Eli Lilly and Company

Can We Talk?


To make life better for people around the world, we need our employees to be fully engaged in the workplace. However, many tragic world events have shaken our employees, making it difficult for them to bring their full selves to work. We want people to feel safe talking about these incidents at work, focusing on how we can support and understand each other.


In 2015, our African American Network presented a panel “Can We Talk? Navigating Hot Topics in the Workplace,” which featured a respectful discourse on the controversial police shootings in Ferguson MO, New York NY, and other cities. The panelists represented different parts of the company and included two executive committee members.

Due to its success, we have had several subsequent panels, including one presented by the Lilly AMECA (African Middle East Central Asia) employee resource group focused on issues our Indianapolis-based employees of Middle Eastern heritage face in the current political environment. We learned about how they feel and think about events in the Middle East and elsewhere (terrorism, violence and immigration) and their impact on US and global politics and social change. As with all the events, we reported on them in other communications channels, both internal and external.

We also addressed race relations in our hometown of Indianapolis, inviting the police chief and other community leaders to participate in a panel for our corporate-based employees. Diversity issues unique to Europe were discussed with employees attending our European Diversity Summit.


The honest conversations have been a breakthrough for many employees about what it means to be authentic at work and to better connect with colleagues at all levels of the company and from all different backgrounds on a daily basis.

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