Kevin Merendino wasn’t certain of his career path when he completed his psychology degree seven years ago, but he knew one thing: he wanted to make a difference. He explored several options, including becoming a mental health counselor, until he – lucky for us! - found his niche in human resources at Zoetis. He’s been making a difference for our colleagues since he joined in 2016.
Kevin began his Zoetis tenure as an HR Associate, where he played an important role in our U.S. Zoetis Colleague Services organization, supporting HR processes and programs, including onboarding, 360-degree feedback, HR FOR ME, and Workday. For five years, his work helped ensure that many new Zoetis colleagues had what they needed to give their best in their new roles.
“A fun fact about Kevin is that if you were hired in the U.S. since 2016, you likely interfaced with Kevin. He was key to our onboarding process,” said Elizabeth Creveling, Director, Talent and Inclusion.
In addition to guiding new colleagues through their first days at Zoetis, Kevin has seized his own learning and development opportunities within the company. When Zoetis adopted a new payroll software and the online new hire orientation needed to be updated to reflect the new information and processes, Kevin dedicated his own time to learn the e-learning authoring software used to create the course so that he could manage it himself instead of reaching out to a third party.
When Zoetis formally established its Talent, Diversity, & Inclusion Center of Excellence last year, Kevin noticed missing representation for differently-abled and neurodivergent colleagues as the colleague resource groups (CRG) were being formed. So he took initiative to establish a new group: The Differently-Abled and Neurodiversity Alliance (DNA).
“DNA is a CRG that embraces all Zoetis colleagues. We’re striving to advance awareness and inclusion of all individuals who are differently-abled or have neurological differences and parents or caregivers of people who do,” said Kevin. “I hope that DNA can be a catalyst to continue fostering an inclusive environment at Zoetis.”
By embracing colleagues who are neurodivergent, Kevin said he hopes that he and his fellow DNA members can help shift the perception that these colleagues are “not less, not more, only different,” which is an important theme as we celebrate Autism Acceptance Month during April. As we like to say at Zoetis, our colleagues make the difference, and our differences make us stronger.
Kevin’s desire to make a positive difference led him to his new development opportunity. This month Kevin became a Talent and Inclusion Associate, where he is putting his background in psychology and “run it like you own it” mindset to use. In this role he’s supporting DE&I and talent initiatives, such as mentoring, DE&I education and colleague engagement.
Elizabeth Creveling, who will be his new manager, was keen to bring Kevin onto her team after years of working together. With his determination and commitment to making an impact, it’s easy to see why.
“In working with Kevin over the past five years, I’ve appreciated the value and perspective he’s added to many HR projects we’ve collaborated on. He always brings improvements and ideas that lead to better ways of working and improved interactions with our colleagues,” said Elizabeth. “There’s no doubt his contributions will be invaluable to the Talent, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion COE and the DNA CRG.”