Christine leads the Technology Strategy for Confluent Medical Technologies. She also manages the Nitinol Product Development, Technical Services, and Engineering teams, focusing on Materials and Components development. With over 25 years of experience with product development, optimization of the corrosion behavior, and biocompatibility of Nitinol, Christine is recognized by the industry and by the FDA as an expert in the field of surface engineering and corrosion of Nitinol. Christine joined NDC/Johnson & Johnson in 1997 and has held various positions over the years from process engineer to Director of Product Development to most recently, Senior Vice President of our Fremont site where she was responsible for Operations and Development. Christine holds a BS in Materials Engineering and an MS in Biomedical Engineering from École Polytechnique of Montreal.
What first drew you to medtech? When did you first know you wanted to be in this industry?
Several aspects of medtech drew me to this discipline. First, the ability to use engineering concepts and creativity to develop medical devices and improve, save lives and have a positive impact on people’s health was a primary driver. Second, the broad range of disciplines from sales, R&D, design, testing, product development, regulatory and operations provides great opportunities for learning and growth. Finally, the broad range of products & applications, from neurovascular devices to sport medicine applications, metals, polymers and biomedical textiles, again provides opportunity for learning and growth.
What are some of the barriers women face in today’s medtech industry?
I believe some of the challenges women face in today’s industry is limiting our own growth, not having enough confidence in our potential and feeling like we do not belong or deserve a certain role or promotion. We need to push past these feelings and get more comfortable taking calculated risks. As leaders, our responsibility is to support and encourage women to challenge themselves as well as sometimes push them to develop new skills and confidence.
In your opinion, what more can be done to promote greater participation of young women in the medtech industry today.
Providing more visibility into the variety of roles offered in medtech and opportunities women can contribute to is key. Having mentors, both men and women, that can help support and inspire young women to enter the field would also be greatly beneficial.
Why is it important for companies to be more inclusive and have more women in charge?
Team diversity is a key factor in having a stronger and more well-rounded team. Having more women in lead roles fosters more creative solutions and discussions based on the diversity of background and personalities and lead to better outcomes in the end. I’ve also observed that more women in leading roles also serves as a catalyst to attract more women and more diverse talent in general.
What projects, past or present, have made you love what you do?
Projects that are technically challenging and require teamwork and innovation to get to a resolution make me passionate about what I do. In addition, projects that have enabled me and our team to teach or learn something new are also why I love what I do.
What projects are you most looking forward to?
I look forward to projects that will challenge and enable me to teach and mentor the next generation. I am particularly interested in the areas of mentoring women in technical leadership roles.
Describe your biggest leadership challenge. How did you conquer it or resolve it, or what was the outcome.
Although leading a team through a pandemic is definitely one of the biggest challenges I’ve been faced with, I will add that building teams and creating a healthy team culture and sustaining it has also been a big challenge I’ve faced as well. Clear vision of the team culture, (over) communication of expectations, consistency in providing/receiving feedback and demanding accountability as well as modeling the expected behaviors helped me build teams and create/sustain good team culture.
Talk about your leadership skills. What is the most important lesson you have learned that has guided you in your career.
My leadership skills are based on continuously working on improving my emotional intelligence as I work with others and lead teams. Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills are some of the key skills I continue to refine and grow to improve my leadership. I am a strong believer in direct and honest constructive feedback (both giving and receiving), challenging my team as well as listening to them, and requiring them to challenge and listen to each other. I am very decisive but also willing to change path when receiving feedback. Mutual respect of others is a key value for leading people and is what I expect of myself and my team. Finally, providing an environment for healthy and constructive feedback/critique is also something that is key part of my leadership.