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Johnson & Johnson Employees Honored by Operation Smile

Gary Pruden accepts the first-ever Global Impact Award from Operation Smile.
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Would you ever think that polishing shoes could make a life-changing difference for someone you’ve never met? Or playing chess? Or selling ice cream?

Johnson & Johnson employees have changed more than 100,000 children’s lives doing things just like those to raise money to benefit Operation Smile. And last night I had the tremendous privilege of representing our employees to accept the first-ever Global Impact Award from Operation Smile. This honor recognizes the many hours and boundless passion that our employees have brought to fundraising activities, volunteer projects and other initiatives to benefit Operation Smile and the children it serves.

In my 30+ years with Johnson & Johnson, I have never seen our employees so engaged in our shared effort to serve patients all over the world. Fulfilling our Johnson & Johnson Credo is a mission we all hold near and dear to our hearts. By supporting Operation Smile in its mission to provide safe surgical solutions to children born with cleft lip or cleft palate, they bring to life our Credo responsibility to our patients.

Every three minutes, a child enters the world with this deformity. Without treatment, these children may not get enough to eat. They often have speech problems. They may be teased, bullied or shunned. Access to surgery through an organization like Operation Smile can transform their futures.

I am so proud of our employees who are spending thousands of hours of their own time to generate awareness, advocacy and funding for Operating Smile. Their creativity knows no bounds. They’ve walked miles and run marathons, sponsored community events, and authored cookbooks with recipes from around the world to raise money. They even organized a “dunk tank” and sold chances for employees to dunk their bosses and co-workers in the water. At least they said it was for charity. I really need to check on that!

I have lost count of how many have told me that this fundraising – and in many cases volunteering for an Operation Smile mission – has transformed their lives.

I heard Operation Smile Co-Founder and CEO Bill Magee say that our commitment to making the world a healthier place is at the heart of our giving. He knows us well. Johnson & Johnson has partnered with Operation Smile since 1988, contributing nearly $25 million in financial and product donations to bring safe, effective and well-timed surgeries to the most vulnerable in our world. Last night, Operation Smile also honored Johnson & Johnson with theCorporate Humanitarian Award presented to our Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky.

Bill knows we’re in this for the long-term. But until last night, he may not have realized how big this could get. Alex announced we’ll give $25 million more in financial and product contributions over the next five years. We’re also mobilizing 128,000 employees in 60 countries across all Johnson & Johnson businesses with the aspiration of donating 6,000 “smiles” to Operation Smilethis year alone! In fact, Johnson & Johnson has declared next week “Smile Week” for our employees and we’ll be holding events throughout the company that celebrate our partnership and offer opportunities for employees to donate to this great cause.

And it’s not just our employees who can help. Everybody can help bring smiles to children around the world. Here are two easy ways:

  • With the free Johnson & Johnson Donate a Photo app, you can trigger a $1 donation to Operation Smile every time you share a photo through the app.* Get it in the app store for your iOS or Android device, or visit for more information.
  • You can also help raise funds for Operation Smile just by running, biking or walking. Check out Charity Miles in the app store or visit to learn more.

It was an honor to represent our employees at last night’s event and I’ll be even prouder to stand beside them to continue raising funds to support Operation Smile next week and beyond.

It was an honor to represent our employees at last night’s event and I’ll be even prouder to stand beside them to continue raising funds to support Operation Smile next week and beyond.

Gary Pruden is the Worldwide Chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s Medical Devices group a role he assumed in May 2015. Prior to this, Gary led the Global Surgery Group from 2012, and before that was Worldwide Franchise Chairman for ETHICON and a member of the Medical Device and Diagnostics Group Operating Committee. Gary joined Johnson & Johnson in 1985 with Janssen Pharmaceutica in New Jersey and held a number of senior positions in sales, marketing, and strategic account management. He also served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Janssen-Ortho Inc., headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Born in Washington Township, NJ, Gary is a graduate of Rider University and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce.

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