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 December #WomenInSpine feature, Kara, Sr. Associate Product Manager in Surgical Intelligence.
What woman inspires you and why?
After reading this question, I initially googled female role models to pick someone relatable who has played an inspirational role for me throughout my career. However, in all honesty, there isn’t one “google-able” woman who I feel connected with enough to put as my pseudo female role model. Instead, when I ask myself who inspires me the most, I end up thinking of multiple different women who I interact with personally that showcase inspiring traits daily. Whether it be in my professional or personal life, I see different traits in different women that I admire and want to emulate to put in my own “toolbox of traits”. Working with inspiring women is contagious and it is the continuous interactions with powerful women who have made me who I am today.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I believe that there is a subtle gender bias in most companies that hinders talented women from being promoted into leadership roles. Although often unconsciously, people tend to see men as leaders because they look and behave like the current leader, and the traits typically assigned to women don’t match that profile. Additionally, people gravitate toward those like themselves which leads men to advocate for other men. The best thing we can do to solve this problem is to learn to recognize gender biases and put the steps in place to change it. Only once you are aware of the problem, you see the opportunities to change it.
What advice would you give to other female professionals in Marketing?
Understand that as a female in this industry, we are a minority and there will be natural gender biases working against you.
Do your best to learn these biases so you can take action when you see them, or in some cases, even use them to your advantage.
Do not feel victimized by them. They are embedded in both women and men, and many times are unintentional. Instead, feel empowered to make a difference when an opportunity arises, and never let them hinder your self-confidence.
How do you think the female perspective benefits our company mission of changing patient lives?
No matter how hard we try to equalize, men and women are indeed fundamentally different. This means that women will have different perspectives than men. If we don’t have strong female representation in our company, then we are lacking half of the world’s perspective, which means half of our patient’s perspective as well.
By including as many different perspectives as possible, we build in the natural checks and balances that we need to create the best products in the world.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
As more women join the spine industry, the candidate pool of fierce competition is growing!
To read other #WomenInSpine features from last month, click here to browse our ‘Culture’ section.