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Welcome to UCB in the United States
Feb 07
Morgan Smith, U.S Communications
Benjamin Jessie and Kurt Hughes Use Combined 50+ Years in Industry to Create New Experiences and Forums for Colleagues

When we think about our purpose, people, and science – our people are a core component of how we deliver moments that matter for people living with severe diseases. At UCB, our people bring their whole selves to work enriching our environment with unique perspectives and experiences. How our people engage with each other and with society beyond UCB makes them better colleagues and employees. We’re pleased to spotlight some of our incredible employees.  
Benjamin Jessie, Field Reimbursement Executive in North Texas and Louisiana, has been in the healthcare industry for over 25 years. Getting his start as a hospital therapist, he was approached by an acquaintance who told him he was in the wrong industry. From there, Benjamin interviewed with multiple biopharmaceutical companies, where he was led through various positions from a sales representative to working at UCB in the reimbursement world. His start as a hospital therapist aligned with the patient value strategy, and he continued to be inspired by patients and driven by science. 

Kurt Hughes, the Director of the West Field Reimbursement Executives, also started as a sales representative in the industry over 25 years ago. Kurt has had many roles in Market Access and Pricing, including Regional Account Executive, the National Account Executive for the VA and the Department of Defense, and more. Kurt recognizes that to stay relevant and able to support access to medicines, there is always room for roles and teams to change and evolve.  

Benjamin and Kurt started a field reimbursement mentorship program on their team to facilitate continued dialogue, growth, and ideas across the organization. The program allows any internal employee interested in career development into reimbursement to speak to their leadership and apply to join the mentorship program every year. Used as an educational tool, interested employees can learn about the roles, responsibilities, and be introduced to open positions in the future. 

Beyond the mentorship program to develop future talent, they also created a monthly Discovery and Awareness Forum. What started as casual conversations between the two organically became a forum for anyone to join to discuss unconscious bias, gender issues, sexual identity, as well as other diversity, inclusion, and awareness topics. The once-a-month open forum allows employees from all departments to leave their titles behind to discuss openly.  

“The result of the Discovery and Awareness Forum is that it help people become more aware, both of themselves and their surroundings,” says Benjamin Jessie. “It is incumbent on all of us to make this world of ours a better place in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We all have a hill to climb with that.” 

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