Ann Powell, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Bristol Myers Squibb, talks with Maril about her leadership journey. The culture of “radical inclusivity” Powell has shepherded at BMS has allowed the company to continuously and successfully transform the past several years, and Powell has learned a lot through the work. She and Maril discuss the evolution of HR from an administrative function to a strategic business function; why Powell sees storytelling as an absolutely critical skill for HR leaders; and what BMS is doing to promote workforce wellbeing — a topic that Powell believes will become a powerful competitive advantage and differentiator for the businesses that choose to prioritize it.
About Ann Powell
Ann M. Powell is the global head of Human Resources for Bristol Myers Squibb. She is deeply committed to driving the company’s global capabilities in talent management, culture and organizational effectiveness while enabling an empowered workforce. She also currently serves as the executive sponsor of the Living Life Better company wellness program.
Ann partners across the company to foster an energized workforce and radically inclusive culture, where individuals are encouraged to exceed their potential and make innovative contributions for BMS patients and the global communities in which they live and work.
Ann’s expertise includes executive compensation, shaping culture, talent development, change management, team effectiveness, inclusion, diversity, learning design and delivery, talent attraction, labor relations, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and start-ups.
With a career spanning both international and domestic assignments, Ann has worked within the oil/gas, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, including Chevron, Dow and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Bristol Myers Squibb in 2013, Ann was the chief human resources officer for Shire Pharmaceuticals.
Ann earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in labor and industrial relations from the University of Minnesota.
About Let Go & Lead
Let Go & Lead is a leadership community created by Maril MacDonald, founder and CEO of Gagen MacDonald. Maril brings together provocateurs, pioneers, thought leaders and those leading the conversation around culture, transformation and change.
Over the course of the past 12 years, Let Go & Lead has existed in many forms, from video interviews to resource guides to its current iteration as a podcast. At its core, it remains a place where people can access a diversity of perspectives on interdisciplinary approaches to leadership. Maril is also working on a book incorporating these insights gathered over the past several years from global leaders and change makers.
Maril has interviewed over 120 leaders — from business to academia and nonprofits to the arts — through the years. In each conversation, from personal anecdotes to ground-breaking scientific analysis, she has probed the lessons learned in leadership. From these conversations, the Let Go & Lead framework has emerged. It is both a personal and organizational resource that aims to serve the individual leader or leadership at scale.