Aditi has over 12 years of experience in the Adhesives and Healthcare Industry, starting her career at Henkel with increased responsibilities to Global Product Manager, followed by different roles in Strategic Marketing and Global Product Management.
Being born in India and immigrating to the US at a young age, education was of utmost importance, and after her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from NC State, Aditi worked full time while pursuing her M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Connecticut and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from Duke University.
Since Joining FLEXcon, Aditi is responsible for leading the development of a Growth Strategy for FLEXcon within the Healthcare market. She works closely with Product Management, Sales, R&D and Marketing Communications to position FLEXcon for the future.
What first drew you to medtech? When did you first know you wanted to be in the industry?
I knew I wanted to be in medtech in college when I discovered the major of biomedical engineering. Fusing together math, engineering, biology, and material science really intrigued me… though it was not easy. NC State placed an emphasis on problem-solving design, seeking out current problems in healthcare, and finding the true pain points to solve for. I love this concept, and the process, which is how I really knew that this was the right industry for me.
What projects, past or present, have made you love what you do?
I am passionate about problem-solving design, no matter if it’s in blood pressure devices or endoscopy. I love understanding the pain points, the “why” and then blending the technical needs with the business goals to deliver innovative solutions.
What projects are you most looking forward to?
FLEXcon is an amazing company that has really emphasized growing the product lines in a strategic manner. We have two product lines in the skin friendly adhesive and bio-signaling area that allow me to reconnect with my biomaterials background. I am very excited to see how FLEXcon can provide innovative smart materials to the medical device players in the wearables and diagnostic/therapeutic areas.
In your opinion, what more can be done to promote the greater participation of young women in the medtech industry today?
Recruiting and networking! It’s important for companies and universities to highlight the possibilities of a career in medtech and to provide career roadmaps and ladders forward.
Where a person starts is not where they will end. There is no straight line in one’s career, so it’s also important to highlight capabilities in various possible roles and departments to help women get a better vision of their own path forward.
Why is it important for companies to be more inclusive and have more women in charge?
I truly believe that diversity only makes for better products, experiences, and outcomes. Different walks of life and views allow us to think outside the box and create more innovative products and solutions. It’s important to be more inclusive because ultimately all our customers are diverse – we don’t sell to one type of customer so why would we only have one type of employee? The bottom line is diversity and inclusivity only help the bottom line.
What are some of the barriers women face in today’s medtech industry?
Two barriers facing women in the medtech industry are entry and advancement.
Biomedical engineering set me up for a great pathway into medtech (not that it’s the only way to get into this field); however, I do think a strong STEM background will help move a person into the industry more easily. Often, women steer away from a STEM background because there is a perception in the U.S. that women must excel to be successful. This translates into a belief among some women that they must be outstanding in each branch of STEM to succeed in the program. That is not true. For example, I would say I am only average at math, but I had the tenacity to push through to get the solid overall background offered by the program. The reality is, very few students are going to be in the top 10% for all four branches – male or female. Everyone is stronger in some areas than others. Don’t fear the challenge. Pushing through and completing the program will improve the chances for success in the future.
It’s also important to have conversations with industry peers and executives. Networking events such as conferences as well as participation in social networking groups can do a lot to promote knowledge and skills. Speaking engagements and editorial opportunities can also demonstrate expertise and can lead to new opportunities for advancement.
Finally, I think women must be their own cheerleaders for advancement. They must get comfortable asking for what they want and, more importantly, explaining why they deserve it. Tracking accomplishments using KPI’s and showing the data speaks to their impact and supports the case for career advancement. Finding bosses and mentors who will provide guidance and advocacy will also help ensure advancement.
Describe your biggest leadership challenge. How did you conquer it or resolve it, or what was the outcome?
In every company I have worked, the biggest leadership challenge has been handling the dynamic between the drive for an organization to commercialize products quickly and the need to create innovative, safe products in a quality-controlled way. Whether it is developing a new ambulatory blood pressure device or a single use bronchoscope, research and discovery can only go so fast. Time must be allowed for failure in order to find the proper solution. Multiple iterations are often required. Setting expectations on timelines, project costs, and the needed buffer for setbacks (which only help with key learnings) are critical. It is essential to effectively communicate these factors to leadership and keep them abreast of any unforeseen challenges so that everyone is on the same page in terms of anticipated launch dates.
What is the most important lesson you have learned that has guided you in your career?
Bring everyone into the fold and take them on the journey with you. No matter what you are doing, it never works in silos. Collaboration will always lead to a better product/offering/outcome and having discussions which diverge is okay! Share use cases, let everyone observe the problems that you are trying to solve firsthand, and leave an open dialogue for questions. It is good to question so long as we can converge and move forward. Having every department and member invested in the same product/goal not only creates a momentum for success, but can even allow for fun on the journey.