Work hard, speak up, back yourself says Medtronics Bronwyn

Work hard, speak up, back yourself says Medtronic's Bronwyn

 May 01, 2019

Medtronic is a prime employer working hard to ensure women have the opportunity to thrive in senior leadership roles.

According to Catalyst Findings on Women in Leadership, women account for less than a quarter (24%) of senior roles globally. Medtronic is taking action to change this statistic by fostering a strong culture of inclusion and accountability; setting aggressive, measurable goals and implementing policies and programs that accelerate progress.

Since joining Medtronic in 2011 as Chairman and CEO, Omar Ishrak has emphasized the need for more women in senior leadership roles. He has made inclusion and diversity a strategic priority, frequently emphasizing the role it plays in fostering innovation and the company’s ability to better serve patients.

Omar committed Medtronic and its employees to accelerate change and gender equality in the workplace by formally joining the Catalyst CEO Champions for Change Initiative. This pledge — to work toward closing the gap on gender equality in the workplace — not only sets the standard for the type of company Medtronic strives to be, but also empowers people managers at all levels to contribute to that change.

Work hard, speak up and be your own advocate

Medtronic Bronywyn Brophy woman leader

One of the women thriving in a leadership role at Medtronic is Vice President and General Manager of Medtronic Gynecologic Health, Bronwyn Brophy.

Bronwyn was recognized three years in a row as one of Ireland’s Most Powerful Women and has been inducted into the Women’s Executive Network Hall of Fame.

Bronwyn speaks candidly about her career path. “Growing up, the motto in my house was always ‘you’re as good as everyone else, but no better.’ Throughout my career, I’ve applied that thinking to how I approach my work and how I manage and mentor others. I tell rising female leaders, ‘You have to back yourself, you have to have the swagger and the belief in your own ability. Work hard, speak up, and be your own advocate.’”

However, Bronwyn points out that there is still significant progress to be made in the journey toward gender equality in the workplace. “The glass ceiling has certainly diminished since I started my career,” she says. “But not as much as I had hoped. There is still much that remains to be done.”

Inclusion must come first for diversity to thrive

For diversity to thrive, Medtronic leaders believe that building an inclusive culture must come first.

The foundation for that culture began in 1960, when Co-Founder Earl Bakken penned the Medtronic Mission. Knowing early on how important diverse perspectives are to business, Earl dedicated a section of the Mission to employees — specifically to recognize the dignity and the personal worth of employees.

Medtronic women - Earl Bakken

Carol Surface, Chief Human Resources Officer at Medronic, says: “Our work to create a powerfully inclusive and diverse workplace is essential to our purpose, and Earl was absolutely visionary in this respect.”

At the end of 2018, women held 37% of the management level or above positions globally at Medtronic. Medtronic is working toward having at least 40% female leadership in manager and above roles by 2020.

Reducing bias and creating workplace balance

Medtronic has developed programs to ensure diverse hiring slates and interview panels. More recently, the company hired nearly 16,000 new employees of which 54% were women.

Creating balance in senior-level roles requires intentional tools and investments in internal growth opportunities for women and facilitating a fair promotion process. Medtronic provides a variety of development programs for people managers, including unconscious bias training.

Seeking input from women has also helped shape recent family-friendly policies like the Medtronic Family Care Leave for U.S. employees. Combined with already existing parental benefits, new parents can now receive additional weeks of paid time off. Employees can also take time away to care for an ill family member, or if a spouse is deployed to active duty.

“We are committed to providing all employees flexibility to manage their career through different life stages,” says Carol. “Our job is to ensure women are not walking away and leaving the workforce because they can’t find advancement opportunities or balance.”

Communities open career doors

One of the biggest drivers of inclusion, and perhaps the strongest resource for women at Medtronic, is the Medtronic Women’s Network (MWN). As the largest employee resource group (ERG) within Medtronic, the global network comprises 14,000 women and men at 105 locations across 60 countries and offers professional development, networking, and mentoring programs that empower women to progress.

Medtronic also offers a group for global senior women leaders called Commit to Connect to ensure female leaders at the level of vice president and above have a strong support system.

“I’ve had some incredible women mentors at Medtronic,” says Bronwyn. “But I’m delighted to say I have also had some really great male leaders who have supported me, backed me, and championed my cause as I’ve built my career.”

Join prime employer for women, Medtronic

Committed to building a sustainable system that fosters inclusion and diversity, Medtronic continues its work to achieve true gender equality across all areas of the business. To join a company which truly values women, search and apply for roles without delay.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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