This past March, we celebrated International Women’s Day by dedicating a special series for some of our female leaders at NuVasive. What is International Women’s Day (IWD)? It is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women all over. In addition, IWD marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Internationally, purple is a color for symbolizing women, signifying justice and dignity. At NuVasive, our mission is to paint the world purple and continue to change as many patient lives as possible. Pairing the two purples together, we hope NUVA can help drive the movement to increase unity, advocacy, and action in our society.
Featuring our July #WomenInSpine feature, Brooke, Sr. Associate Product Manager of TL Anterior Marketing.
What woman inspires you and why?
My mother inspires me! She successfully took a dying business, spent 10 years of grueling hard work building it up, sold it for a healthy profit, and then moved onto a career in education. After she had my brother and me, she would work all day in a rambunctious classroom of elementary school children, come home, make sure my brother and I were well taken care of, and then go to night school to get her master’s degree. My mom has truly taught me the meaning of hard work and resilience. She taught me to be strong, independent, and never to shy away from a challenge.
What advice would you give to other female professionals in Product Marketing?
Honestly, the same advice I would give to my male colleagues—communicate succinctly and often to your internal and surgeon teams, be diligent and organized with your projects, and always recognize the work of the cross functional teams. As Product Managers, we are often the face of the product, but so much crucial work is done by the groups we work with: engineering, quality, supply chain, research and testing, regulatory, packaging, marketing communications, the list could go on and on.
Understanding that this work is truly a team effort is a humbling revelation and one that keeps me grounded.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I’ve seen this begin to gradually shift, but there are not a lot of women working in either spine surgery as physicians, or within organizations like NuVasive that seek to innovate and improve spine surgery. In my mind, positions of leadership should be held by individuals who are best suited for the position and will lead with integrity, purpose, and passion. Whether that is a male or female is really trivial at that point. However, women have been fighting prejudices and stereotypes since entering the workforce making it more and more difficult to attain positions of leadership. From being denied entrance to universities because of gender, to systematically getting a lower title, lower paying jobs is the common result. It’s been an uphill battle and I am proud of the women who have paved the way before me, fighting for equality in both opportunity and compensation.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
Just as my journey has been less challenging than that of the strong women before me, I hope that I am able to pave a way for future female professionals just as drastically. The challenges will likely be the same as they are today—opportunity, recognition, and equal compensation, but I pray the severity in which these are experienced is significantly reduced and someday soon, nonexistent.
When you diversify your leadership, whether it be culturally or through different levels of experience or gender, you deviate from the mundane and open the door to ingenuity.
How do you think the female perspective benefits our company mission of changing patient lives?
A group of similar minded leaders can quickly lead to a cycle of groupthink. Nothing kills progress faster. If there is anything I have learned about working for this incredible organization, it’s that to survive, and more importantly THRIVE in this market, we MUST innovate and push the barriers beyond conventional thinking.
To read other #WomenInSpine features from last month, click here to browse our ‘Culture’ section.