Here at Advant Medical we are dedicated to gender equality. We know that gender equality should not just be viewed as a “women’s issue”. It is everyone’s battle, and it is critically important that men understand that this includes them. We want to take time to promote some of the women in leadership positions within our company as a visible role model to young women thinking of careers in the STEM industries. Every Wednesday this month we will be posting interviews from some of the women in senior positions in the Advant Medical Group to talk about their personal experience of working in the MedTech Industry.
We sat down with Ammie Flaherty to ask her what it is like being a woman in a leadership position in the Advant Medical Group and what advice she would give to young women thinking of working in the STEM industries.
Introducing Ammie Flaherty
Ammie Flaherty is the HR Manager at Advant Medical and has been a member of the Advant team for almost 10 years. Ammie has received an Ordinary Degree in Business and Marketing from GMIT, an Honours Degree in Business and Management from GMIT and completed her CIPD Certificate and Diploma at the National College of Ireland. Ammie has furthered her studies with a Diploma in Employment Law from Technological University Dublin, Health and Safety Representative and Employment Law qualifications from FETAC, and Annual Employment Law Update Courses from IBEC. Before joining the Advant team Ammie worked in the retail industry, at some of the largest retail outlets in Ireland. Ammie joined Advant as a HR and Training Co-Ordinator and in her time has also held the position of HR generalist. Ammie’s dedication and commitment to Advant has seen her thrive in the workplace environment. Her continued efforts to drive an open and inclusive work environment has been incredible and she has been responsible for the implementation of many successful projects. She is truly essential and an invaluable member of the Advant Team. Ammie is also a keen follower of the GAA and loves to travel.
“Being a good listener and earning the trust of the employee really matters”
Q.1 What first drew you to MedTech? When did you first know you wanted to be in the industry?
The MedTech industry is hugely successful in Ireland and Galway is the most important cluster in the country. When finishing my degree, I knew that if I wanted to progress my career as a HR professional, that the MedTech sector was the way forward. There is great opportunity to climb the corporate ladder in this industry, especially in the HR field.
Q.2 In your experience, what is it like for women working in MedTech now, versus 10 or 15 years ago?
From working in Advant, I have always found it a positive experience as our leadership team is predominantly female. I also know many females in the HR Profession that have all progressed their careers greatly in MedTech.
Q.3 You hold one of the top leadership positions at Advant Medical. How much does it help when women employees can see that there are already people like them holding top positions?
Advant have always been very supportive with further education for their employees. Progression within the company is one of our strongest points and something we should be very proud of. I would encourage employees to be open with their managers on their career path so that we can support them and guide them to reaching those top positions. In 2020, we had 30 internal promotions – 60% of those were female!
Q.4 Talk about your leadership skills. What is the most important lesson you have learned that has guided you in your career?
Communication skills are hugely important in my role – both oral and written. As we deal with employees daily, being a good listener and earning the trust of the employee really matters. This ties in with empathetic skills – I always like to ensure that I understand where the employee is coming from and advise as best I can. HR is a very busy department and covers a variety of functions which is why organisational skills are so important. It is crucial to be organised in order to work through the different processes daily. Always communicate well, at all levels of the corporation. This can lead to a very positive working environment.
Q.5 Describe your biggest leadership challenge. How did you conquer it or resolve it, and what was the outcome?
The constant changes in the world of HR can sometimes be a challenge. Therefore, we need to be proactively monitoring regulatory change and compliance requirements to ensure we are on top of it. Dealing with Covid-19 has also brought its own challenges such as managing a remote workforce and supporting employee well-being during difficult times. Managing your time and being organized helps make everything easier.
Q.6 In your opinion, what more can be done to promote greater participation of young women in the MedTech industry?
I think Flexible working arrangements and a good work/life balance is very important. Many women are the predominant carer for children as well as the elderly which can make it tricky to excel in the workplace. Although, they want to climb the corporate ladder and want to pursue top careers – they need to juggle time at home too. Incorporating flexible working arrangements will encourage women to participate in the MedTech Industry. I feel this will be one of the biggest changes we will see in the near future and a positive change at that.
Q.7 What career advice would you give to your younger self or to other women starting out their careers in the MedTech industry?
Commit to your career development and have a passion to learn. Be confident in yourself. Be patient and have a good relationship with employees and be approachable.
Q.8 In your opinion, do you feel that Advant Medical encourage and support women in the workplace?
Yes, Advant has always supported women in the workplace. Due to my role within the company, I have seen first-hand how supportive Advant has been, whether it be personal issues or work related. Since starting with the company, I’ve seen huge progress particularly with flexible working arrangements. This is giving women time to be both at home and in the workplace. Our senior leadership speaks for itself, with the majority being female – this is fantastic to see in any company!
Enjoyed reading? Keep a copy
We hope you enjoyed our Q&A with Ammie and found some insights from her interview. If you would like a PDF version to download you can do so here