As Vice President of Quality for Phillips-Medisize, a Molex company, Cheryl oversees the 900-person global quality organization, which spans the Pharma, Med-Tech, Regulated Commercial Products and Commercial business sectors.
Cheryl has over 25 years of Medical Device and Pharmaceutical experience and has been with Phillips-Medisize since 1999 in various roles, from Quality Manager to her current position. She has a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University and a master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University in Management. Cheryl has experience in ISO 9000, 13485, cFDA, MHRA, MHLW, FDA QSR and FDA 210/211. Prior to joining the company, she was a Quality Manager and Validation Manager for PCI in Rockford, Illinois.
What first drew you to MedTech? When did you first know you wanted to be in the industry?
I have always gravitated to healthcare, starting with my early college choice to study Biology, Chemistry and Psychology with a path into healthcare. My original plans were to work in laboratory research sciences; however, my career path took me into management within the industry with the devoted support of my mentors.
What projects, past or present, have made you love what you do?
Early in my career, I had an opportunity to stretch my skills in a project that required the establishment of an analytical and a microbial lab to support contract manufacturing quality and validation organizations. I thrive on seeing an idea come to life. Now working for a CMO, daily I can collaborate with diverse teams to bring a product to a patient from concept to market.
What are some of the barriers women face in today’s MedTech industry?
Women are still the minority in executive leadership within our industry, with less than 25% in 2021. We need to continue to understand the barriers and work-life balance needs as well as improve development programs to encourage young women to seek advancement, allowing them to contribute their full value and embrace the challenge.
Talk about your leadership skills. What is the most important lesson you have learned that has guided you in your career?
Always be flexible, keep an open mind to changes. The cliché “the only thing constant is change” is true in our industry. Technology and learning to move quickly, and that we must adapt our skills to match the people we manage. I strive to lead by example, to always be inclusive and seek the team’s input. Collaboration and diversity are what makes a company successful.
In your opinion, what more can be done to promote the greater participation of young women in the MedTech industry today?
There are great organizations that support young women in STEM and in our industry. Working within our organizations to ensure that young women have strong mentors that create an environment where they feel encouraged and supported as they navigate their careers. Mentors come from all areas of the business and do not need to just be women but advocates of young women and career growth. Get involved and allow young women to see you as a positive role model.
Why is it important for companies to be more inclusive and have more women in charge?
Diversity is the key to any successful organization. People bring differing perspectives, not inclusive of gender, to every opportunity. All people should feel included.