Photo courtesy of Jodi Euerle Eddy
Even though women and men are earning undergraduate STEM degrees in similar numbers today, career inequality within the STEM workforce persists. The rate at which women leave these fields peaks just 10 years into their careers, largely due to gendered factors like hostile work cultures, sexist promotion practices, and a lack of support for mothers, and historically few make it to C-suite positions before then.
Against odds like these, the prospect of carving out a career path that takes you to the top as a woman in STEM may seem daunting. Fortunately, some companies — like Boston Scientific — are determined to buck the status quo by giving talented women in STEM what they deserve: promotions.
Recently, the healthcare company — which was recognized by Forbes in 2018 as a Top Company for Executive Women — announced the appointment of Jodi Euerle Eddy, a senior vice president and chief information officer, to its Boston Scientific Executive Committee. Eddy, who has been with the company for four years, has over two decades of IT leadership experience. In her newest role at the company, she is shaping Boston Scientific’s advancements in multidisciplinary information technology, digital health and cybersecurity, and she recognizes how important it is to have women sitting in a similar space of thought leadership.
“As a leader, I recognize that diverse teams are the best-performing teams,” she said. “Diverse teams produce diversity of thought and diversity of perspective, which help solve challenges faster.”
For women interested in pursuing a similar IT leadership pedigree, Eddy recently shared some advice with Fairygodboss, including strategies for ensuring one’s ideas are heard.
“As a woman in STEM, there may be situations where you have to work a little harder or muster up more gut and speak up to have your ideas heard,” she said. “If you ever find yourself in a situation where someone may be questioning your credibility, one technique you can try is to flip the question around.”
Rather than coming from a place of defensiveness, Eddy recommends trying a different tactic in these situations.
“Instead of having to defend your opinion, turn it into a question,” she advised. “Ask, ‘Is there something you can teach me on this, or something you can share with me? Maybe there’s something I can learn from you.’ When you switch that situation around, you put that person in a teaching position, and then you have a chance to learn as well as to speak your opinion.”
Choosing to re-tool your perspective to see these moments as learning opportunities may not always feel like the most comfortable path, but Eddy stressed it’s a necessary one. It’s the choice to plunge ahead in challenging situations, in fact, that led her to becoming the leader she is today.
“If you want to learn and grow in your field, it’s always important to get out of your comfort zone. You might be doing a great job, but you’re really not pushing yourself to learn and grow there,” she said. “The magic happens when you’re outside of your comfort zone… think about all the great possibilities that may be ahead. When you can turn worry into wonder, that slight flip can make all difference.”
Of course, your mindset isn’t the only tool that will aid career advancement. Equally important is finding a company that will respect that mindset, something Eddy says she’s done by joining the team at Boston Scientific.
“It’s important to choose a platform and a company that supports diversity and that gives you what you need to be successful in your field,” Eddy said. “For folks who may be thinking about a career at Boston Scientific, what I would share with you is that this is an incredibly special culture. It’s very collaborative and we have flexible work options and lots of opportunity, with a great support system in place to help you advance in your career.”
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