Medtronic has been awarded the 2020 Catalyst Award in recognition of its Medtronic Women's Network (MWN) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) initiatives, which the company says are key drivers of its overall inclusion and diversity strategy. Medtronic is the only medical device company selected to win the award this year.
The MWN was refocused by Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak in 2013 with the idea that diverse perspectives and people produce better decisions, better outcomes, and better business performance. The MWN has more than 15,000 members in 68 countries who gain leadership and functional experience to advance their careers. They are empowered to drive holistic change, and MWN strategies are directly linked to company and performance metrics, success measures, and advancement opportunities.
Medtronic’s WISE program focuses on advancing women in R&D and STEM roles. The comprehensive program seeks to build an inclusive work environment for women in science and engineering through outreach, recruiting, talent development, and cultural awareness programs. WISE teams are currently active in 70 Medtronic sites across the United States, Canada, China, Europe, India, Israel, and Japan.
“We are known for innovation, and we need women in the mix,” said Carol Malnati, VP of R&D for the cardiac rhythm and heart failure division, which is part of the cardiac and vascular group at Medtronic. “Attracting and developing women, including female engineers, is a core strategy.”
As a result of these global initiatives, from 2015 – 2019 Medtronic saw an increase in women leaders from 32% to 38%. In addition, women VP roles increased from 24% to 30%; women at the director level increased from 30% to 36%; and women in R&D increased from 24% to 29%. Today, 40% of Medtronic therapy revenue is led by women.
“To us, this is more than hitting a number,” Ishrak said. “This is about creating a more inclusive culture that values all dimensions of diversity – because a more diverse culture fosters a more innovative culture, and innovation fuels our company growth.”
This isn't the first time Medtronic has been recognized for its diversity and inclusion efforts. In 2018, Medtronic ranked third on Thomson Reuters' Diversity and Inclusion (D&L) Index, jumping ten spots from number 13, which it held the previous two years.
In the medical device industry, gender diversity has long been an issue. As MD+DI has previously reported, the share of women in executive leadership positions in medtech lags behind other industries.