INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY CITIZENSHIP
Championing women in the workplace
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Championing women in the workplace
Equity is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. It’s why we work hard to forge a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace where women can thrive. On International Women’s Day, Medtronic is celebrating the thousands of female employees who, together with our therapies, help us improve the lives of more than two people every second.
To hear some of the voices of women who help strengthen our innovative and inclusive culture, contribute to communities around the world, and make Medtronic a global leader in the medical technology, please click on the photos below.
Global Products Manager, United States
Once again, I am the only woman at the table.
The PhD scientist at the podium. The R&D manager at a start-up. The clinical voice during product development. The valued storyteller for the business. The strategy lead in the boardroom.
Thankfully, I am welcomed to the table — but I know my mother was not.
I have the shoulders of other women leaders to stand on, I live in an era where diversity is valued, my advocacy has been met with open arms.
So, I see it as my responsibility to continue the momentum in changing perception by showing up, presenting high quality work, making them ask for more, and continuing to step up. To take advantage of safe places to bring awareness to unconscious biases by repeating what was said and simply raising an eyebrow or displaying a gentle smile to highlight the lack of perspective. To recognize that nobody has ill intent and to appreciate my colleagues. To be authentic, respectful, gracious, yet courageous. To recognize and celebrate other women in their success.
I may be the only woman at the table today — but not for long.
Marketing Manager (Minimally Invasive Surgery, Surgical Innovations), Dubai
My mom was a fighter.
When she was pregnant with me, she discovered she had rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Her doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy, but she fought to keep me despite the risk to her life.
Six years later, she had open heart surgery.
Complications required doctors to operate on her lungs. The recovery was grueling. Still, she never gave up. In 2006, my mom faced her biggest battle yet: lung cancer.
While my mom’s fight came to a tragic end, mine is just beginning. Since joining the Medtronic Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, I have worked to raise awareness about keyhole surgery. Had this minimally invasive surgery been around when my mom was alive, I might still have her with me.
Growing up in India, I saw firsthand how untreated strep throat can lead to RHD. With more awareness and access to basic healthcare, the outcome might have been different for my mom and thousands like her. It hurts to know that people die every day because simple solutions aren’t implemented in underdeveloped countries. But I’ve turned this pain into a passion for improving global health and empowering women, both through the Medtronic Women’s Network and the Lean In Circles I started in Minnesota and Dubai. Inspired by a 2013 bestselling book, Lean In Circles offer professional women a chance to come together in small groups to talk about their careers.
While Medtronic has given me a platform, my mom is still my inspiration.
Because of her, my fight continues.
Systems Engineer, United States
My husband and I recently welcomed our first child, and after 12 weeks of maternity leave, I returned to work. Prior to motherhood, I was never one to ask for help. I was the one who didn’t have time for self-wallowing or tears. I was always in control and always prepared. Others came to me for advice.
We prepared for the birth of our son by taking prenatal classes, learning how to use cloth diapers, and attending several baby expos and workshops. We also read stories about the challenges new mothers faced balancing motherhood, married life, career, and self-care.
As far as I was concerned, I was ready.
Upon returning to work, it didn’t take long for reality to set in. Pumping breast milk every three hours and suffering nightly sleep disruptions took a physical and mental toll. I constantly worried that my coworkers would question my commitment on projects. “Mom guilt” consumed me.
Through all this, I struggled to ask for help. I was sure I could do this on my own. But I was wrong.
Since asking for help, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from friends, family, and coworkers. I’ve discovered there is power in vulnerability and humility. It’s the power to grant yourself grace in this season of life, the power to grant others a chance to comfort and encourage you, and the power to let life compel you to relinquish control and trust the process.
Vice President (Coronary), China
When I was promoted to business manager of the China Coronary Team in 2016, I was excited to reach such an important career milestone. However, I started to notice that I often was the only female leader in meetings. That was about the time I started to ask myself what I could do to help women at Medtronic advance their careers.
Then, a great opportunity came along. At the end of 2017, I was invited to lead the Medtronic Women’s Network of Greater China. I was so excited when we had our first signature event — a leadership summit held on March 8, 2018, which was Chinese Women’s Day. We then created a program called “MedTalk,” where we invited female managers to share their personal stories. We also launched a national road show of women leadership events at Medtronic offices across China. Everywhere we went, we saw so many talented women leaders who were eager to participate. As one MedTalk speaker put it: “I used to be afraid to step up and speak out, but now I am not.”
Already, our region exceeds Medtronic Chairman and CEO Omar Ishrak’s goal of having women occupy 40% of all leadership positions. This is a significant accomplishment. But for me, the biggest reward is helping so many talented leaders through my role with the Women’s Network. Every day, I am inspired by each of them.
While our journey is long, we are well on our way.
Marketing Communications & Conventions Director, Switzerland
My story is about how Medtronic demonstrated its commitment to women leadership and gender equity to me in a personal way.
Today, I lead the Europe, Middle East, and Africa Region’s Marketing Communications team and have done so since the birth of my daughter, Audrey Grace. When the role opened up, I had been working at Medtronic for four years. Quite simply, it was a dream job.
However, when I was offered the role, I had just learned that I was two months pregnant — a pregnancy that was nothing short of a miracle due to medical complications.
Here I was, a dream job within reach, and a baby on the way. I was happy but still felt that my pregnancy would force me to decline this new leadership role.
I explained that I would love to take the position but that I was pregnant. I will never forget the answer: “Wonderful. Congratulations. This is really great news.” And after a moment, “So are you accepting the job?” It made me realize that Medtronic wanted me for the role because of my skills and capabilities. I started a couple of months after my maternity leave.
Today, I also lead the EMEA hub of the Medtronic Women’s Network, working with fabulous people across the company and beyond to ensure that Audrey Grace grows up in an environment where she never has to make professional choices based on the fact that she is a woman.
Research & Development Engineer, China
I joined Medtronic in 2007 as a medical device toxicologist in the Surgical Technologies business in Jacksonville, Florida. Five years later, I decided to pursue an opportunity in Shanghai, China, where Medtronic had opened an R&D center. Playing a critical role in such an important market for the company was a huge responsibility, but one I was ready to assume.
Today, the Medtronic Technology Center in China has approximately 300 members, 19 labs, and the capability of end-to-end product development. It has launched more than 25 products in the past 7 years and is considered a major part of the company’s innovation pipeline. I currently lead the Research, Technology, and Clinical group. We are a team of scientists and engineers who work closely with product development groups to provide technical solutions.
I am happy to say that I am one of many female scientists and engineers who work at the Medtronic Technology Center, where over 40% of employees and 47% of managers are women. This is no accident. It’s a reflection of the vital roles we play in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math functions within the medical technology industry.
I feel empowered working at Medtronic because it provides an inclusive environment for both men and women. Building such an environment brings us one step closer to true gender equality.
Senior Business Unit Manager (Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure), Chile
I was working as a sales representative for a prestigious pharmaceutical company in Uruguay when I got a call that would change my life. Or rather, I got paged. Remember pagers?
At the time, I was only 23 and had been enjoying a much deserved vacation. Nevertheless, I was told to come into the office immediately. Fortunately, there was good news. I had been promoted and given five direct reports.
Even though I had earned the promotion, I could tell that some of my colleagues were skeptical because of my age. In fact, my boss looked at me somberly and said, “You will have to convince me this was a good decision.”
The following years were tough. I had much to prove to my boss and my team. But five years later, we tripled the size of the business, got close to 90% market share, and launched six brands and dozens of training programs. I eventually left that company to pursue other career opportunities in Latin America before joining Medtronic in 2017.
Today, my former boss is one of my mentors. So is the human resources manager who believed in me when others had doubts.
I share my experience with younger colleagues in hopes that it might help them someday. As the leader of the Medtronic Women’s Network in Chile, I am particularly interested in helping my female coworkers succeed.
Years ago, I was challenged to prove that I could be a successful leader. Today, my husband and I challenge our children to listen, learn, and find their own mentors. I am so grateful for my mentors and the role they played in making me the leader I am.
Business Development & Strategy Manager, Australia
I took some time off work recently to arrange a very special journey — a trip to India to introduce my 2-year-old daughter to my grandmother. A woman of extraordinary strength, my Nan raised my mother and my aunt by herself. She did this in a society where, at the time, not having a man around was considered a curse. Her resolve to educate her daughters, encourage them to explore the world, and maintain her own independence has been a source of incredible motivation for me, and I hope, for my daughter.
Now, as chair of the Medtronic Women’s Network’s Australia Chapter, I am more passionate than ever to continue to build on the previous generation’s push for equality. By showcasing women who have pushed the boundaries (like my Nan) and provided women with the tools and the platform they need to shine, we can commit to building a world where women and men are considered equal. Every little bit, in every which way, counts.
I’m trying to convince my husband that one day soon, it will be normal for a man to take his wife’s surname, or for kids to take their mother’s surname. Let’s live in world where our choices are not judged but accepted and celebrated. We all have a role to play in achieving gender equality.
Biomedical Product Engineer, United States
As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I wanted to share my story about how the loss of my son gave me the strength to pursue my dream of helping others.
My son, Jonathan, was born with a congenital heart defect called hyperplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Shortly after he was born, I had to leave my job to take care of him. Over the next four and a half years, through all the hospital stays, surgeries, and doctor visits, I never really quit being an engineer; my mind still geared toward problem-solving. But there was one problem I couldn’t solve — time was running out for Jonathan.
On December 20, 2015, he passed away while waiting for a heart and lung transplant.
After the loss of my son, I wasn’t sure how to move forward and how to honor his memory. But 18 months later, I was given a special opportunity to be a part of the Careers 2.0 program which helped me get my engineering groove back. One person in particular took the time to really understand why I wanted to return to the engineering world — Senior Principal Product Engineer Juan Caballero. With Juan’s help, I increased my confidence and became a productive team member of the Medtronic Sourcing Organization. This mentee/mentor relationship has helped me broaden my horizons as an engineer, and, in turn, honor Jonathan’s memory.
Strategic Business Development Manager, Netherlands
Shortly after I joined Medtronic in 2009, I learned how employees can have a profound impact on the lives of patients.
At the time, I was a professional translator for the company. I was told there was a patient somewhere in the United States who needed an informed consent document translated into Spanish before undergoing an urgent medical procedure. I stayed late to make sure the Spanish text was ready. It was the first time I helped a patient as a Medtronic employee, but it wouldn’t be the last.
Fast forward several years when my mother was hospitalized in Spain. In the room next door was a British woman who barely spoke Spanish. Once again, I was presented with an opportunity to help a patient overcome a language barrier.
Knowing there were no interpreters on staff, my mother asked me to help the other patient and her family. I interpreted for her until she was calm and ready for her cancer treatment and all the required paperwork was signed.
That was a turning point for me. I realized the importance of communication, resilience, and empathy. And it helped me redefine what patient care can look like. At Medtronic, I’ve been given a platform to use my language skills to help patients. Here, I feel valued as an employee, as a leader, and as a woman.
I’m proud to work for a company where patients come first, and women play a vital role in delivering on that mission.
Principal Training Education Specialist (Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure), Argentina
I have been with Medtronic since 1997. I started as a receptionist when I was only 20 years old. It’s hard to believe that I have been with Medtronic for more than half of my life. Then again, this company feels like home.
Over the years, different positions have allowed me to learn about regulatory affairs, marketing, clinical studies, compliance, and many other areas. The knowledge I gained from these experiences prepared me for my current position within Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure’s Latin America Education Department.
Nothing, however, can adequately prepare you to learn that a loved one is seriously ill. But that’s what happened in 2017 when I discovered my mother needed a pacemaker. Doctors eventually implanted a Medtronic pacemaker, making her one of the millions of people who had their lives improved by one of our devices.
I am incredibly proud to work for a company that can have such a profound impact on global health. Likewise, I am incredibly proud to work for a company that supports women in the workforce.
Six years ago, I joined the Medtronic Women´s Network. At the time, the Argentina hub did not exist. Today, we have more than 100 members and have created several initiatives aimed at helping women develop their careers and become leaders within the company.
After two decades at Medtronic, I am still passionate about the work we do and look forward to the journey ahead.