I am proud to serve as the Executive Sponsor for the global Medtronic Women’s Network (MWN). As sponsor, I have the opportunity to work with and get to know strong women leaders like Sheri Henck — Vice President of Global Supply Chain and Distribution at Medtronic. In the Q&A below, Sheri — part of the leadership of MWN — shares her recent experience at our inaugural Medtronic Women’s Network key talent and leadership dinner, which I hosted in my home.
What was the purpose of the key talent and leadership dinner?
The dinner brought together nine of the most talented Medtronic women leaders from across the company — women who are heavily engaged in MWN goals — to talk about what we need to do to take Medtronic to the next level. Hooman was kind enough to invite us into his beautiful home, and it definitely allowed for a more candid discussion.
What was the focus of the discussion?
We focused on how we are moving the needle with women in leadership across Medtronic. We have an aspirational goal to ensure that women comprise more than 40% of leadership positions by 2020. We also had very spirited discussions around how MWN is rallying the entire company to focus on the recruitment, development and advancement of women in leadership positions.
Can you talk about some of the initiatives that are “moving the needle”?
We’re tackling some of the leadership roles with higher gender disparities — R&D for example. We’ve created programs like Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), which is already seeing results: female representation in R&D has gone up 9% in the last two years!
Where does Medtronic stand to date?
We’re currently at 36.3% of women in management positions and projected to reach 44.5% by 2020 — surpassing our goal! We’re also incredibly proud of the fact that MWN is the largest Medtronic employee network with more than 12,000 members worldwide across 104 hubs and 60 countries.
How can we ensure Medtronic continues to increase the number of women leaders?
Engaging our middle managers is key to our success and MWN is focusing on this population of leaders to embrace diversity and engagement. As we push to move the needle towards meeting our targets, we discussed engaging middle management — making our internal opportunities more transparent.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle?
Ensuring that hiring slates are truly diverse — everywhere, all the time! We need to have candid dialogue with hiring managers when we see it not happening. We want to cast a wide enough net to ensure every role around the globe is hiring the best possible candidates. I truly believe that this group of talented women will make it happen!