In June 2021, the Medtronic Surgical Robotics operating unit (OU) announced the first clinical procedure in the world with the Medtronic Hugo™ Robotic-Assisted Surgery (RAS) system. A feat of this magnitude is backed by an impressive team featuring women in leadership roles, so it’s no surprise that this leading OU is closing the gender gap and accelerating diverse representation. With Women’s History month recently on our minds, we take this opportunity to shine the spotlight on their contributions and share their career advice for women aspiring to leadership in this innovative space.
A 10-year Medtronic veteran in Minimally Invasive Surgery, Megan was part of the team that ideated and started the robotic-assisted surgery project and “incubator.” After a brief departure, she rejoined Medtronic in January 2018 to lead the Surgical Robotics business.
–Megan Rosengarten, OU President, Surgical Robots
Megan shares, “When you lead and accomplish things in a way that is true to yourself, it makes work easier and increases the chances that people will trust you and want to work with you.” Spend more energy on solving meaningful problems and inspiring those around you to also do great things.
Studies show that more diverse teams fuel greater innovation and better business outcomes. “We’re really focused on how we can further lean into the power of our diversity,” says Rosengarten. “Our diversity of experiences and ways of thinking is one of our greatest strengths. That’s important for all of our employees’ sense of belonging. With this, we are inclusive in the way we think about and incorporate needs from a diverse customer base into our solutions.”
“I recognize the power of simply showing up “on the stage” or at a “seat at the table,” says Megan. I take on more speaking engagements and opportunities in meetings than I did in the past, not always because I have the time (or sometimes desire) to do so, but because I feel a responsibility to be representative of women in leadership and encourage other women who may be wondering if becoming a leader is an achievable goal for them. I believe women will realize how they can inspire a mindset or create an environment where they unlock their full potential as authentic women in leadership, empowering everyone around them to do the same.
Tracy has been with Medtronic for 2 years and is responsible for a global team of engineers and scientists who support all design, development and system testing relevant to bringing the Hugo™ RAS system to market, as well as all future work in the Surgical Robotics space.
–Tracy Accardi, Vice President of R&D, Surgical Robotics
Tracy shares, “It’s very rewarding to take on a challenge and learn from the mistakes as well as the wins.” Tracy encourages people to think outside of their comfort zones and think big. Ask “What if it was possible to do something bigger than you can imagine, and you could be a part of it?” Imagine the joy that comes from accomplishing what is thought to be impossible. Don’t be afraid of the next big challenge. Imagine what would happen if you do it versus what would happen if you don’t. You may surprise yourself with the things you can accomplish if you just take a deep breath and jump into making a diﬀerence. Just be sure to look back once in a while to see who else you can bring along.
Our team is extremely inclusive as we work toward milestones together. It’s great to work in a business striving for a diverse workplace with several women on our Leadership Team. I look at the faces on our Zoom team meetings and think, “Look at the diversity and particularly, all the women leaders on this call! This team is really making it happen.” It strikes me as remarkable. I haven’t seen this level of representation by women before. That said, we would never be where we are without each member of our team – regardless of gender. It took plain, hard, dedicated work to get us to where we are and will take more of the same to get us where we want to be.
As a leader, you can never focus enough on developing the people who work with and for you. Learning and growing, accomplishing things together as a team - this is why people want to be part of your team. That’s how we keep moving forward. Where are the next opportunities? What skill sets do we need to strengthen? How can we be stronger and better? When we find team members who have this drive, they can become part of the culture we want to cultivate.”
Carla has been with Medtronic for 8 years and oversaw the first surgical procedure with the Medtronic Hugo™ Robotic-Assisted Surgery (RAS) system in Chile.
–Dr. Carla Peron, Vice President of Clinical Research and Medical Science for Surgical Innovations and Chief Medical Officer, Surgical Robotics
We have a lot of work in front of us. We need to expand through other regions and bring more technology as a solution for hospitals and healthcare providers. There is a lot to do. What we have accomplished thus far is a very small (though huge, internally) step into the market. There is a long journey ahead for us to disrupt the robotic-assisted surgery market by expanding indications and diﬀerent geographies and bringing advanced instrumentation to be part of surgical solutions.
The Surgical Robotics OU is a very diverse group. It is a matter of pride for me to be part of the leadership team on this new project with so much attention. This experience demonstrates how much Medtronic values diversity and trusts people, especially our customers and colleagues as we designed Hugo — independent of their gender, race, ethnicity, or culture.
Being a woman in leadership means so many things. It’s an opportunity to push for change. I am from a Latin American country, which has a very male-dominant culture. Women have diﬀerent voices. In leadership roles, we are able to shape things diﬀerently. It is also a matter of being bold and courageous to be in an environment that is not typically led by women.
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Dr. Erik Wilson shares insight from his experience in performing over 4,000 cases of robotic general surgery since 2002 and the longest series of robotic gastric bypasses in the world.
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