johnson & Johnson breaking new ground for working mothers like herself.
She raised two children—Tara, also in that photo, who now also works at Johnson & Johnson, and Alexa. And Karen did it all while moving up from a clerk/typist in Overseas Accounting at Johnson & Johnson International to become an outstanding Information Management Lead at World Headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Along the way, she made some history of her own.
You see, in 1989, Karen was one of the first moms to benefit from what was then called the Johnson & Johnson Work & Family Initiative. When Tara was a newborn, Karen discovered just how difficult and emotionally overwhelming the idea of leaving her child and returning to work would be. But interaction with her co-workers was important to her, too.
At Johnson & Johnson, we’re constantly asking ourselves: 'What more can we do as a company to help employees find that important balance between work and home life?'
Today we call it working remotely, but back then, Karen was one of the first in her group to do it, thanks to the support of her innovative team members—all of whom created a more inclusive environment for Karen by helping her set up a “smart” home office.
It helped keep Karen connected to both Tara and work—and her higher purpose.
Supporting Employees With Family-First Programs
At Johnson & Johnson, we’re constantly asking ourselves: “What more can we do as a company to help employees find that important balance between work and home life?”
Over the years, we’ve created innovative work/life programs—to support all of our working parents—that reflect the changing demands on our employees. And that long history of support, coupled with our industry-leading benefits, is why we’re constantly named a top company to work for, especially for working families.
In fact, last year, when we made Working Mother magazine's list of best companies to work for—for the 32nd year in a row—they said, “the future looks bright for women” at Johnson & Johnson.
But I’d say it looks bright for all working families.
Karen eventually returned to her office with little Tara close by in Johnson & Johnson’s newly opened Child Development Center. As her children grew and the demands on Karen’s time grew along with them, she took advantage of our company’s work/family policies once more, becoming a part-time employee for nine years before returning to a full-time position.
And just a few weeks ago, Karen joined the ranks of the happily retired.
She says she’s already joined our retiree club. And she’ll be coming back to work out at our fitness center to visit Tara, where she now works, and where Karen has already been taking advantage of the programs and services we offer employees to keep them healthy. Karen says she’ll keep going in preparation for those retirement years to come.
Johnson & Johnson values families and believes we have a responsibility to help each employee balance responsibilities at work and at home. Stable societies depend on strong families, so on this International Day of Families, why not make it a special family occasion to celebrate one another and what makes your family special?
However you define yours.
Meet Karen and Tara, and hear more about their special Johnson & Johnson story, in this video: