Sep 16, 2021

Removing Barriers and Supporting Communities: Medtronic Recognized for its Inclusion of a Growing Population

With more than 61 million Hispanic and Latinos in the U.S. – and growing – Medtronic remains committed to zero barriers to opportunity and a culture where all employees belong. And that work is earning recognition by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility

Adriana Davies believes there’s a part of her that’s still missing.

“It’s like a void in you,” she admits.

Twenty-three years ago, Adriana came to the United States as an immigrant. Leaving Colombia, also meant leaving family, culture, traditions, and her community.

“There’s that piece of home that you don’t have with you any longer,” she says. “I often miss a connection with people that look like me, think like me, and express themselves like me.”

That longing drove her to become part of the Hispanic Latino Network (HLN) at Medtronic. The organization is more like a “work family” where individuals — and 4100+ members from across the U.S. and Latin America — communicate, support, learn, and develop professionally both individually and as a community.

And it’s here where Adriana, now a Senior Director of Ethics and Compliance at Medtronic, found a new sense of belonging.

“Early in my career, this group helped me navigate my self-doubt,” she said. “They helped me find my place and step out as a leader.”  

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A Meaningful Recognition

Stories like Adriana’s are common at Medtronic and others are taking notice. To better serve the increasing number of customers and patients of Hispanic descent, Medtronic recognizes it must both be intentional in its efforts to foster belonging for Hispanic and Latino employees as well as play a role in addressing systemic inequities in communities.

In September, the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) recognized Medtronic as a company advancing the inclusion of Hispanics in Corporate America. Each year, HACR releases their Corporate Inclusion Index (CII), which benchmarks the status of Hispanic diversity among the biggest corporations in the world.

In this year’s HACR CII report, Medtronic received three 5-star recognitions with top scores in philanthropy, procurement, and governance.

“On behalf of HACR’s board of directors, we congratulate Medtronic for keeping Hispanic inclusion top of mind,” said Cid Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of HACR. “By investing in Hispanic representation, businesses like Medtronic are cultivating a dynamic corporate culture that better serves consumers and employees and provides a competitive edge.”

It’s the kind of recognition that’s meaningful to a company committed to inclusion, diversity, and equity.

“Our commitment to this work at Medtronic means zero barriers to opportunity and a future where all employees belong, are respected, and feel valued for who they are and for the life experiences that they contribute,” says Dr. Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer at Medtronic. “We can achieve even more impact improving health in global communities through the power of our diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment.”

Engaging inside and out

Recognizing that barriers continue to exist for certain populations, Medtronic is using the entirety of who they are – their partnerships, their influence, and their employees – to advance equity outside of the company.

One example is the award-winning Supplier Diversity program, designed to increase supply chain diversity and innovation through partnerships with small, minority-owned businesses in the U.S. Some of the largest suppliers are Hispanic-owned businesses.

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“Supplier diversity is an extension of our values,” says Aron Khoury, Supplier Outreach Program Director at Medtronic. “And we want to maximize these relationships even further.”

That’s why the Supplier Diversity team and the HLN partnered to find new ways to scale existing relationships with Hispanic-owned suppliers.

“We want to identify businesses doing great work and grow our spend with them,” says Khoury. “We are introducing new parts of our business to these suppliers and tapping into new opportunities to grow our relationship with them.”

The Supplier Diversity program at Medtronic is a win-win. Medtronic gains a competitive edge by leveraging the innovation and flexibility of a high-quality, diverse supply base. In turn, the program benefits the surrounding area where these suppliers are – improving the economic health of the local community including underserved areas. 

“When we work with diverse businesses, economic impact ripples through whole communities,” said John Klein, Chief Procurement Officer at Medtronic. “It’s more than a financial contract. It represents new jobs, new opportunities, and new skills that impact the root causes of systemic inequities.”

A Philanthropic Commitment to Communities

With a growing number of Hispanic and Latin American people living in the United States, opportunities to reach out to these communities are everywhere.

The Medtronic Foundation is focused on looking for ways to improve health conditions in underserved populations and support communities where Medtronic employees live and give.

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The company is making it easier than ever for employees to volunteer in their community and give to charities they feel connected to. This effort was recognized by HACR  when they looked at the company’s overall philanthropy. Through engagement with employees and the HLN, the Foundation is identifying non-profit organizations like the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, and others that are doing work at the local and national level, providing them with grants to continue making a difference. In partnership with the HLN they are elevating the visibility of these partnerships, educating, and encouraging employees to join in support through volunteering and match giving.

“We have a responsibility to be a leader on global issues impacting access to healthcare and supporting local organizations working hard in our communities,” said Paurvi Bhatt, President of the Medtronic Foundation. “We also recognize that during these challenging times, the needs are great and varied which is why we offer gift matching and volunteer opportunities.”

A place to call home

Medtronic – and the HLN— have an unwavering mindset.

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“As a company, we want to be an amplifier of Hispanic and Latino voices,” says Denise Baek, Co-Chair of the Hispanic Latino Network at Medtronic.

The network— along with 20 local hubs across the U.S. and Latin America — are redoubling their efforts to recruit, retain, and develop Hispanic and Latino talent within Medtronic. Programs are offered to develop sales leaders, offer pathways to management positions, and advance women in leadership.

“We want leaders within the company showing others what’s possible,” says Denise.

In 2020, Noel Colón became Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at Medtronic. He oversees all global quality operations and is a member of the Executive Committee. He is from Puerto Rico.

“When he was named to that position, I cried,” recalls Adriana. “It showed us that the company trusts the skills we bring to the table. He didn’t have to change anything about his Hispanic heritage to become a senior leader.”

Currently, Noel serves as a member of the Medtronic HLN leadership team.

“That representation is important,” says Denise. “We offer a home for those with Hispanic and Latino descent, and we want to use our collective power to add value to our business and our community.”

Denise says she’s proud of the HACR recognition and calls it “incredibly meaningful.” And for Adriana, being honored in this way is a signal that they’re on the right track.

“Today, there is a willingness throughout the company to be leaders in this area. And we’re doing it. We have a great foundation and truly have a deep commitment to support one another.” 

Putting Purpose into Action
View 2020 Integrated Performance Report