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Name Has Changed, Commitment's the Same

Melissa Feltmann loves her role as director of New Jersey Partnerships and Alliances for Sanofi.

The company may have changed its name, but it will continue to serve the community in keeping with its long history in Bridgewater.

While it recently dropped "Aventis," the pharmaceutical company now known simply as will continue to maintain strong ties within the community through grants, and the volunteer work and leadership involvement of its employees who serve on local boards and organizations, according to Melissa Feltmann, director of New Jersey Partnerships and Alliances for the company.

Feltmann, who has worked for the company for a little more than 10 years, said she loves her role. Based at Sanofi’s U.S. headquarters on Corporate Drive, she leads the company’s community relations initiatives. 

Sanofi employs more than 11,000 people in the United States. Its research and development efforts focus on cardiology, oncology and internal medicine, as well as metabolic diseases, central nervous system disorders, ophthalmology and vaccines.

“I feel very fortunate because I enjoy interacting with so many individuals and organizations in the community," she said. "And it feels good to know that I’m working for a company that is committed to giving back to the community in which it resides."

“We have had a pretty busy year so far," she added. "We launched a new volunteer program called New Jersey Community Day in May, which involved 350 employees going out into the community and volunteering their time in a variety of ways."

Feltmann said that, cumulatively, the employees completed 1,495 hours of work on 10 different projects throughout the community in that one day of service.

“Volunteerism has always been a part of our culture, so this year we decided to pull together hundreds of people in one day so we could really accomplish a lot,” she said.

What the teams were able to accomplish in one day was extraordinary, Feltmann said.

“With the help of our employees, 12 walls received a fresh coat of paint, 25 new murals were painted to inspire healthy lifestyles in children, five new four-square and hopscotch boards were painted to provide fitness alternatives for disabled children, nearly 200 flowers were planted and a vegetable garden was planted to teach children about healthy eating," she said. "And these were just a few of the projects that were completed that day."

Sanofi has been in the community for more than 40 years, Feltmann said, which included the decade that it was known as Sanofi-Aventis. 

“Our employees really enjoyed the day of giving and the organizations that we helped were very appreciative, everyone benefitted from the day,” she said.

“Especially at this time when there are so many growing needs in the community because of the economy, our volunteer program makes good use of our employees’ time, talents and resources, and it also makes them feel a great sense of satisfaction to be able to lend a hand and help organizations in the community that may be struggling,” she added.

At the end of the day of giving, employees not only felt a sense of accomplishment, but working together fostered a sense of camaraderie and they were able to get to know one another in a very different environment, Feltmann said.

In addition to the event in May, Feltmann said, Sanofi sponsors the Tour of Somerville held during Memorial Day weekend, and continues to support the Somerset Patriots.

And Sanofi strives to be a good corporate citizen and has recently received the New Jersey Smart Workplaces Award for the fourth year in a row.

Feltmann said that the company has received the award because of its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by encouraging carpooling and van-pooling commuter options.

Sanofi has also been awarded the River Friendly Business Certification from the New Jersey Water Supply Authority.

Feltmann said there have been a range of initiatives implemented by Sanofi to ensure that it remains a good neighbor in the community.

The company is also the recipient of the Somerset County Business Association Quality of Life Award, as well as ranking high on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

“Bridgewater is a beautiful community and we feel very lucky to work in such an aesthetically beautiful area nestled in the hills of Somerset County with such convenient access to so many businesses, great restaurants and stores," Feltmann said.

"Our employees enjoy a nice balance between the benefits of an urban area with all of its conveniences and the beauty of a rural setting," she added.

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