Zack's Adoption Journey
"Working Hard While Also Being the Best Dad I Can Be"
Proud fathers of a 10-month-old son, Zack Langway and his husband might well be described as belonging to the “beaming” stage of new parenthood, and with good reason. For there was a time not so long ago when they couldn't even imagine their path to the present. Zack put the matter candidly: "Like a lot of people in the LGBTQIA+ community, the steps involved in starting a family just seemed to us prohibitively expensive.”
However, when Zack and his husband formally initiated the adoption process, they quickly discovered what a difference the inclusive benefits at Johnson & Johnson could make. "It seemed like my benefits with Johnson & Johnson were popping up everywhere,” Zack recalled. “The company supported me throughout every stage of my journey to becoming a new dad."
From the outset, that support included vital legal assistance with byzantine bureaucracy and heaps of paperwork. (Too seldom celebrated the adoption process is for simplicity.) Later that support expanded to include flexible parental leave as well as a host of other inclusive benefits. None of this was lost on Zack.
"I've worked for a number of progressive companies in my career,” he said, “but as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I can tell you I’ve never been supported and affirmed the way I have been here. It's 360-degree affirmation. I know I can be who I am, which in turn influences how I show up for my company every day. And all of that tells me I'm valued. Not just for my skills or my brain, but for my life experience. For my personality. For the whole me and being who I am."
Zack’s “whole me” now includes an additional component, of course, but the basic concept hasn’t changed so much. As he explained, "It just means working hard while also being the best dad I can be."
"About Being at Home These Days..."
For the moment, Zack has two full-time jobs: parenting and working from home. And that's got to be hard, right?
Zack couldn't be happier.
"It’s great! The best part about being at home these days is that I get to see all these milestones with my son. The first syllables. The first sounds. Even during the day when I’m working, if I walk from my office to the kitchen and he sees me, his face just lights up!"
"So Affirming For Me"
Today, Zack is an active participant in Open&Out, an employee resource group at Johnson & Johnson for the LGBTQIA+ community. But he still remembers vividly the conversation he had with his manager about joining.
This was early on in a new role, and Zack was honestly worried. He didn't know how she would react. Dreading the conversation, he started practicing this little spiel in his head: I know I have a lot of responsibilities on my plate with our team, but I also really want to take on additional responsibilities with this other group...
Those worries soon sailed out the window: "Her answer wasn’t even a hesitation or a hedge. Instead, it was an immediate and resounding 'Yes!' That was so affirming for me."
Plus, Zack credits his participation in Open&Out with accelerating his professional development, allowing him to build valuable relationships with colleagues and gain insights into new areas of the company.
"The Deep Integrity of This Company"
Zack's current title is “Communications Leader, Enterprise Scientific Policy, Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO) Strategic Platforms and Thought Leadership."
And, er, what could that mean, possibly?
Zack did a bit of dissembling at first (Well, it’s actually only my fourth day in this new position, so I’m not totally clear on that myself...), yielded enthusiastically to laughter, then carried on gamely: "No no, I’m just kidding. My current role is all about helping our company communicate how we are driven by science and evidence, as well as by our values and ethics, through the lens of our Office of the Chief Medical Officer."
As a communications professional, I'm supporting the company as we lead with science and medicine, with health and ethics, for the safety and well-being of patients around the world."Share
In light of the latest developments in his family life, Zack says he looks back on his decision to join Johnson & Johnson with new perspective.
"My husband is a physician by training, and we’ve always made decisions together as a family. So when I think about what brought me to Johnson & Johnson, I think it was this sense, which my husband and I shared at the time—and still share now—of the deep, deep integrity of this company. It’s something that has proven true for us time and time again.”
Nothing brought that truth home quite so much as one recent experience, which Zack recounted: “It was time for our son’s first bath at the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital. The nurse brought us a bottle of JOHNSON'S® Baby Wash and said that this is what they give to and recommend for all preterm babies. It was a huge moment for me because I distinctly remember growing up with similar products. And to have this nurse teaching us about bath time for our son, while also recommending products that form a kind of bridge from my own childhood to my professional career, it meant so much to me."
Be Your Authentic Self and Join Our Team Today
We're proud to offer inclusive benefits like the ones that made all the difference to Zack, his husband and the newest addition to their family. For employees in the U.S. those benefits include:
- Adoption, fertility and surrogacy benefits for heterosexual and LGBTQIA+ employees
- Eight weeks of paid leave for all new parents—maternal, paternal, adoptive or surrogacy-assisted—during the first year of a new child’s arrival into their family
- Transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage and same-sex partner benefits that are aligned with the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, as well as coverage for gender-transition surgery for employees diagnosed with gender dysphoria
- And a whole lot more!
Benefits like these are a reflection of Our Credo values—and a way for us to bring them to more people everywhere. So if you’re ready to positively impact the future of health with an inclusive company where you belong, be sure to sign up for our Global Talent Hub. It’s a great way to stay in touch with us, learn more about life at Johnson & Johnson and even get updates about jobs that might interest you going forward.