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Women in Healthcare

How Medtech Is Disrupting the Norm From the Top Down

Scott Whitaker

CEO, AdvaMed

Jennifer Brearey

Executive Director, The Women’s Executive Network & Chief Financial Officer, AdvaMed

Medtech leaders must be as diverse as the patients they serveThis concept has been a central catalyst as the medtech industry works to drive cultural change that will attract and retain top diverse talent.

Supporting women in medtech

The journey began in 2015 when the industry launched the Women’s Executive Network to educate and elevate women industry leaders. Through meetups, conferences, seminars, and more, we’ve created a powerful, diverse network. But we’ve found that uniting women leaders will not, on its own, create the inclusive spaces necessary to support and promote those women leaders nor cultivate new ones.

To figure out what will support, promote, and expand diverse leadership, medtech industry advocates have collaborated to map out what “ideal” looks like in the context of inclusion and diversity. We’ve contemplated how organizations mature along the continuum of inclusion and diversity standards to become industry models.

The path to inclusion

We’ve found that before companies can successfully integrate inclusion and diversity into their business practices, they must first integrate inclusion and diversity into their leadership vision. Holistic change will happen from the top down.

  • Leaders of any gender must understand their own biases, practice conscious inclusion in the face of those biases, and raise an authentic voice for sponsoring change.
  • Leaders must make inclusion and diversity a priority, and they must be willing to have the often difficult conversations that will result in a viable strategic plan.
  • Leaders must invest in the tools they need to help drive the changes that they’ve recognized need to happen.

Early progress

While we’re early on in our initiatives, our energies are already paying dividends. At the 2019 Medtech Conference, the industry honored its first woman Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. We talked about inclusion and diversity on our conference’s largest stage, and we made gender diversity a priority for our speaker selection criteria. As a result, 96 percent of our 128 panels included women. Overall, we estimate that 40 percent of the 3,300 executives in attendance were women — a 33 percent increase over last year. And our medtech leaders are already building upon that success for the future.

We all want a healthier, happier, and more productive future. That future starts with innovation, and innovation starts with inclusion and diversity. With that understanding, we can unlock the full power and potential of our industry to save and improve patients’ lives.

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