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 posted 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 Denise Torres 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 Denise Torres
Denise Torres is the Plant Manager for Advant Medical Costa Rica. She has been a member of the Advant Team for almost 10 years and been involved in the Medtech industry for 30 years. Denise studied Economics at the Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala for 4 years. Denise joined Advant Medical as a Key Accounts Executive and in her time has held positions as Key Account Manager Americas and Business Development Manager Americas. Denise has been a key asset in our growth in Costa Rica. Denise has overseen the growth of our Costa Rican plant, established in 2018, and seen the creation of local jobs with 24 staff now employed in the facility. While fluent in English, her first language is Spanish, which means she can speak to our local Americas customers in their language, something we pride ourselves on. Her leadership in Costa Rica has been fundamental to the Advant Medical Group offering global production capabilities to our customers.
“The path is definitely not easy, but always believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you that you can’t”
Q.1 What first drew you to MedTech? When did you first know you wanted to be in the industry?
I didn’t set out to work in Medtech but the first few years in the industry filled me with special satisfaction. The relevance of the work we do and the industry’s contribution to people’s health was really important to me. That’s why I stayed and continue to love working in the Medtech industry.
Q.2 In your experience, what is it like for women working in MedTech now, versus 10 or 15 years ago?
Definitely the role of women in the industry has changed. 30 years ago, when I had my first approach to it, there were not so many women in leadership positions. Today, although there is still a long way to go, Advant Medical is an excellent example of how more and more women have excelled in important positions of management, innovation, etc.
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?
Being a woman in any workplace will always have its challenges because as a society we still have a long way to go on issues of gender equality. For me it is an honour to lead a team under these principles, always seeking equity and opening more and more opportunities for women to excel in a field that in the medical industry, as in other industries, is commonly led by men. 30 years ago I had my first approach with the medical industry, starting as a product builder, a position that to date fills me with pride. It´s a story that I share with our collaborators as a testimony that with dedication, responsibility and determination you can go very far and achieve many goals in life.
Q.4 Talk about your leadership skills. What is the most important lesson you have learned that has guided you in your career?
The core values of leading a team for me are equality and respect. In this team, we are all the same and that is our starting point to achieve our objectives. One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my time is adapting to change. Opening the Costa Rica plant was challenging, we have had ups and downs, and situations change from day to day. Being able to adapt myself, form and guide a team and make them feel comfortable with the changes has been very challenging but without a doubt, it has been part of our success as a team. The pandemic made us accelerate this adaptation, ensuring that all our procedures are complied with, despite the global situation and we continue to move forward.
Q.5 Describe your biggest leadership challenge. How did you conquer it or resolve it, and what was the outcome?
When we began the Advant Medical Costa Rica project we were 3 people, today we are 24 and we continue to grow. This has definitely been a challenge because due to the peculiarity of the plant being far from the headquarters, I have had to perform tasks in different departments and everything related to them. It has been the most challenging and at the same time the most satisfactory, to understand the operation from different points of views and thus be able to guide the team towards the business global vision of the Advant Group. This experience has allowed me to be able to train new team members, in different departments and achieve that, as a team, we comply with all the tasks that allow us to successfully meet the requirements of our customers.
Q.6 In your opinion, what more can be done to promote greater participation of young women in the MedTech industry?
I think that representation is extremely important especially for future generations. We cannot expect for the girls to be seen tomorrow in Science, Medicine and Technology careers if they are always represented by men. Having female representation does not only mean opening positions and taking into account the women of the company, but also seeing women in leadership positions, on boards of directors, as well as in communications. Which I can proudly say is currently the case in the Advant Medical Group. Opening the space to also visualize the achievements of women in this industry is of great value because unfortunately, the percentage of female representation is still very low.
Q.7 What career advice would you give to your younger self or to other women starting out their careers in the MedTech industry?
The path is definitely not easy, but always believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you that you can’t. If you have the privilege of having space at the table, make sure that another woman is included and as a team, open spaces for other women. Open the space where there is none, ask, talk, make yourself known and NEVER, remain silent in a meeting due to fear of what they will say of your opinion.
Q.8 In your opinion, do you feel that Advant Medical encourage and support women in the workplace?
Definitely yes, currently at Advant Medical, management positions are mostly led by women and we proudly have female representation on the board of directors as well. As in any industry and in the world in general, there is still a lot of work to be done on gender equality issues, but Advant Medical is undoubtedly an example of where the path is.
Enjoyed reading? Keep a copy
We hope you enjoyed our Q&A with Denise and found some insights from her interview. If you would like a PDF version to download you can do so here