May 9, 2019 -- Not many people can say that they've had an 850-pound piano fall on them and lived to tell the tale.
That's why Medtronic employee Meredith Koch isn't afraid to joke about the 2015 accident that shattered her first lumbar vertebrae, fractured her sternum, and left her partially paralyzed.
"You cannot live this sort of life without a good sense of humor — especially when you get paralyzed by a piano," said Meredith. "There's just a generic discomfort around people who have disabilities or people who are different or have special needs. And by bringing humor and a smile to it, and just an openness, we can start to break down those walls and get people more comfortable with interacting with us."
Recently shared at a Medtronic event coordinated by the company’s Awareness Benefitting Leadership and Employees about Disabilities (ABLED) employee resource group, Meredith’s story is one of hundreds around Medtronic that represent the company’s commitment to supporting the diversity of its workforce. Announced this week, Medtronic is being recognized for that commitment on the Diversity Inc 2019 Top 50 list.
When we bring diversity of thought to our work it makes a difference in our capabilities, our thinking, and ultimately the success of our company.Omar Ishrak Medtronic Chairman and CEO
“When we bring diversity of thought to our work it makes a difference in our capabilities, our thinking, and ultimately the success of our company,” says Chairman and CEO Omar Ishrak. “We have set aggressive goals at all levels of the company to better reflect the global population both in gender and diverse ethnic representation. We do this because we know greater diversity will benefit our business, our customers and our entire team, which helps us on our journey to improve outcomes for patients."
Medtronic jumped from #47 to #35 on this year’s list. Leaders credit the improved ranking to the work done by employees at all levels of the organization. “Creating an inclusive work environment where our employees can thrive is not just a commitment senior leaders make,” explains Sophia Khan, Senior Director, Global Inclusion, Diversity and Engagement. “It’s something that is inherent in the Medtronic Mission, and a responsibility each and every one of us works to fulfill.”
Case in point, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have been part of the company’s culture for more than 30 years, helping foster an inclusive culture across the business by uniting employees around common interests. In 2019, more than 18,000 employees participated in more than 12 ERGs across more than 60 countries.
In addition to the ABLED ERG, Medtronic provides groups for retirees, religious faiths, young professionals, LGBTQ, women, veterans, and more, which strengthen ties between employees of many different backgrounds, cultures and interests.
For its annual list, DiversityInc. looks at companies based on information in four key areas: Talent Pipeline, Talent Development, Leadership Accountability, and Supplier Diversity.
“Our commitment to global inclusion and diversity reflects our fundamental belief that diverse people and perspectives result in better decisions and outcomes,” says Carol Surface, Chief Human Resources Officer. “This focus is consistent with the fifth tenet of the Medtronic Mission – to recognize the personal worth of all employees. We are honored to be recognized by DiversityInc for such an important part of our company culture.”
Medtronic first made the DiversityInc Top 50 in 2012. For the full 2019 list, click here.