Eli Lilly and Co.
One of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies
Derica W. Rice
How did Derica W. Rice become one of Eli Lilly and Co.’s highest-ranking
Black executives? The pharmaceutical giant’s executive vice president of
global services and chief financial officer attributes his drive for success
and innovation to his modest upbringing in Decatur, Ala.
The first in his family to attend college, Rice strives to make the most of every
opportunity—and this has stayed with him throughout his 20-year tenure at Lilly,
where he has risen from international treasury associate to his current expanded
role that includes “redesigning the back-office operations … improving efficien-
cies and, most important, increasing the speed with which we execute new medi-
cines,” he says. “One of the big challenges pharmaceutical companies face today is
lack of innovation.”
To help meet this challenge, Rice welcomes the contributions of all.
Responsible for also overseeing the company’s procurement, he says, “we
make sure we have a very diverse supplier base, from the people we work with
on our clinical trials to ad agencies. We also ask ourselves: Do we work with
diverse financial institutions? Do the big banks that service Lilly have a diver-
sity strategy of their own?” As a result of adding diversity-related criteria into Lilly’s RFPs, Rice says vendors have
responded positively. (Lilly itself has a supplier-diversity spending goal of more than 10 percent.) Diverse suppliers
have also helped Lilly tap into Black and Latino communities to participate in clinical trials.
“If we’re going to bring forth new medicine that means something to each patient who takes it,” says Rice, “then
we need to understand what it actually does for each of them.”
Rice also sits on the board of directors of Target Corp. (No. 40 in the DiversityInc Top 50) and Clarian Health
North and is a member of the Indiana University board of trustees. GAIL ZOPPO
;Diverse suppliers have helped
Lilly tap into Black and Latino
communities to participate in
;Vendors have responded
positively to diversity-related
criteria in Lilly’s RFPs.
Theresa S. Wilson
Wells Fargo & Co.
No. 43 in The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity®
Early in Theresa S. Wilson’s career, as one of only a few Black women
computer programmers at Wachovia (now Wells Fargo & Co.), she was told
that she would head a project after gaining a year’s worth of experience. But 12
months later, her manager reneged on his promise. Instead of calling it quits in
an industry where she was serving as a role model to change corporate culture,
Wilson was more determined than ever to prove him wrong.
© 2010 DIVERSIT YINC
Slowly, she built his trust and gained respect from the
other managers in her nearly 34-year career. Today, as
Wells Fargo’s CIO of operations and recently promoted
executive vice president of technology services, Wilson
leads a 700-person team and is responsible for overseeing
technology strategies, development and implementation.
“I take on challenges and learn things very quickly,”
she explains. This is a tactic that has led her to be one of
the highest-ranking Black executive women in technology. Wilson also suggests observing “white male counterparts to see how they get things done,” noting that doing
so has taught her how casual conversations help to build
trust at work.
Wilson knew she had broken race and gender barriers several years ago when her white colleagues were
jockeying to oversee a $50-million project to leapfrog
their careers. Although Wilson didn’t campaign for the
assignment, “it was just handed to me,” she says. “When
you have a really good leader, they look past race and
gender for someone who’s going to help them be suc-
As a hiring manager, she seeks a mix of candidates
who have been exposed to adversity, among other things.
“I also mentor talent already in the organization, espe-
cially around gender and race, to make sure they’re rec-
ognized by leaders,” says Wilson, who has been involved
in formal and informal mentoring pairs for several years.
In addition, Wilson is a member of Women In Science
& Engineering to help support other women pursuing
STEM careers. GAIL ZOPPO
June 2010 187