Julie Reese moved from consulting to outside sales in 2003, joining Boston Scientific’s Neuromodulation business. Taking such a large career jump made Reese comfortable with the unknown and having skill gaps, something she believes is useful to any leader. And she’s surely right: now an area vice president and manager of a team of people she respects and admires.
Reese shared how she overcame the challenge of changing fields and gave us her best tips for first time managers. Then, she spoke about the importance of finding happiness in your role (hint: it produces better work).
Fairygodboss of the Week: Julie Reese
Area Vice President, US Pain Business - Sales at Boston Scientific
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get where you are now?
I started my career at Boston Scientific in 2003 as a clinical specialist with its Neuromodulation business. Prior to working at Boston Scientific, I’d been in consulting, but I knew I wanted to get into medical devices. At the time, the organization had just expanded to 80 representatives in my space. Now, it has over 500 representatives in the field.
I understood early on that I needed to prove myself in my role. And because of my performance, I was tapped to move up many times over the course of my career. A few years ago, I stepped away from Boston Scientific for 1.5 years to support the Endovascular business at Johnson & Johnson, but I found my way back.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
Moving from pharmaceuticals and becoming a clinical specialist with Boston Scientific was pivotal to my career. It was a big shift to move into an outside sales role. My first few wins — physician support for my product and the beginnings of revenue generation — were affirmations that I knew how to adapt to a sales role.
I took a risk making this career jump, largely because there is not a cookie cutter way to sell or get into sales. You can make it your own and learn the style that is suitable to your customers.
What is a challenge that you’ve faced and overcome?
Multiple times in my career, I’ve been moved into new roles where I didn’t have deep expertise in all aspects of the role. I needed to be very comfortable with ambiguity and not always having the answer.
One of the largest skills gaps I had to overcome was experience being a formal manager. I needed to have the confidence to reach out and leverage the strengths of people I admired and respected. The biggest jump for me was when I moved from the territory manager to the regional business manager role. I needed awareness of my limitations, and to be willing to reach out to others in that role. My biggest advice: you don’t need to know it all; you can lead and learn as you go.
What is the #1 career tip you’d like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Make sure you know yourself first – how you are wired and what your strengths are, as well as the value that you bring. Put yourself in positions where you truly have a desire to do your work and to be successful. Not every opportunity you are offered is going to be the best fit; your heart may not be in it. You do not have to say “yes” to everything.
Why do you love where you work?
The culture, first and foremost. While Boston Scientific has a traditional organizational structure, I feel employees are equally respected and communication is welcomed no matter what level one sits at. As a woman, I feel that I’ve been supported by the company both through personal and professional opportunities and challenges, which has enabled me to achieve my goals. I stand on my own, and my work speaks for itself.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss and why?
Several men and women have been advocates for me throughout my career. I have felt support and confidence through opportunities I’ve been offered from many direct and indirect senior leaders, both within Boston Scientific and prior companies.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I have three young kids, so family is first and foremost. I do everything to be present with them. We’re a boating and waterskiing family, so lake life is a reality and something that we treasure.
If you could have dinner with one famous person – dead or alive – who would it be?
Matt Damon. I admire his realism. Also, dinner with Nelson Mandela would be interesting; what he did as a leader is inspirational.
Lightning Round: What is your theme/karaoke song?
Anything Lionel Richie.
Lightning Round: What is your shopping vice?
Scarves, I travel a lot and always have them with me. They are so versatile.
Lightning Round: What would you buy if you won the lottery?
A boat, a big yacht and to live on the water all the time.
Fairygodboss is proud to partner with Boston Scientific.