Driven by Impactful Work, Nadia Wajid Helps Inform and Engage Kite Employees
Public Affairs, Kite
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Joined Gilead: February 2019
Nadia Wajid leads global internal communications and employee engagement for Kite, a Gilead Company, helping to keep employees informed and energized about the important work Kite is doing for people with blood cancer. Learn what attracted Nadia to Kite and why this work is personally meaningful to her.
Q: What drew you to your field and how did you come to work at Kite?
I’ve always sought out purpose-driven work that is directly impacting lives. I first learned of Kite through my previous role working for a cancer-focused nonprofit organization – the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) – that partnered with Kite. I was immediately inspired by Kite’s innovative work with CAR T-cell therapy and its mission to cure cancer. Like many of us, cancer has touched the lives of people close to me, so this work takes on a very personal meaning.
I saw the company expand rapidly from a small facility in Santa Monica with fewer than 100 employees to thousands of employees across the globe. When an opportunity came up to join the Public Affairs team and build the internal communications function, I jumped at the chance to join the company at a pivotal time in its development. I was drawn to the lively culture and its commitment to community, diversity and inclusion – all qualities that I was seeking in a potential employer. I was also looking for an opportunity that would challenge me, support my professional development and allow me to grow in my career.
Q: What kind of perspective does your experience in working for a patient advocacy organization like LLS bring to your work at Kite now?
Before joining Kite, I managed corporate relationships for an LLS signature fundraising campaign. LLS is the largest nonprofit funder of blood cancer research and, like Kite, is committed to transforming the landscape of cancer care for patients. In my time at LLS, I built relationships with many volunteers whose lives were directly affected by blood cancers. Seeing firsthand the need to make the right treatment options and support available to people navigating a cancer diagnosis affected me greatly, and I’ve carried that personal connection to my work at Kite.
Q: Tell us about your most memorable day at Kite.
I really feel the meaning of my work any time I hear from someone who has benefited from CAR T-cell therapy. The most memorable example is when I traveled to record a video with a person who had received CAR T. It was special to personally connect with him and his family and to see firsthand the meaningful impact we are making on the lives of people with cancer and their loved ones. We were welcomed into their home and felt like family by the time we left.
These personal stories serve as a reminder of the lives we’re touching and the hope we’re offering to people with cancer.
Q: What do the company’s efforts to prioritize equity, inclusion and diversity mean to you?
I’ve always felt a sense of welcome and belonging at Kite and at Gilead, and the company’s efforts to prioritize equity, inclusion and diversity are among the reasons I stay. I love working for a company that celebrates our differences and believes that our unique backgrounds, ways of life and schools of thought make us stronger together. It’s rewarding to see these values extend beyond the workplace, in Gilead’s overall commitment to advancing health equity and creating a healthier world for all.
Q: What is it like working for a focused, mid-size biotech company like Kite that also has the support of a larger company like Gilead?
When I first learned of Kite, it had a very startup feel – entrepreneurial, energizing, forward-thinking. As we’ve evolved we’ve managed to keep the best parts of that identity while very much becoming part of the greater Gilead vision.
At Kite, I feel respected, empowered and trusted to do my job and do it well. I don’t think that level of autonomy exists in most companies of this size, and it’s a huge responsibility that I don’t take lightly. We have tremendous support from Gilead when it comes to resources, employee support programs and opportunities for growth, not to mention the benefits and total rewards that make Kite and Gilead a great place to work. It’s the best of both worlds.
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