East Hanover, NJ – Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC) hosted more than 100 high school students with disabilities on October 15, National Disability Mentoring Day, for a hands-on career exploration event.  Students from 11 schools participated.

The purpose of the initiative at the Company’s East Hanover campus was to share insights with special needs young adults about career possibilities and to help build a diverse local future workforce.

The students engaged in interactive career sessions, and heard a keynote speech from Geri Jewell, an award winning author, performer and motivational speaker, who received worldwide recognition being the first person with a disability to be cast in a prime-time series, NBC’s The Facts of Life.

During her remarks, Ms. Jewell told the audience of students, chaperones and company associates, “One of the secrets to many of my successes is that I’ve always had an essence of creative visualization.  You have to see yourself doing what you want to do.  Create it in your mind; then it will manifest in reality.”

Reflecting on the day, Robert Ackerman, Head Region United States, Novartis Business Service – REFS, said, “Disability Mentoring Day is a wonderful opportunity for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation to show local high school and college students with special needs that they are a valuable talent pool and introduce them to the many career opportunities within a corporate environment.  The students gain a new perspective through this day of exploration and inspiration.”

A panel of NPC employees and family members who have disabilities also provided guidance about overcoming obstacles and described their careers.

Jonathan Anthony, a student at Montgomery Academy, said, “Each of the speakers at Novartis Disability Mentoring Day were on point and engaging.  I enjoyed the experience.”

National Disability Mentoring Day is sponsored nationally by the American Association of People with Disabilities.

About Novartis

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation researches, develops, manufactures and markets innovative medicines aimed at improving patients’ lives.  We offer a broad range of medicines for cancer, cardiovascular disease, endocrine disease, inflammatory disease, infectious disease, neurological disease, organ transplantation, psychiatric disease, respiratory disease and skin conditions.  The company's mission is to improve people's lives by pioneering novel healthcare solutions.

Located in East Hanover, New Jersey, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is an affiliate of Novartis AG, which provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2013, the Group achieved net sales of USD 57.9 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 135,000 full-time-equivalent associates and sell products in more than 150 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.