In the mid-1990s, Skye Towers – a Novartis employee based in our Dublin office – realized she didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. The transition to become Skye took many years, but she succeeded in overcoming the private and public challenges involved in changing gender. Today, she is helping others who want to follow a similar path.

Skye Towers at a Novartis office (Photo)

Skye Towers at a Novartis office

“I’ve worked at Novartis for around 20 years; 13 as a man and seven as a woman. Living a hidden life before I transitioned made me feel like I was sinking emotionally. It was holding me back. I knew that moving forward [as a transgender woman] would make me far happier.”

Skye in her home town of Worthing, UK (Photo)

Skye in her home town of Worthing, UK

“During the first conversation with my manager, I found it difficult to get the words out. I tried to explain by saying that I don’t dress the same at home as I do at work. She just replied ‘nor do I’. So I got my phone out and showed her a picture instead.”

Skye and her partner walk their dog in Worthing, UK (Photo)

Skye and her partner walk their dog in Worthing, UK

“My manager and my team were very supportive. I had such a release of all the negativity and anxiety that had been hanging over me. Through the Employee Resource Groups at Novartis, I discovered the LGBTQI community. And from there, I was asked to help create a guide for other employees who are transitioning.”

Skye on the beach in her home town of Worthing, UK (Photo)

Skye in her home town of Worthing, UK.

“Everyone’s emotional wellbeing is different. While one person might want to make the transition quickly, another might want to take it more slowly. It’s important that the person who is transitioning is in control of the process and feels the company is supportive.”

Skye smiling at a Novartis office (Photo)

Skye at a Novartis office

“People tell me that I look much happier now and seem much more confident. One colleague told me they couldn’t even remember the old me – they said it seemed like a lifetime ago.”

To hear more about Skye’s story, listen to the “Becoming Skye” podcast at: live.novartis.com/article/becoming-skye