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Home » Diversity & Inclusion » For Biogen Canada, a People-First Culture Is the Key to Success

Marina Vasiliou

Vice President and Managing Director of Biogen Canada.

I’m surrounded by a talented group of women leaders who are adaptable and empathetic but also willing to take risks.

When colleagues are faced with a daunting and difficult challenge, they often turn to Marina Vasiliou for guidance. They know she’ll tackle the issue head on, look at it from new angles, and collaborate to come up with a winning solution.

This is the type of leader she is — a creative, forward-thinking individual with an innovative spirit. It’s fitting then, that Vasiliou is Vice President and Managing Director of Biogen Canada, a company that’s pioneering advances in the field of neuroscience, delivering much- needed treatments to people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

Like the culture fostered at Biogen, Vasiliou believes that strength and progress are fuelled by diversity and that an inclusive workplace creates better results. “Biogen is a place where people can be their authentic selves and I think this is what my brand of leadership brings,” says Vasiliou. “I’m not looking for people on my team to be like me. I believe diversity and plurality of ideas are what creates innovative solutions and a winning team.”

Vasiliou joined Biogen Canada after a long and successful career in marketing and sales in the pharmaceutical industry throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. She was attracted to Biogen’s mission to be a global leader in neuroscience, its inclusivity, and its unwavering focus on providing hope to patients.

Vasiliou also saw that Biogen is a company that truly lives up to its pledge for diversity. Having women in leadership roles is an important element that feeds into this, over 70 percent of senior positions at Biogen Canada held by women. “I’m surrounded by a talented group of women leaders who are adaptable and empathetic but also willing to take risks,” says Vasiliou. “Biogen sees the value an individual brings to the team and doesn’t close doors because of gender, race, orientation, or background. We’re proud of the diverse and inclusive culture we’ve cultivated at Biogen, where everyone is genuinely inspired to make a difference in everything that we do, because we care deeply.”

Pioneering neuroscience into the future

Vasiliou is excited to lead Biogen Canada into the future and to advance the company’s mission of being pioneers in neuroscience. From its longstanding history in multiple sclerosis (MS) to introducing the first disease-modifying therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and research in devastating diseases with unmet needs such as Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Biogen continues to pursue innovation to tackle life-altering neurological diseases.

Moments of crisis can be moments of opportunity

Continuing to deliver vital, breakthrough medicines and to meet the needs of patients and physicians amid the COVID-19 pandemic is equally important, and Biogen is re-inventing ways to help meet needs and expectations. The company has adopted new models and digital technologies to support patients and health care providers, including adapting how clinical trials are conducted and virtualizing customer engagement. It also plans to bring biosimilars to Canada to provide savings and contribute to the sustainability of the health care system.

“The world is changing, and we’re learning every day,” says Vasiliou. “The pandemic is inspiring new, beneficial ways of serving patients, the medical community, and the health care system. The way I see things is that moments of crisis can be moments
of opportunity.”

This is precisely the kind of leadership the world needs now.

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