Employee Voices

Creating a Place Where Women Can Thrive

McKesson employees find confidence and career growth through the WE ERG.



Read time: 5 minutes

At McKesson, we recognize that our employees are at their best when they feel empowered to pursue their career goals while also finding time to connect with one another. To that end, our Women Empowered (WE) employee resource group (ERG) is dedicated to making McKesson a place where women thrive in work and in life.

WE serves as a place where women at all levels throughout the company come together to connect, collaborate, and build professional and personal competencies.

Meet two McKesson employees whose participation in WE is helping them discover and leverage their strengths to grow and flourish in all areas of their lives.

Summer Cousins, Pharmaceuticals Category Manager

After completing a business development internship with McKesson in Richmond, Virginia, in 2016, Summer Cousins joined the company as a product manager with McKesson Medical-Surgical (MMS).

Summer Cousins

One of the first things she did as a new employee was to get involved with WE.

WE was my first introduction to the McKesson culture,” she recalls. “Everyone was warm and welcoming, and it was a great way to meet people beyond my team, learn about other departments, and uncover areas of interest to plan for my career, all on my own. Without WE, I don’t believe that I would have gained the exposure to establish myself as quickly as I have.”

Today, she works with generic, branded and specialty suppliers to expand MMS’ product access and develop category strategies to deliver the right products at the right price for non-acute customer segments such as surgery centers and physicians’ offices. While she loves what she does, she adds that WE has helped her more successfully conduct business in a large, often male-dominated industry.

“It’s comforting to have an organized way to meet other hardworking females and allies, share experiences, and create a space to grow together,” she says. “WE allows us a platform to share our struggles and accomplishments, ask questions, and set goals. It’s also fostered my introduction to Professional Women in Healthcare, which is an outstanding resource for making connections into the broader healthcare industry.”

Summer has also seen WE’s impact on bolstering her confidence.

“It’s important to remember how energizing and empowering it can be to put yourself in a room of passionate people full of different perspectives,” she says. “The inviting nature and energy at WE meetings has helped me sharpen my communication skills, become comfortable speaking up, and enabled me to get out of my shell, both at these more social events and in my professional role.”

Her experiences with WE have also inspired her to join other groups such as the Emerging Professionals ERG, the McKesson Café networking program, and her department’s employee opinion survey team.

“I believe participating in these organizations has helped me believe in myself, volunteer for big projects, dive into new areas of the business, find a mentor, and even get promoted,” she says.

One of the areas that has made a major impact on her career aspirations is her exposure to female leaders. She particularly appreciates the WEERG’s executive speaker series and Q&A sessions with female executives.

“These women are so successful – it can feel like they’re celebrities, and it’s easy to doubt that you should even be participating in these conversations,” she says. “But hearing them share their career journeys, and their pits and peaks of how they've navigated things, just like anyone else, is so encouraging and reminds you of why you should show up and take a chance on these opportunities.”

Kirsten Swengel, Senior Sales Solutions Manager

Kirsten Swengel has found abundant encouragement from the women who work at McKesson – even before she joined the company.

Kirsten S and Son

Five years ago, when she was looking for a new home in Fort Worth, Texas, for herself and her infant son, Kirsten rented a room from another single mom who had just relocated from Atlanta for her job at McKesson. Soon, her new housemate was urging her to check out job openings at the company. Kirsten applied and was hired as a technician supporting pharmacy software.

However, as much as she enjoyed her new IT role, she had always had a passion for sales. In 2020, one of her McKesson colleagues and mentors championed her efforts to transfer to a sales solutions manager position. Two years later, her mentor encouraged her to advance to her current senior-level role.

“The women within McKesson are amazing,” Kirsten says. “They have powerful business experience, and they look out for each other. That has been a huge factor in my development.”

She is now a trusted business advisor to both independent retail pharmacy customers and McKesson Health Solutions accounts as an expert on McKesson’s exclusive OneStop Generics program.

“In our department, we cultivate a sense of family,” Kirsten says. “We’re a team, and we're there to support each other so we can all do well and help the department and the company do well.”

That environment of connection, encouragement, and growth is what attracted her to the WE employee resource group for women – but it took another McKesson woman to inspire her to actually become a member last year.

“I was interested, but it always seemed I had more urgent things on my plate,” Kirsten recalls. “One day I was talking to my pharmaceutical sales consultant, who is also on the WE board. I realized if she was involved, I needed to be part of it.”

Since then, she has participated in classes and seminars that have helped her in her professional and personal development. It’s a great way to bridge the gap she feels at not having the pharmaceutical or technical background she sees in so many of her colleagues.

“I’m always trying to learn more, and the wisdom and actionable insight I’ve received from WE have been fantastic,” she says. “I love the environment, the experiences, and the inclusivity, and what everyone brings to the table.”

When she falls into the trap of feeling that her contribution doesn’t make a difference, Kirsten focuses on the empowerment of WE.

“These women remind me that I should be proud of what I contribute to McKesson, and that makes me want to do more,” she says. “I’m excited about my future here – there are no limits. McKesson is the best place for women to work.”