AstraZeneca put 17-year-old in charge of its Luton office for International Day of the Girl

Lanna took over as company's UK president!

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 11:46 am

AstraZeneca' s UK president, based at the firm's Luton site, stepped aside for a day to allow a 17-year-old to lead the company.

Teenager Lanna took on Tom Keith-Roach's role on Monday (October 11) as part of a special initiative to mark International Day of the Girl.

Plan International, a global children’s rights charity, worked in partnership with AstraZeneca to select five young women and design their experience at the company’s Capability Green site in Luton, as well as at AstraZeneca's Cambridge and Macclesfield bases.

Lanna was UK president of AstraZeneca for a day

For the first time in the UK, AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) joined the #GirlsBelongHere campaign, to promote inclusion and draw attention to the obstacles faced by young women in the UK.

To support the campaign, senior AstraZeneca executives invited the 15- to 21-year-olds to take their role for the day, giving the girls a unique opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills. By highlighting the lack of equal opportunities for girls, particularly in STEM industries, AstraZeneca hopes to smash some of the stereotypes that hold girls back and impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

Lanna said of her experience: “My favourite part of the day was participating in the senior leadership team meeting. I really liked seeing how many women were in the team, it made me feel really included, and that there’s opportunities for me to be a leader one day!”

Mr Roach added: "It was fantastic to have Lanna join us for the day at AstraZeneca. I really valued the enthusiasm and perspective she brought into our senior leadership meeting, asking challenging questions and driving a great discussion on gender equality in the workplace. At AstraZeneca, we want to encourage more girls, like Lanna, into STEM careers by showing them the range of opportunities in our industry.

Lanna with Tom Keith-Roach

"As a father to two young girls, I am passionate about advocating and endorsing gender equality to show girls across the country that they have a place at the table here at AstraZeneca. By creating equal opportunities for girls we can smash stereotypes and bring more girls into STEM careers."

Juliette White, AstraZeneca Vice President, Global SHE & Sustainability, said: "From personal experience, I know how incredibly important it is for young girls to see women in senior positions and leadership roles. I hope this campaign will inspire young people, girls in particular, to think differently about their potential and ambitions for the future.

"Within AstraZeneca we are accelerating our efforts to increase the diversity of our organisation, to be wholly inclusive and to establish full gender equality. We are making progress, it’s encouraging that almost half of our senior leadership roles are now held by women.

"These female leaders are brilliant in their particular field and fantastic role models. By supporting the Young Health Programme, and through the #GirlsBelongHere campaign, we want to inspire young people to the raise their aspirations, to see themselves as future leaders in healthcare, and advocates for change in this world."

The AstraZeneca initiative to have girls’ ‘takeover’ senior leadership roles across UK sites took take place alongside events in 17 AstraZeneca offices around the world including Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam.

Further information about AstraZeneca’s #GirlsBelongHere campaign can be found here.