Oral Histories

Ray Jordan

Interview Segments on Topic: Mentors

Ray Jordan Biography

Ray Jordan is senior vice president of corporate affairs at Amgen, the world’s largest independent biotech firm. A pharma veteran, he previously was vice president of communications and information at Johnson & Johnson, and brought 27 years of experience in global health care to his position at Amgen, having spent 17 years at Pfizer before joining J&J.


INTERVIEWER: Thank you. Johnson & Johnson traditionally is one of the world’s most trusted companies. A lot of people know about the famous Johnson & Johnson credo that spells out the responsibilities to constituents and several publics. How does Johnson & Johnson ensure that the credo, which was developed a long time ago, remains applicable to the company today?

JORDAN: Right. The credo emerged in the early 1940s and has been a centerpiece for how we’ve thought about our responsibilities for the 60+ years since, and the embedding of it, the way it becomes a part of the fabric of the company is absolutely essential—in my mind—to the culture at J&J. I would say there are two components of that. One is the fact that it just needs to be and is a part of each decision making process that impacts stakeholders. It has to be recognized as real and as driving decisions. People in meetings have to feel that it’s there; it has to be not just on the wall, but in the discussion with people so that really comes from mentoring, from behavior modeling. It’s toned from the top. It’s toned from the middle. So it’s just seen as a way of helping you make decisions. That’s one. The second way which I think is supportive of that, but could not replace it are to create opportunities for people to engage more directly with the elements of the credo, to build better understanding and so on. I’ll give you one example of that from the last couple of years, which is where we established a tabletop process where people as small groups could stand around a table with a map of sort of a journey through the credo, and actually would talk about their own circumstances, the situations they faced. How did this part of the credo come up? Where was it challenged? Where did you have tradeoffs that you felt you had to make? So it was more of an exercise that engaged people. But again, that’s supportive of what to my mind is the core; which is seeing it in the room, in the decision making process.

INTERVIEWER: How important is mentoring to the fostering of ethical decision making in the workplace. I guess you’ve sort of answered that question in that, if you have that experience of working with the people who are wrestling through the problems, that’s a form of mentoring isn’t it?

JORDAN: It absolutely is. And that’s precisely correct. We talked about the credo earlier at Johnson & Johnson and the most powerful moments for me. I can give you the individual stories about them, because they’re that emblazoned. They are the moments when you saw someone—usually more senior in the organization because that seems to have a special impact on you, or somebody from another part of the organization has really taken the ethics to heart. In a meeting, they’ve been bold in raising a question or making a suggestion based on the ethical concerns that our credo may have raised around a particular decision. And when you see that, when you see that played out a couple of times, it gives you the strength and helps your personal character develop in a way where you live up to the memory of what these other folks have done. It emboldens you to take the same positive actions in the future on behalf of the business by making ethical decisions moving forward.