In addition to the obvious health and financial impacts of COVID-19, we are beginning to see the overall impact it has had on the progress being made for gender equality in the workforce. COVID has disproportionally impacted women in the workforce. According to McKinsey & Company, women’s jobs are 1.8X more vulnerable to the COVID pandemic compared to mens1. Much of this can be attributed to the increased burden of unpaid care, which is unequally shouldered by women. Even though women make up only 39% of global employment, they have accounted for 54% of overall job losses1. Studies show that the financial consequences for companies that lose women leaders can be significant – in fact, company profits and share performance can be close to 50% higher when women are well represented at the top2.
Throughout the pandemic, while many companies were making cuts, Mindray North America was able to grow its workforce by 9%, hiring and employing powerful women at all levels of the organization. And we couldn’t be more grateful to have so many incredible women on our team!
Recently, our Marketing team members Courtney Gotelli, Devon Pfeil, and Aleah Schweizer conducted a virtual round table with six of Mindray’s powerhouse female leaders to learn more about them and their goals, highlight their accomplishments, and hear about everything it has taken to get them where they are today. In this interview, you’ll get insights from:
- Krista Acosta, Senior Applications Manager of Radiology,
- Che Lewis, Senior Human Resources Business Partner,
- Patrice Martinez, Senior Regulatory Affairs Engineer,
- Tami Moscoso, Senior Applications Manager Point of Care Ultrasound,
- Sara Pauley, Senior Sales Executive for Radiology & Vascular Ultrasound,
- Michelle Thompson, Senior Director, Human Resources
Now let’s kick this off!
Who inspires you and why?
Patrice: Anyone who overcomes adversity is an inspiration to me. Whether it’s financial adversity or something personal, tragic, or just working in a global pandemic. Finding the courage to continue to thrive and to move on – that I’ll call inspiring. All our team members are inspiring, specifically our team in the field and all the people that are on the frontline. I have so much respect and admiration for all of you and for all that you do. The fact that our business is still able to function and we’re thriving, that’s because of all the people in the field. It’s very inspiring.
Michelle: I second that, Patrice. People who inspire me are people who can keep moving forward despite the challenges they’ve faced. For the first time in probably years, I saw The Miracle Worker. If I had to come up with somebody, I would say, Helen Keller. Just looking at what she’s accomplished in her life, there’s so much hardship there, and she persevered. It’s quite an amazing story. I forgot all the other things that she was involved in, women’s suffrage movement, NAACP. She did it all with so much stacked up against her. Somebody who could move forward during hard times is inspirational to me.
Tami: I have two daughters who are in post-graduate college right now, and they inspire me because they’re trying to get advanced education through a pandemic. My eldest one is completing her Ph.D., and my second daughter is in her second year of veterinary medicine. They’re also multi-cultural, they’re German and Filipino, so they’ve got the woman part down, but also the cultural aspect where sometimes they run into stopgaps because of how they look, which perplexes me. They say that I inspire them by being strong and moving forward and showing them that they can do anything they set their minds to. I think we inspire each other. It’s pretty cool; I like that.
Che: I am highly inspired by people that are positive. I know some people that always see the glass as half-full. I’ve seen them in situations where it’s hard to believe that they would think there was anything in the glass. It just helps you redirect your thoughts and put things into perspective in a totally different way when you’re around people like that.
I have two daughters who are in post-graduate college right now, and they inspire me because they’re trying to get advanced education through a pandemic.”
– Tami Moscoso, Senior Applications Manager, Point of Care Ultrasound
What is your favorite hobby or book?
Krista: My hobby is cooking. I love to cook for my family, for my friends, for anyone. I feel cooking helps me express myself the most. Anyone that knows me and comes to my home knows that I’m the first one in the kitchen making meals, prepping, feeding everyone. I think that comes, honestly, from my heritage. Being Hungarian and that type of heritage, you always were fed first thing when you went to your family’s house. I think a lot of that was just instilled in me. I love to cook and try to make new dishes – I’m trying to perfect pickling right now!
Sara: Nature’s beauty inspires me. I enjoy anything outside, health or wellness related. I have always enjoyed cooking/grilling and trying new healthy recipes. A dinner outside with friends and family is a perfect way to spend an evening. All these things are a part of who I am, and are constantly evolving.
Michelle: I like to spend my downtime reading; it’s one of the ways I relax. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always been an avid reader. I don’t think I could pick out a favorite book, but I’m rereading The Stand right now – it’s probably one of my favorites. I’m a Stephen King fan, and I kind of like the horror genre. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, it’s a somewhat timely subject. More than that though, it’s a story with strong characters, with everybody coming together during a time of insurmountable hardships and working together to make something better of society. They are given a chance to start over. In some ways, it’s a mirror for what’s going on today.
Che: I enjoy putting together entertainment opportunities for people. I get a charge out of watching other people have a good time. I am always trying to think of something or find something that I can embellish for people to enjoy. It’s important to me that people have enjoyment in their life and that when they’re at an event, it makes them pause for a second and have a good, warm feeling about it. I’m always looking for something where employees can be engaged, entertained, and influenced!
When you face challenges as a leader, what encourages you?
Tami: Reaching out to other leaders, looking for resources, and trying to get other ideas. Sometimes we can get into a rut with the same thing over and over again, so reaching out to other leaders to advise on some of the situations you deal with can be instrumental.
Krista: When you face challenges, it’s important to remember that you set the example for your team. They’re going to view your behavior as the standard and mirror it. I have to accept that challenge and align with other leaders within the company on how best to overcome it. Build the team and get it done. When you face new challenges today, tomorrow or three months from now, it will be that sense of teamwork and accomplishment that builds the moment to overcome them. There’s never a challenge you will face that we can’t overcome. It’s just a matter of knowing you can depend on your people and that your people depend on you. You make a difference.
“When you face challenges, it’s important to remember that you set the example for your team. They’re going to view your behavior as the standard and mirror it. I have to accept that challenge and align with other leaders within the company on how best to overcome it.”
– Krista Acosta, Senior Applications Manager, Radiology Ultrasound
Patrice: Building off that, just knowing that potentially you can help someone. That’s very motivating that you could potentially learn something that you could apply to your personal life. Just the fact that you’re faced with a challenge and the outcome could mean the world to someone if you help them, that’s very motivating, in addition to having the support system and the encouragement from your team.
Sara: Knowing that growth will result from adversity constantly motivates and encourages me. I am a naturally positive person with a belief that you can grow from challenges. Practically speaking, when I’m faced with a difficult time I always try to pause for a moment, take a step back, and make sure all views are considered. I aim to look at the challenge from a different perspective, reach out to someone I respect, and bounce ideas off them. It helps you through your challenges, but also fosters trust for the next time they’re stuck or going through a hard time.
As a woman in business, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
“When we’ve got these challenges, we have to deal with them head-on because, otherwise, you’re just going to have a tough rock that’s never going to be able to move. Whatever the circumstance is, there’s going to be a better side of it for everybody that’s involved, whether it’s you, the employee, the company, the department, whatever the case may be.”
– Che Lewis, Senior Human Resources Business Partner
Krista: For me, it’s always been the work-life balance and wanting to advance my education while having enough time to manage through everything at work and have time with the family. The hardest part has always been not wanting to miss that part of my life, but also wanting to be seen in the work environment as a person who wants to advance, that is a hard worker, and those types of things.
Che: Particularly in HR, it’s needing to have those difficult conversations that are not necessarily going to make somebody feel warm and fuzzy. We need to realize that some of those conversations, as uncomfortable as they may be, could be the catalyst for changing somebody’s life in a positive direction; you may not even realize how it’s going to impact them. The primary thing is to face your challenges and be truthful about whatever the circumstance or situation is and know that whatever you’re doing is the right thing to do, and it could possibly lead somebody in the direction of a life path that they either needed to be on or weren’t even aware was a possibility for them. When we’ve got these challenges, we have to deal with them head-on because, otherwise, you’re just going to have a tough rock that’s never going to be able to move. Whatever the circumstance is, there’s going to be a better side of it for everybody that’s involved, whether it’s you, the employee, the company, the department, whatever the case may be. Those are challenges that sometimes, we want to toss out that stuff and say, “I don’t want to deal with this,” but we have to.
Patrice: For me, I found that when compared to my male colleagues, I’m held to a different standard as a woman in business. It’s been my personal experience that men get hired and promoted based on their potential. In contrast, women have to demonstrate what they have already accomplished to get promoted or hired. It’s something that I’ve been exposed to and experienced, even going back to college and studying chemical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). I was oftentimes the only woman in my classes; sometimes I was the only Black person, sometimes I was both. Of course, that’s changed now, but it followed me into the corporate world. Just continuing to develop and grow professionally, show up early, stay late, going above and beyond- I have to work twice as hard to be considered half as capable. I know that. My parents instilled that in me at an early age. That’s just how things were for them, and they didn’t want me to be discouraged. They didn’t want their fears to become my future, so I take every class I can, stay up to date, and try to get as much information as possible about regulatory affairs. Just perseverance, that’s how I combat bias and unconscious bias. I still find it challenging, but I’m getting better at it, better at adapting to it, and better at overcoming it.
“I was oftentimes the only woman in my classes; sometimes I was the only Black person, sometimes I was both. Of course, that’s changed now, but it followed me into the corporate world. Just continuing to develop and grow professionally, show up early, stay late, going above and beyond- I have to work twice as hard to be considered half as capable. I know that.”
– Patrice Martinez, Senior Regulatory Affairs Engineer
Michelle: I would agree with Patrice, for sure. I think women in the workplace may struggle between being seen first as a leader or professional before they’re seen as “the woman at the table, or the woman in the group.” As an HR professional, I feel it’s part of my job to point it out if I think it’s happening and say, “Would you respond this way if this question were being posed by a man, or would you look at this scenario differently if the genders were reversed?” Sometimes people will take a step back, reflect, and realize that yes, maybe they would interpret something differently strictly because of the gender. That’s always something that I think companies have to be aware of and educate their employees on since it continues to be a struggle for women.
Patrice: Yes. When I’m going to meetings sometimes, I would purposely not bring a notepad because I’m automatically the notetaker. Why am I taking notes?
Michelle: Right. It shouldn’t be assumed that you are the minute taker.
Tami: Thinking about what everybody said, I think the one thing that came to mind and I think has been talked about is the gender bias, and unfortunately, that’s still very prevalent. I just saw on social media yesterday that a female now has a lead role within the Medical Institution for Emergency Medicine. It took 2,021 years for that to happen. I think it is getting better. Sometimes sitting in meetings or at corporate dinners, there are only two women in the room. But I think it’s getting better slowly.
Sara: For me, and I think for most people, barriers are always there, but I work hard not to see them as impediments – I see road bumps as a part of life. Of course, there are barriers and biases that cannot be overcome with a mindset, but in my case, perseverance has been engrained, probably from my father who’s a West Point grad. He taught me perseverance, accountability, mental toughness, and the importance of your mindset. I have been fortunate to not experience significant barriers in my professional career due to gender; however, as a woman in a male dominated field, I have always felt I had to work extra hard to prove myself.
What advice would you give the next generation of leaders?
Krista: I want the next generation to remember that nothing comes easy – everybody has to pay their dues. What I’m seeing, even from having children from a few different generations, is that sometimes they feel like they don’t have to put in the work and go through all the challenges that it takes to become an inspirational leader. To become a leader, you have to understand what your team is going through. You want to be able to have said that you’ve walked in their shoes. You can’t just come in and lead somebody without understanding the scope of their role and responsibilities. You’ve got to spend time laying the foundation for your career; there are no substitutes for hard work and there are no shortcuts for lived experiences. You have to put in the effort to be an amazing leader.
Michelle: Lead by example. Keeping open lines of communication with your colleagues and your reports is always important. I think so much gets distorted or lost because of too little or poor communication. We’re such social creatures. You have to interact with your team and with your group on a regular basis. If you plan to be a leader, that’s always going to be part of it – interacting with them and having that open-door policy with them at all times.
“Lead by example. Keeping open lines of communication with your colleagues and your reports is always important. I think so much gets distorted or lost because of too little or poor communication. We’re such social creatures. You have to interact with your team and with your group on a regular basis. If you plan to be a leader, that’s always going to be part of it – interacting with them and having that open-door policy with them at all times.”
– Michelle Thompson, Senior Director Human Resources
Patrice: I agree with you, Michelle. I would add to that, protect your integrity, your credibility. Those things will help you build trust with the people that you intend to lead. If they don’t trust you, then they won’t follow you. Integrity and honesty are the things that a leader needs to motivate and encourage people to put their best feet forward: leading by example, communication, integrity and reliability, honesty.
Che: I would agree with that. I think the character qualities are extremely important, but I also think you need to be approachable. If people don’t feel like they can approach you, you’re not going to have anybody following you. You can drive people, or you can lead people. Either way, you’ll get the same results, but at the end of it, you’ll have a more palatable experience. Everybody will be more involved in the goals or the demands that you’re working with, and they’ll be more willing to participate and contribute to them. If people know that they can approach you with the good, the bad, and the ugly, and that you’re going to be congenial with them regardless of the situation, then you’ll have an opportunity to build your own self-esteem and build the right people around you.
“I would always encourage the next generation to look very carefully at a company’s culture. You can learn so much. You want to be appreciated, rewarded, and supported throughout your career. You want to make sure you have the right fit so that you are able to grow and reach your potential.”
– Sara Pauley, Senior Sales Executive for Radiology and Vascular Ultrasound
Tami: The best advice I ever received after I became a manager was to always hire up. You want to hire people that have more qualifications that you desire or qualities that you would like to have because it’s only going to elevate yourself and the team, but then in the meantime, you can encourage them with what you have to offer them.
Sara: I believe that many of the old school values such as hard work, respect for individuals and institutions, creating, and maintaining trust, will be as important in the future as they are today. Building genuine and long-term relationships is a skill that the next generation may need to focus on given the emphasis on social media. I also believe that in the future, the need to maintain an authentic personal brand will take on greater importance. Additionally, I would always encourage the next generation to look very carefully at a company’s culture. You can learn so much. You want to be appreciated, rewarded, and supported throughout your career. You want to make sure you have the right fit so that you are able to grow and reach your potential.
This interview has been condensed to fit this blog.