Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science

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Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science
News release

11 February 2021

UNESCO’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science aims to recognise the critical role women and girls play in science and technology. To mark the day, we are shining a spotlight on three world-class scientists whose industry-leading research is supporting BAT’s transformation.

As a company, we have a clear purpose to build A Better Tomorrow™ by reducing the health impact of our business. To do that, we need fresh, diverse thinking in science and innovation. That is why our Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) initiative to attract and retain more female talent in our Research & Development, Operations, and Information & Digital Technology functions is so important.

We are proud members of WISE (Women into Science and Engineering), an education and networking organisation that supports women in STEM. We are also committed to both our Women in Leadership programme and 30% Mentoring Club to help increase the number of women in senior roles.

One of those leading the way in R&D is Carlista Moore Condé, Head of New Sciences. Growing up in the southern states of the USA, Carlista’s interest in science started to develop at a young age, and, after more than two decades working for some of the world’s biggest companies, her love of science remains as strong as ever.

“Science and technology touch virtually all aspects of our lives and I find that fascinating,” Carlista says. “I’ve found over my career that leveraging scientific and technical principles to find solutions to problems, in conjunction with your own intuition and experiences, is an effective approach. And one of the reasons I’m so passionate about my work is anchored in the fact that I’m fundamentally a problem solver and an innovator. I love challenges, actually I need them to feel fulfilled. Additionally, I am quite people-oriented and I love helping individuals and teams to accomplish their goals. That’s why I’m just as excited today about what I do as I was over 22 years ago when I started my career in science and technology.”

Thinking about the next generation of scientists, Carlista’s advice is “follow your passion and one day you may be able to make a difference to the world”. In fact, a key driver behind Carlista’s move to BAT was the chance to contribute to harm reduction on a global scale. “One of the things that truly excites me about my role is that the primary objective of the function is to create a solid scientific foundation to support our product portfolio and this work is directly linked to our company’s core purpose to build A Better Tomorrow™ by reducing the health impact of our business and offering adult consumers a greater choice of potentially less risky products.”

Another important member of the BAT R&D community is Analytical Scientist, Dr Isabel Pinto. Born in Brazil, Isabel spent most of her life in Portugal and says she chose to become a scientist because she has always wanted to understand how things work.

“When I was a little girl, I really liked being outside exploring nature,” Isabel says, “and I remember one of the first things that really got my attention was during a walk with my family. After seeing a rainbow, I was really curious about it, asking lots of questions, and my parents said ‘oh, I think we have a scientist in our house’. I also had a great chemistry teacher in high school who showed me that chemistry was everywhere, in the stars, the food we eat, our emotions and the air that we breathe. She was definitely a motivation and an inspiration for me to pursue a career in science.”

Isabel works on the chemical characterisation of our Potentially Reduced-Risk Products and says one of the things she enjoys most about her role is being able to collaborate with other colleagues in R&D.

“I’m really passionate about my work at BAT because I’m doing what I love — research,” Isabel says. “I get the chance to work with different project teams and different groups. And this diversity of people, of different backgrounds, ages, nationalities and cultures has been really important and rewarding in my professional and personal life. In my opinion, our diversity brings different talents together that allow us to find the best solutions to our scientific challenges. This has been particularly important during the pandemic, a time when we’ve still been able to keep delivering results. Things haven’t been easy, but I feel so lucky to be working with such a great team of scientists during these tough times.”

Behavioural Scientist, Mandara Shetty, is one of the members of our Human and Consumer Behaviour team. Originally from India, she moved to London when she was eight years old and is now based in Southampton. Mandara returned to a permanent position after a year’s industrial placement in R&D and says a career in science is a great way to explore different subjects while simultaneously owning your own speciality.

“If you are someone like me who is constantly interested in different areas,” Mandara says, “there are so many fields that complement other disciplines when you have a scientific career. For example, I studied psychology because I could really delve into different areas and disciplines. You can draw comparisons and collaborate with other social sciences and even technology, especially with the recent advances in Artificial Intelligence.

“I’m passionate about the work that I do now because I think it gives me a great balance between exploring the different curiosities I have, in terms of my scientific research questions, as well as delivering scientific findings and insights in a business-relevant way to inform harm reduction practices.”

We are proud of our Women in Science who are helping us build A Better Tomorrow™ and accelerating our transformational journey through science and innovation.

Watch the video below to find out more.

Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science


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