AMANDA MIRANDA MEET THE INNOVATORS

A product engineer, returning to the workforce through Careers 2.0, finds her motivation and expertise enhanced by her personal understanding of the patient journey.

Experienced bioengineers take advantage of a Medtronic program that provides opportunities for women returning to the field. After six years away, one program participant re-enters the workforce with a new-found perspective.

WOMEN RETURNING TO INDUSTRY FIND OPPORTUNITIES AT MEDTRONIC

February 2018 - As Amanda Miranda takes on another product design project, she reflects on how she got here.

“I wasn’t sure it was possible,” she recalls. “I took six years off, but I knew I had the skills.”

Five months in to her role at Medtronic, she’s thankful.

“I feel at home here,” she says. “I am working on products that will make a difference.”

FROM LOSS TO ADVOCATE

From early on, Amanda knew how she was wired.

“I loved math and science,” she says. “And I like finding solutions for things."

After college, those interests helped to launch a career as a biomedical engineer. She was working on quality assurance, product development, and process improvement.

But — for many women — pursuing a full-time career can be a tough choice. Research suggests close to 25 percent of women in engineering careers leave the industry by age 30, citing work culture or family commitments.1

“It’s hard to balance career and family. They don’t always go hand in hand.”

Amanda decided to put her career on hold to start a family. She and her husband were overjoyed by the birth of their beautiful baby boy. Johnathon, however, was born with congenital heart failure.

He underwent open-heart surgery as an infant and spent most of his time in the hospital. He was a bright and active boy, but Johnathon passed away shortly before his fifth birthday.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever go through. It’s very painful,” Amanda says.

But spending years in the hospital interacting with doctors, nurses, and medical technology gave Amanda the inspiration she needed to make a difference for patients like Johnathon.

“I would look around the hospital and say, ‘someone needs to fix that,’” she says. “I was always an advocate for him, and I wasn’t going to stop.”

A SECOND CHANCE

Amanda came across a Medtronic program called Careers 2.0, a hiring initiative that provides opportunities for women in engineering to return to the industry after taking personal time away. The average program participant is returning to the field after five years off.

“When I read the job description, I was relieved,” she says. “You question whether someone will hire you with a gap in your resume.”

The program provides a paid internship — or “return-ship” — for a six-month period with the intent of the role becoming a full-time position.

In the summer of 2017, Amanda was hired at Medtronic. Today, she provides product design expertise at one of the company’s most advanced R&D facilities in Tempe, Arizona.

“This program really does reiterate our commitment to women in engineering and diverse talent,” says Carol Malnati, a 29-year Medtronic engineer and leader of women in engineering programs at the company.

While Medtronic ranks above the national average (about 7 percent turnover in 2017), Malnati believes the Careers 2.0 program will help retain even more women employed in engineering roles.

The company’s effort to provide diverse teams may impact its ability to innovate, too. New research suggests that companies with more women were more likely to introduce new innovations into the market. 2

“We want talented women in the field to feel as though they’re still valued,” she says. “We are committed to finding top talent and sometimes those people have a time gap. To us, it doesn’t matter.”

MY SON IS “TOP OF MIND”

Those who hired and work alongside Amanda know the value she brings to their work.

“She’s working on product development and she’s immersed herself into the Mission of our company,” says Anna Malin, an engineering manager in Tempe. “She feels strongly about what we do here and she’s part of the team.”

In her new position at Medtronic, Amanda believes she brings more to the table than a love for math and science.

“I can see things from a patient’s perspective and I better understand what doctors and nurses are going through. I can empathize with family members and caretakers, because that’s what we went through.”

And her son is never far from her thoughts.

“There are other kids fighting against heart failure,” she says. “I want to create devices that will help them someday.”


1

“Why So Few? Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics" (The American Association of University of Women) http://www.aauw.org/research/why-so-few/ (2010)

2

”Why Diverse Teams are Smarter” (Harvard Business Review)  https://hbr.org/2016/11/why-diverse-teams-are-smarter?referral=03758&cm_vc=rr_item_page.top_right