Heather - Director, Strategic Sourcing Business - Spine


Director, Strategic Sourcing
Memphis, TN

Describe a typical day in your position.

In my current role, I don't experience too many typical days. As with many positions at Medtronic, my days are partially filled with meetings. These range from new product launch team meetings, where I am an attendee, to contract negotiation meetings with suppliers. In addition to being a member of multiple cross-functional sustaining and growth teams, I lead several projects that are interdisciplinary. My days are consumed with opportunities to develop sourcing strategies to align business needs with supply base capabilities; integrating, evaluating and managing acquisition and distribution opportunities; and working with my direct team on process improvements to enhance our organizational efficiency.

Why do you enjoy working at Medtronic?

Over the past 13+ years, Medtronic has presented me with numerous opportunities that have continued to challenge me in a way that has been motivating and extremely rewarding. Six years at Medtronic Neurosurgery in Goleta, CA afforded me an opportunity to move back to the community where I was born and raised. At Neurosurgery I had roles in Manufacturing Engineering, Product Development and Global Product Management. These experiences allowed me to develop, manufacture and launch products where I was able to train surgeons around the globe on the benefits those products. The opportunity to see the impact of the products I'd developed and launched was unbelievable.

What do you love about your job?

Webster's dictionary defines "job" as an "activity that somebody does regularly for pay." I've never felt like I had a "job" at Medtronic. Yes, I earn a salary for the activities I perform for Medtronic, but my career more closely matches the definition of passion: "a strong liking or enthusiasm for a subject or activity." This enthusiasm comes from knowing that when I started at Medtronic we were enhancing a life every six seconds; now it is every three. It manifests in the strangers I meet in airports whose loved ones have Medtronic products implanted or wear them to live full lives. It comes from knowing that the technology I've worked hard to develop, the products I've marketed and the suppliers I select and develop contribute to the extension of lives. These products are of the highest quality because they come from Medtronic. I am grateful for the salary I earn for the job I perform, but the passion I have for the products we deliver to patients is what I love.

What do you appreciate most about Medtronic?

I appreciate the opportunities that have been presented to me at Medtronic and those that await me as I continue my career. Technically, I have presented at the Science & Technology conference, had two patents issued and have three pending. I have provided manufacturing support and developed products that are being implanted today. I have travelled the world to educate and train sales representatives and customers on how to use our products. I've worked at two divisions and held five different positions during my tenure with the organization. Medtronic continues to present me with challenges to keep my passion alive.

What are your greatest accomplishments?

However great my professional career has been either before Medtronic or during my tenure here, my greatest accomplishment is my family. I became my nephews' permanent guardian in 2004. I have two wonderful sons and a very caring husband. The ability to pursue a career full time with a family isn't a trivial task. Watching these two boys grow into young men and being an active participant in their upbringing is something I cherish. Throwing a "Knights and Dragons" birthday party for my six year old, and playing catcher – albeit while terrified – for my eleven-year-old pitcher, and fixing fishing poles while camping are activities I make time to do and consider great accomplishments.

How do you give back?

Five years ago, I founded SWEnet (Society of Women Engineers) Spinal after attending a SWE recruiting event Nashville, TN. It is with the SWEnet organization that I give back to the future engineers and scientists in the mid-South. I speak when I can in local schools, host tours and internship opportunities at Medtronic and recruit whenever possible. In addition, I am a Consortium Board Member at the Center for STEM Education for Girls out of Harpeth Hall in Tennessee. The Center is committed to promoting best practices for STEM education for girls, hosting an annual conference to promote best practices, and developing a replicable summer STEM institute for girls in high school and in undergraduate STEM programs.

What is one random fact about you?

I make pretty amazing cake pops. Not only do they taste great, but they are decorated to match a theme: margaritas and chili peppers for Cinco de Mayo, bunny rabbits and chicks for Easter, pirates, hearts, and so on.