Medtronic cares about people living better and longer

 Medtronic Canada gets recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers for 2019.

MDT employees building a bike for charity

Marilise Kassouf, a biomedical engineer in Patient Services at Medtronic Canada, was helping a Vancouver patient with Parkinson’s disease who had run out of battery power for the device implanted in his brain to help stabilize his tremors. “The whole team stayed at work until midnight to make sure we could get a recharger delivered to his door on time,” recalls Kassouf.

“It was very humbling because it was a whole team that was also willing to go above and beyond to help this patient,” Kassouf says of staff in Brampton, headquarters for the Canadian subsidiary of Medtronic, the largest medical technology, services and solutions company in the world.

“What keeps me here is the people, because when I come in every day, I feel like I’m coming into a family,” she continues. “It’s not only work, it’s more of a work-life integration for me. I feel very fortunate to be part of a team that truly cares about the impact they have on patients every day.”

It’s exciting to be part of a company that is often first to bring innovative technologies to market, and knowing that those technologies really help to change patients’ lives.

Laura Cameron, senior director

Kassouf notes that even the founder of Medtronic, Earl Bakken, benefited from the technology he helped create, crediting his pacemaker, insulin pump and heart stent for extending his life by at least a decade.

The Canadian subsidiary is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and is very proud of the Medtronic Mission, written almost 60 years ago – to “alleviate pain, restore health and extend life.” And that, says Laura Cameron, senior director of Diabetes and Consumer Care as well as site leader for the Brampton headquarters, is what makes working there hugely rewarding.

“It is really the complete ‘why’ that keeps our employees here, and what gets us up in the morning,” she says. “Plus, it’s exciting to be part of a company that is often first to bring innovative technologies to market, and knowing that those technologies really help to change patients’ lives.”

Medtronic innovations — which include pacemakers, ventilators and minimally invasive surgery solutions — benefited 70 million people globally last year. Some newer innovations include: the world’s smallest pacemaker, the size of a large vitamin capsule; a pill camera you swallow to do an endoscopy; and, recently licensed in Canada, the world’s first self-adjusting insulin pump system for people with Type 1 diabetes aged seven and older.

“I’ve had the opportunity to speak to patients and parents in the U.S whose lives have been profoundly changed by this new pump system,” says Cameron. “Parents of children with diabetes are sleeping through the night, often for the first time, because this device is looking after their basal insulin adjustments.”

The largest medical device employer in Canada — with more than 1,100 employees including over 350 in Ontario, and with regional offices in Vancouver and Montreal —Medtronic embraces the sixth tenet ofits mission: being a good corporate citizen.

Statistics 2018

That includes an array of charitable activities. Medtronic workers have donated to more than 160 charities of their choosing last year alone, and the Medtronic Foundation matches their contributions dollar-for-dollar. Meanwhile, June is devoted to Project 6, named after the month and that sixth tenet, which gets employees involved in a philanthropic project.

Last June, about 500 Canadian employees gathered in the Niagara region to assemble 50 new bicycles, to be distributed to local children. As a member of the philanthropy committee, Kassouf helped plan the project, for which employees were given half a day of paid time to participate. “It was really overwhelming,” she says, “especially because everyone was just so excited about assembling those bikes and could really feel the joy they were bringing to kids.”

In a lighter vein, Kassouf notes that there’s fun to be had working at Medtronic, which has a gym in Brampton and offers dance and fitness classes. The headquarters also has various games in the cafeteria, as well as a reflection room for prayer or meditation. In 2019 it will open a decompression room outfitted with massage chairs.