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‘Everyone Gets a Seat at the Table’: 6 Women Share How Benefits & Opportunity Drive Culture at Vertex Pharmaceuticals

A mission-driven company that supports women where they are

Woman working in a lab
Photo courtesy of Vertex Pharmaceuticals

This article is part of InHerSight's Partners in Diversity series. Discover companies partnering with InHerSight to better support women in the workplace.

Ask anyone who’s heard about Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and there’s a high likelihood they’ll tell you that the global biotech company is unique in its industry. Mission-driven, Vertex invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious diseases—exemplified by their unique research approach into cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, beta thalassemia, kidney disease, pain, and type 1 diabetes. And while they’re out doing good in the world, they’ve earned a reputation for doing good at home, too—good in their own offices and on their own teams.

“Passion for the science, patients, employees, and our community. It’s in our DNA, and everything we do,” says Genzy Davis, an associate director at Vertex. “What is special about Vertex is that the passion that we feel is contagious, so we tell our family and friends about Vertex and its mission. In turn, they tell others how great and impactful the company is.”

And Vertex is impactful. Consistently recognized as one of the industry's top places to work, they’ve placed for 12 consecutive years on Science magazine's Top Employers list, are #3 on The Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work list, and are currently on two of InHerSight’s best companies lists. With such rave reviews, we had to see for ourselves why women love working at Vertex so much. Here are six employees on the benefits and culture that make Vertex Pharmaceuticals a leader in their industry. 

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious diseases—most notably those that treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis (CF), a rare, life-threatening genetic disease. They’re rated most highly for Support for Diversity, Sense of Belonging, and Paid Time Off. Plus, 100% of raters say they feel they were paid fairly from the start. Explore Vertex’s benefits and culture now!

Learn more ›

6 women employees on the benefits and opportunities that drive culture at Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Courtney Maguire

Associate Director

What she values most at work: Women in Leadership, Flexible Work Hours, The People You Work With 

“I have a school-age child, so the flexibility that Vertex provides in my work hours is key to being available for my daughter when school is closed, the school needs volunteers for field day, or I need to fit in a doctor's appointment. Professionally, the mentor program at Vertex allows me to be both a mentor and a mentee, and both positions are exceptionally rewarding. I have been able to forge strong connections in other areas of the company that I would not normally work with, and learn from the experiences of my colleagues.”

Why Vertex:

“Prior to joining Vertex, I worked at one of the large pharmaceutical companies for more than 10 years in my home state of New Jersey. My family and I decided to move to the Boston area, and an opportunity opened up at Vertex that was aligned with my experience. I had heard through my network that Vertex was a great place to work, so I jumped at the opportunity.

“The culture at Vertex is quite unique compared to my other professional experiences. Everyone gets a seat at the table and an opportunity to share their ideas for growth and innovation.”

Vertex in three words:

“Exciting, fast-paced, curious”

Emily Jameson

Sr. Director

What she values most at work: Women in Leadership, Paid Time Off, Learning Opportunities

“In my current stage of life (parent of young children), the generous paid time off—including week-long summer and holiday company-wide shutdowns, synchronous periodic days off, and discretionary time off—has been one of the benefits that I have valued most. This has made it easier for me to accommodate school holidays, as well as maintain connections with extended family who do not live nearby. I also appreciate the ad-hoc flexibility provided to commute during non-peak hours or occasionally work remotely to help manage school drop-offs and pick-ups/family schedules with less stress on myself and my partner.”

Why Vertex:

“I came to Vertex after a brief stint at a small biotech company. Vertex to me was a ‘Goldilocks’ company—small enough such that I would have the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of different things, but large enough to have sufficient resources to make a big impact. The continued growth and learning I have experienced, along with dedicated and driven colleagues, have kept me here.

“I have appreciated the recognition of the value of company-wide shutdowns to help people truly take a break and recharge in a way that is not always achieved with discretionary time off, and that it has continued in a post-COVID workplace. Vertex’s expansion of parental leave periods over my tenure here also demonstrates to me great support for families. Finally, I have personally found Vertex to be very receptive to suggestions from employees—several years ago, I proposed a benefit related to making it easier for breast-feeding mothers to travel for business, which Vertex was quick to adopt as a company.”

Vertex in three words:

“Innovative, bold, determined”

Jennifer Whyland


What she values most at work: Paid Time Off, Learning Opportunities, The People You Work With      

“Commitment to patients is a core Vertex value, which deeply resonates with me and fuels our company goals to make medicines for unmet diseases. To carry out these goals on our timelines, it often takes innovation and creativity, which means there are always opportunities for leadership and growth. It’s these opportunities that keep me excited to work at Vertex. When I recently changed roles, I was very much outside my comfort zone—I had a lot to learn on a very short timeline. I leaned into the ambiguity and leveraged teamwork to help build the program needed to support the team’s goals—and I continue to lean on the things I’ve learned from the opportunities offered to me.”   

Why Vertex:

“Vertex was my first professional employer after completing my doctorate program, and I have been here ever since! I still remember how moved I was during my interview, hearing stories about how our medicine changed the lives of patients living with cystic fibrosis and the teamwork it took to get approval. In that moment, I could feel that there was something different about Vertex, and I wanted to experience it on my own. 

Through my time at Vertex I have been able to grow through several different projects and roles—I’ve supported critical projects and manufacturing processes; I’ve expanded my knowledge of pharmaceutical development on our next-generation program; and I am currently responsible for the analytical activities for another one of our pipeline programs. I am on the leadership team within my department, and I am responsible for people development and project development activities within my team.” 

Vertex in three words:

“Teamwork, growth, thrive”

Juanita Dessources

Senior Administrative Assistant

What she values most at work: Paid Time Off, Salary Satisfaction, Sponsorship or Mentorship Program

“Work-life balance and competitive healthcare benefits are my top priority as a mom of two children under 10 who need my investment in their lives right now, as this support will set the stage for the rest of their lives.”

Why Vertex: 

“Vertex is a leading biotech company committed to the patients we serve as well as its employees. We demonstrate this through the care we take in ensuring that the medicines we create get to the people who need them. Vertex shows care for its employees by listening to its workforce and implementing changes where necessary. The benefits are amazing, and work life balance is top priority.

“Vertex’s culture of inclusion and encouraging employees to strive for excellence is special to me. Although there is much work to be done towards this end, I do in this moment, feel like I belong and can make a difference in my department and companywide—because of the atmosphere which listens with the intent to take action on ideas.

Vertex in three words:

“Evolving, dynamic, aspirational”

Genzy Davis

Internal Audit

What she values most at work: Management Opportunities, Support for Diversity, Employer Responsiveness

“As a wife, working mother of two teenage daughters, with one heading off to college, being healthy for myself, family, and colleagues really makes a difference on my quality of life at home and at work. It’s wonderful that Vertex has on-site fitness centers at some of their locations, and I take advantage of this service so that I can remain fit and healthy. As my eldest daughter prepares to go off to college, having access to a college coach to help me navigate through the admission process is an amazing benefit to have, and it adds tremendous value to the process.

The other benefits that are also wonderful are Vertex’s retirement planning, employee matching, and employee stock option purchases. The options are amazing. Not to mention, you get access to a financial advisor who assists you in strategizing on how to meet your short- and long-term financial goals. The array of benefits that Vertex offers their employees demonstrates that Vertex values and invests in their employees for now and the future.”

Why Vertex: 

“In my role as an Information Technology auditor, I’m responsible for assessing the company’s business and technology practices. Prior to joining Vertex, my career experience has always been in the financial services and investment management industry, where the focus has been on managing other people’s money and wealth creation. I knew of Vertex based on the buzz surrounding its mission to create medicines for people with cystic fibrosis and their commitment to patients. I knew of several employees who didn’t know each other, but they had similar experiences at Vertex. They raved about Vertex, its mission, and how great of a company it was to work for. When the opportunity presented itself to apply for a position in the Internal Audit function, I jumped at the chance because I too appreciated the company’s purpose, values, and focus on patients.”

Vertex in three words:

“Innovative, forward-looking, authentic”

Karla Valentin

Executive Assistant

What she values most at work: Salary Satisfaction, Learning Opportunities, Support for Diversity

“The benefits that stand out most to me are those around mental well-being and how Vertex supports employees’ balance of home life and work, which I think are very important. Oftentimes, we forget that these things are important to our work and relationships with colleagues, but mental health matters to me because of my connections with people. Vertex offers us things like access to the Headspace meditation app, Ginger for on-demand mental health support, telehealth services, and employee assistance programs. I can bring my entire self to work, and I think I do that the best way that I can.”

Why Vertex:

“I first came to Vertex as a contractor due to my experience and what I could bring to the table. This first step worked out really well, because I ended up coming on-board as an employee—one of our leaders approached me to work for her due to my work ethic and the potential she saw in me to be a part of the exciting things that were happening Vertex.

“Culture is the character and personality of this organization. I think we still have a long way to go, but I think we are striving and chipping at it every day and I’m proud to be one of the people who can bring some changes and fresh ideas.”

Vertex in three words:

“Challenging, flexible, energetic”

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