Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast

Kristina Fusella – The Power of Employee Resource Groups

October 25, 2023 Marie Gervais Season 6 Episode 20
Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast
Kristina Fusella – The Power of Employee Resource Groups
Show Notes

Kristina Fusella is a purpose-driven commercial leader with a collaborative approach. She relentlessly pursues excellence while advocating for innovation. Kristina joined Novo Nordisk Inc. in 2015 to be a pioneer in the disease state of obesity. Prior to Novo Nordisk , she had a generalist career in consulting at IBM and ZS.

Kristina has a passion for people and culture. She co-led the Millennials Employee Resource Group for two years and fostered a platform that empowered early talent to push for innovation and new ideas in the organization. During her tenure, Place to Work® named Novo Nordisk one of the "Best Workplaces for Millennials."


"When you're comfortable in a place, you don't want to change it, but without pushing yourself, there's really no growth."

"We have created this world where the benchmark for success for women looks like they have to be superwoman."

Episode Highlights:
Kristina is a native New Yorker, who graduated from Columbia University and is a new mother of a little girl. Her parents were immigrants from China, and she observed their strong work ethic, especially her mother, who was the family’s breadwinner. Kristina's mother always encouraged her to have a practical career.

Childhood incidents:
Wednesdays were special days for Kristina and her grandmother. They always had lunch at Burger King. Outside Burger King, there was a man who used to beg for change. One day, Kristina and her grandmother went to their usual Wednesday lunch, but the man was not there. Kristina kept wondering where the man was. When they sat down, she noticed the man sitting at a table next to theirs and enjoying every bite of his food.

Cultural Influence:
Kristina didn't have a chance to experience the Chinese culture growing up, but there are values that she holds deeply from the culture. She is grateful to the earlier generations for paving the way for her to be who she is today.

Influential Groups:
The group that Kristina has chosen to belong to recently is sisterhood. When she had her daughter, Kristina had post-partum anxiety and depression. What astonished her was women from different parts of her life kept reaching out to her. Kristina has developed a newfound appreciation for women’s experience.

Temperaments and Personality:
Kristina believes that one’s mindset is critical, and that positive energy is a faster way to achieving your goals than being in a negative space. She has been actively changing her mind in terms of her self-limiting beliefs.

Cultural Epiphanies:
After research by Novo Nordisk, it hit Kristina hard that there are some startling differences between American culture and Asian culture. For Americans, being loud, expressive, and actively self-promoting themselves is the norm, but for people in Asian cultures, it's the exact opposite. They love harmony, being humble, and never want to brag about themselves. They let their work speak for them.

What Brings Out the Best in Kristina?
To bring out Kristina's authentic self, she needs an environment where people are valued for their individualism and differences rather than wanting everyone to conform to a specific standard.

Soapbox Moment:
Kristina encourages organizations to look at employee resource groups if they have them. If not, think about how they invest in them. She believes it would lead to positive culture changes and business success.

Tagline: Employee resource groups are beyond social groups.

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