Subscribe to Newsletter


The Power List 2021 – Power List

Tanja Powers

Vice President, Ophthalmology Sales & Marketing, Genentech

How does Genentech promote gender equality at all levels?

In 2007, our former CEO Ian Clark challenged us to address the shortfall of women moving into leadership at Genentech, and we’ve made it a priority ever since. We set a 10-year strategic imperative to identify and remove barriers to the advancement of women in senior leadership positions and, in doing so, increase the pool of women qualified for these positions by 50 percent. We have accomplished this goal at all levels.

The Gender Diversity Strategy we designed was a multi-faceted, multi-year effort based on best practices detailed in research conducted by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA), which included Visible Leadership Support, Metrics and Accountability, and Work and Career Flexibility.

What components did our strategy include? Specifically, the support of Senior Leadership, recruitment practices supporting representation of women, advancement programs for high-potential female employees, career/work flexibility models to retain top female talent, merit and performance-based processes ensuring equity, functional action plans supporting enterprise-wide objectives, measurement and accountability to drive behavior and results, participation with industry groups like Businesswomen’s Association, and creation/support of the Genentech Women Professionals Employee Resource Group.

How do you ensure equal representation in leadership positions?

Our Genentech Executive Committee has set an enterprise-wide goal to increase the gender diversity of our leadership pipeline. Our resulting strategy to help ensure representation includes a number of key components – including efforts by leadership to communicate our goal and increase awareness or our Action Plan, through blogs, town halls, departmental meetings, and other touchpoints.
We established inclusive interviewing criteria that ensure female applicants are considered for new opportunities. We also targeted efforts to recognize high-potential women, reducing their years-to-readiness as successor candidates by ensuring clear development plans with stretch assignments. We are making sure that managers know the career aspirations of these high-potential women and provide them with senior mentor relationships. We have also created opportunities for them in high-visibility projects and job rotations.

We’ve also looked to collaborate with and empower female leaders outside of Genentech. Fourteen years ago, a group of female Retina Specialists approached us about possible support for a luncheon at an upcoming medical conference. The idea was to invite other female Retina Specialists to share ideas, experiences and offer support and mentoring and Genentech became the founding sponsor of the first Women in Retina (WinR) event. This group has grown to over 200 members and as a result, WinR mentoring has increased the percentage of women entering the field of Retina. In 2011, WinR became an official section of the American Society of Retinal Specialists.

What’s the most exciting project you’re working on? What can we expect from your company in the next five years?

It’s a really exciting year ahead of us for Roche/Genentech in ophthalmology, as we continue to focus on the discovery and development of therapies for patients with potentially blinding retinal diseases, including DME and AMD.

We have two late-stage treatments in development designed to offer potential lasting vision improvements for both DME and wet AMD, while also reducing treatment burden. Our Port Delivery System with ranibizumab (PDS) is a permanent refillable eye implant, approximately the size of a grain of rice. It is designed to continuously release a customized formulation of ranibizumab into the eye over time. And faricimab, the first investigational bispecific antibody designed for the eye, targets two distinct pathways that drive a number of retinal conditions.

Also, as part of our portfolio of digital ophthalmic solutions to improve patient care, we’ve recently launched a pilot program of Home Vision Monitor®, an easy-to-use app for remote patient monitoring, which is designed to detect early vision changes in patients with retinal diseases.


Part of the Power List 2021

Find out more

One hundred reasons to celebrate women in ophthalmology

Go to The Power List 2021

Register to The Ophthalmologist

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Ophthalmologist magazine



The Ophthalmologist website is intended solely for the eyes of healthcare professionals. Please confirm below: