Sep 18, 2023

Rising together for Hispanic Heritage Month

Medtronic employees share their stories

During Hispanic Heritage Month — and all year long — we come together to foster belonging among Hispanic/Latino and allied employees. This year, we are observing our Hispanic Latino Network theme “Rising Together: Resilience and Strength in Hispanic Heritage” to highlight the resilience, determination, and strength of Hispanic cultures and individuals.

Here are a few of their stories.

Chris Sookdeo, Regional Manager, Gastrointestinal and Chair of Hispanic Latino Network (HLN) hub focused on field and sales employees
Houston, Texas

adding value

Chris Sookdeo fell in love with sales selling knives door to door when he was just 17 years old.

As a first-generation American born in the Bronx, he said growing up both Black and Hispanic could be difficult.

“People want to box you in,” he said.

But his parents – a teacher and a public library employee – taught him to dream big and work hard.

“What I grew up on was to put in the work,” he said. “If you out-work everyone, maybe, just maybe you’ll have a shot to make a name for yourself.”

That philosophy helped him land the leadership role he’s worked toward since starting his career selling ultrasound equipment right out of college.

And now, he’s turning his energy to helping other Hispanic and Latino employees at Medtronic advance their careers.

“Seventy percent of promotions are obtained through exposure,” Sookdeo said, citing a statistic he learned in leadership training. “The key is to open the door for potential leaders to have exposure and a chance to hone their skills.”

And that’s exactly what he gets to do as chair of the Hispanic Latino Network (HLN) hub focused on field and sales employees.

“My goal is to make people around me better and try to push people to realize their potential,” he said. “In doing that you leave a legacy behind.”

Iyola Jimenez Gonzalez, IT Director; Lead for HLN’s Latinas in Leadership mentoring program
Puerto Rico

adding value

Iyola Jimenez Gonzalez worked at Medtronic for over a decade when the Mission became personal. Her mother received a neurostimulator to help her manage years of chronic pain. The surgically implanted device provides relief by disrupting the pain signals traveling between the spinal cord and the brain.

“It made a difference in the last few years of her life,” Gonzalez said. “That motivates me every day and to be the best I can for my job and the patients.”

She’s also passionate about mentoring. In her 16 years at Medtronic, Gonzalez has worked in engineering, operations, product transfer, and more.

“In each of my career stages, I have always incorporated mentoring, whether it’s being a mentee or mentor for the future generation,” she said.

Now, she’s the mentoring program lead for Latinas in Leadership for the Medtronic Hispanic Latino Network where she gets to bring something she knows to life: The possibilities for Latina women are endless.

“Our backgrounds and our cultures are an asset,” she said. “When we believe that we don't have limits, then we won’t have limits.”

Read more about our year-round ID&E actions and impact in the Global Inclusion, Diversity & Equity 2022 Annual Report.


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