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ELC Celebrates Six Years of Advancing Possibilities for Women in STEM With Springer Nature

Lisa Napolione with this year’s winners of the Nature Awards for Inspiring Women in Science
Lisa Napolione with this year’s winners of the Nature Awards for Inspiring Women in Science

At The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) we have a long-term commitment to advancing possibilities for women and girls around the world. In our 6th year of partnership with Springer Nature, the world’s leading scientific research publisher, we continue to recognize and celebrate inspirational early-career women researchers and those who have worked to champion women and girls’ participation in science through the Nature Awards for Inspiring Women in Science. This year’s awards ceremony, hosted across 2 days and held for the first time at the company’s global headquarters and Research & Development (R&D) facilities in New York, centered around the importance of collaboration and connectivity to achieve success as a woman in STEM.

The awards were presented in 2 different categories, Science Outreach and Scientific Achievement. The Science Outreach category shines spotlights on those who work to encourage girls and young women to engage with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and increase retention in STEM careers. The Scientific Achievement category recognizes early-career women researchers that have made an exceptional, demonstrable contribution to scientific discovery. Lisa Napolione, Senior Vice President, Global R&D; Nadine Pernodet, Senior Vice President, Global Bioscience; and Sarah Vickery, Vice President, Global Scientific Communications proudly represented ELC on the judging panels for the award categories.

The winner of this year’s Science Outreach award was the Main Bhi Curie initiative of the SwaTaleem Foundation, recognized for their work encouraging historically underrepresented girls in New Delhi, India to study natural sciences and increase their retention in STEM areas. The organization also aims to build STEM awareness within the students’ families, inspire confidence, and expand engagement for the girls. 

The Scientific Achievement award winner, Hortense Le Ferrand, received this year’s award in recognition of her work at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. As an assistant professor, she leads a dynamic and diverse research team across topics on materials science, mechanics, and engineers that aims to create materials and structures for a more sustainable world.

Several members of ELC’s executive leadership team, R&D employees, editors and leaders from Springer Nature’s various journals, and members of multiple UN entities took part in the celebration. Lisa opened the ceremony, remarking on the increasingly impressive field of applicants for the awards. “The caliber of applications in each category leaves me in awe every year and gives such hope for the future knowing there are such exceptional research accomplishments of women scientists and engineers around the globe. Our applicants continue to span the broadest range of scientific, engineering, and mathematics disciplines—a true testament to the fact that women are integral to scientific progress,” she said.

The evening highlighted “The Power of Connections,” with Lisa emphasizing that “powerful connections are especially impactful in breakthrough scientific discoveries, which greatly benefit from collaboration, partnerships, and intersections across different STEM disciplines.” In the spirit of cross-sector collaboration, Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations Global Communications, joined the event to provide a keynote address and shared her global perspective on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5: achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. 

The day before the ceremony, ELC hosted a Networking Day at its R&D facilities in Melville, NY for this year’s winners and members of the Springer Nature team, including several Springer Nature editors. There, the group had the unique opportunity to meet with some of the company’s leading scientists across Advanced Technologies, R&D Formulation, and Clinical Testing. These scientists presented examples of ELC’s research and most recent advances in the company’s core scientific platforms, including epigenetics, longevity, clinical science, neuroscience, biotechnology, and fermentation.

Leading up to the announcement of the winners, this year’s shortlisted nominees across both categories connected through a mentoring site to share learnings and hear from their fellow nominees, previous winners, and ELC and Springer Nature leaders. Lisa and Jane Anders, Senior Vice President, Asia/Pacific R&D, Product Development, Corporate Innovation, Packaging Development, contributed to the conversations this year. Topics included gendered division of labor, leadership, skills for overcoming challenges in communication, belonging to the scientific community and collaborating to work towards a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable workplace.

Initiatives like the Nature Awards for Inspiring Women in Science highlight how partnerships and collaboration across industries and sectors are critical to making strides in closing the gender equality gaps, particularly within STEM. ELC is committed to continuing the vital work needed to work toward women’s advancement and gender equality, and we remain inspired by the incredible work being done each year by the awardees and applicants. With partners like Springer Nature, ELC aims to continue to open doors for women around the world.

Learn more about how ELC is advancing possibilities for women.

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