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Gloria Crockett, senior director of quality

“The company vibe is one of respect and collaboration. I really enjoy working here. It’s a welcoming, inclusive, safe, and diverse environment where employees feel valued and respected.”

I’ll never forget the day I first heard about Prolacta.

It was 2013, and I was waiting to board a flight when a recruiter called to tell me about Prolacta’s opening for a director of quality. Normally, I wouldn’t have answered the phone, but as luck would have it my flight was delayed, so I decided to pick up. I remember being immediately intrigued by the concept of 100% human milk–based nutritional products for premature infants and decided to interview for the position.

At that point in time, I had nearly 30 years of experience managing quality for the plasma industry under my belt, including serving as head of quality (southwest division) for Grifols, the world’s largest producer of blood plasma–based products, and serving as the plasma center manager for Bayer Corporation, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

I was excited for the opportunity to put my extensive plasma industry skills and insights into practice at Prolacta, and that enthusiasm has not waned. For the last eight years, I have had the privilege of overseeing Prolacta’s quality assurance (QA) and in 2018, quality control (QC).

“Our nutritional products help give premature infants a fighting chance to not only survive but also thrive, and this is what drives my passion for the work we do here. I am so happy when I hear about a Prolacta baby leaving the hospital and going home with their family.”

At Prolacta, we adhere to the highest quality and safety standards. In fact, we were the first company to adopt the safety measure of DNA matching to ensure all milk received comes directly from our carefully screened and vetted donors.

In my role as senior director of quality, I am responsible for ensuring that all of Prolacta’s systems, procedures, and practices are intact and comply with the policies and requirements of all major regulatory agencies.

“I’m honored to say that Prolacta leads the human milk industry in terms of quality and safety. We model our stringent QA and QC methods after those used in the blood and plasma industries.”

While I truly enjoy all aspects of my job, I am by far the proudest of my role as chair of the recently established Athari Council at Prolacta. Created in 2020, the Athari Council is dedicated to the study and advancement of Black maternal health and equity in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

“I am honored to work for a company that stands firmly against racism and discrimination and that strives to be a part of the solution. Prolacta recognizes that racial disparities are real and that they negatively impact Black families with preterm infants. That is why we as a company have decided to collectively take action against this injustice with the formation of the Athari Council.”

The goal of the Athari Council is to uplift Black families in the NICU and beyond by working closely with select, like-minded organizations throughout the US to educate and enlighten healthcare providers to improve care for these families. Comprised of eight employee members (and counting!), the Athari Council is focused on making a tangible contribution to the fight against healthcare inequities, especially among Black families and how they are treated in the NICU.

“In Swahili, ‘athari’ means ‘impact.’ We thought this was a fitting name for our council seeing as how we are a company dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of premature babies and their families worldwide.”

Raising awareness of racial disparities in the NICU isn’t the only way Prolacta strives to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. The company also offers the Women’s Leadership Development Academy (WLDA). Created in 2018, WLDA provides access to education, mentorship, and networking opportunities to help support the professional advancement of women.

“It’s awesome to work alongside people from so many different backgrounds. I really do value the unique perspectives and experiences they each bring to the table.”

I am thankful for the collaborative culture that Prolacta instills in all of its employees. I also value the support I have received from my colleagues over the last eight years, in particular with my new role as chair of the Athari Council.

As we look forward, I am excited about the opportunity to help close the gap on health inequality facing Black families in NICUs and beyond while also continuing to help save the lives of thousands of premature infants worldwide via our high-quality, lifesaving nutritional products.