Skip to main content
Home » Breaking Stereotypes » How we are making a diverse difference to our exciting STEM workplace

Three colleagues from the Abbott’s manufacturing site in Oxfordshire talk about their experiences of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, navigating a successful work/life balance — and taking on new challenges.

Stephanie Mills

Manufacturing Process Manager, Abbott Witney

“I studied biology at university and was accepted onto Abbott’s graduate development programme in 2008. Initially I had a technical support role —and then I moved into manufacturing, managing a team of 40 people.”

“At that point I had very little experience of managing people — apart from having done a bit of it when I was an army cadet in my teens. Luckily, I had some great mentors who welcomed me into the team and gave me confidence and support. They could see what I was bringing to the role and wanted me to succeed.”

“As a mother, it’s important to have an employer who is supportive of your family life. I have Wednesdays off with my son, Riley, aged four and my daughter, Rosie, aged 19 months. Rosie was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, which has been a new path to navigate. The team here has been fantastic at supporting me on that journey and I have open dialogue with my managers about what that looks like. I enjoy being just ‘Steph’ at work — but having children has given me additional skills, patience and perspective.”

Ngan Le

Senior Technologist, Abbott Witney

“I always enjoyed maths at school, veered towards STEM subjects: studying medical engineering at university. Ultimately, I wanted to be part of a team or a company that creates products that improve people’s quality of life and makes a real difference to them. So it was fitting that I found a job at Abbott.”

“I’ve been at Abbott for nearly two years now, although I also held a placement at the company for a year when I was a student. My current job entails making sure that the blood glucose test strips we manufacture meet all specifications before they reach the customer. That necessitates a mix of data analysis, manufacturing support, trials and experiments and continuous improvement. The best thing about my role is that it’s so varied.”

“When I was a student and interviewed for my placement year, I got a tour of the manufacturing line. I’d never seen one before and I was surprised at how complex and intricate it is. Then, when I started working as a full-time member of the team here, I realised how closely different departments work together. There’s a big cross-functional effort to make a good quality product.”

I wanted to be part of a team or a company that creates products that improve people’s quality of life and makes a real difference to them.

Ngan Le

Ali Chaudhry

Operations Engineering Manager

“Apart from being the right thing to do, diversity and inclusion (D&I) supports workforce development and brings in new ways of thinking. A range of different perspectives leads to improved processes for people and products. It also facilitates greater workforce engagement, satisfaction, decision-making and creativity.”

“Having a strong diversity and inclusion focus widens the talent pool available to the company and gives access to people with different skills and viewpoints. In my previous role as project engineering manager, D&I was key for me because there was no gender diversity in that group. But we worked on it and now, I’m pleased to say, it’s a 50/50 split. We’re currently working to make sure we have diverse teams across other areas of engineering.”

“As a male ally and engineering leader, I try to recruit from a diverse pool of candidates, be they apprentices, graduates, interns or other roles. We also work with organisations like STEM Returners to support women who are coming back into the workforce after a career break. But it’s not just new hires, we also give career and development opportunities to the diverse talent we already have. I believe it’s important to listen to people to find out what really matters to them. That’s a simple way to provide thoughtful support.”

Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Our 113,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries. Find out more at

Next article