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Seema Kumar

Board of Governors

Chief Executive Officer, Cure.; former Global Head – Office of Innovation, Global Health and Scientific Engagement, Johnson & Johnson

A seasoned veteran with a 30-year career spanning academic, government, corporate and non-profit environments, Seema is experienced in setting a vision, mission and strategy in scientific programming, educational and learning initiatives, and key initiatives to drive business growth through innovation, strategic alliances and coalition building. A visionary leader who has cultivated teams across multiple geographies, Seema brings expertise in science, education; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and corporate social responsibility.

Until recently, Seema served as Global Head, Office of Innovation, Global Health and Scientific Engagement at Johnson & Johnson, retiring from the company after a nearly 20-year tenure in senior leadership roles. At J&J, Seema worked at the intersection of science, media, business and society to expand Johnson & Johnson’s leadership as a champion of science, a global health authority, and a responsible corporate citizen focused on the social impact of science on society. She led global efforts to advocate deeper engagement in science, leveraging creative arts, digital storytelling, public education programming, and her vast network of strategic science alliances to build trust and advance good science and public health policy. She was the brainchild behind multiple successful scientific education and engagement programs such as the prestigious Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research; the Champions of Science program to inspire the next generation; and the award winning educational live broadcast program, The Road to a Vaccine.

For the past two years, she was responsible for leading the company’s COVID-19 vaccine external affairs efforts, working 24/7 as part of the JNJ vaccine steering committee, driving the communication and public affairs efforts for the company, and creating an award-winning public education program on COVID and vaccine literacy during the pandemic.

Seema was also responsible for ensuring awareness of the company’s efforts to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. As part of advancing the values outlined in the J&J Credo, she works with partners and key stakeholders to set a clear example of transparency and accountability—through diversity, sustainability and community impact and by communicating openly and consistently about the company’s scientific and global health work across the globe. She has experience in working on, contributing, and overseeing key reporting obligations such as the Access to Medicines Index (ATMI, which JNJ has consistently ranked in the top 3); the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI); the UN Millennial Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals; the Janssen Transparency Report and the J&J Health for Humanity Report.

Throughout her career Seema has served as a science, innovation, and public health ambassador to many organizations including the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Smithsonian Museum, the BioGENEius and Biodiversity Programs, STEMConnector, Global STEM Alliance and other partners, driving STEM education programming, diversity and inclusion in science and technology, healthy equity and social impact efforts in under resourced communities. A key strategic partner for Johnson & Johnson’s former Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Paul Stoffels, and Innovation Head, Dr. Bill Hait, Seema is a member of the R&D Management Committee and a member of the Global Corporate Affairs Leadership Team.

Previously, Seema was the Chief of Staff to Dr. Eric Lander and Chief Communications Officer at the Whitehead Institute/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Genome Research, where she played a key role in enhancing worldwide public awareness and understanding of the Human Genome Project, working with Dr. Eric Lander, Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Kathy Hudson and other key leaders to educate the lay public about the efforts to map and sequence the blueprint of a human being. She was at the White House as part of the core team when the genome was announced by President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. She also played a key role in ensuring that the ethical, legal, and social impact of the project was well understood by the public, the media and policy makers. She won a gold medal from the Council for the Advancement of Science (CASE) for these efforts. She also led the Whitehead Partnership for Science Education, a science education program for high-school teachers and students in Massachusetts and drove efforts to recruit schools with minority and low-income students.

Prior to that Seema worked at the U.S. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institutes of Health, where she led efforts to educate policy makers and scientists about the importance of investing in basic science, role of women and science. She also worked at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where she launched new initiates to communicate the importance of basic science.

Seema is a leader with a bold vision and strong influencing and collaboration skills to engage others to deliver outstanding performance. She exudes confidence, courage, integrity, and humility, and agility to lead change and face challenges. An outstanding public speaker and a global ambassador she inspires audiences and develops broad networks of influential relationships. A creative thinker, idea generator and entrepreneur, she is a passionate and dynamic leader with a persuasive style, and energy and enthusiasm to establish common ground. With excellent interpersonal leadership abilities, she creates trusting relationships.

A passionate advocate for science, diversity, and women’s empowerment Seema has authored more than 200 published articles on a variety of topics, including science, health, policy, politics, and culture. She serves on several boards and advisory committees focused on science education and social impact. With a M.S. in Science Journalism, she is active in professional societies and advisory boards, and has received awards in Leadership, Media Relations, Science Education, Medical Writing, and Web Development.

A busy business leader by day, Seema spends her personal time connecting with her culture and focusing on her life-long passion to empower women. She is the founder of SEEMA, which connects and empowers South Asian women, wherever they are in the world. SEEMA is the largest multi-dimensional platform focused on increasing representation and spotlighting the role of South Asian women globally.