RENEE CONNOLLY is the chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer and head of innovation HR engagement & inclusion at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, where she drives the strategic advancement and cultural implementation of the company’s global DE&I efforts at an enterprise level. With a passion for this critical area, she aims to deliver a state-of-the-art business model for DE&I, empowering the global organization to move the needle. In her nearly 18 years with the company, Connolly has been a driver of change, builder of teams and nurturer of culture to support the global business and its employee base. Previously, Connolly served as global head of communications and business markets / services for the life science business. In this role, Connolly spearheaded the communication strategy for the acquisition of chemical giant Sigma-Aldrich — marking the largest acquisition in the company’s history and one of the largest in the life science industry. She also launched the life science business’s SPARK™ global volunteer program and signature Curiosity Labs™ program, which inspires students to explore STEM careers through hands-on education. She is a board member for the International Women’s Forum – Massachusetts, the American Cancer Society’s New England Region chapter, Massachusetts Conference for Women, and the Home for Little Wanderers. She is a past recipient of the Working Mother of the Year award from Working Mother Magazine and of the American Cancer Society’s Cindy Lombardo Service Above Self Award for her support in the fight against cancer.