Closing Out Women’s History Month: #Digit-ALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality

Sponsored by Henry Schein

Photo courtesy of Henry Schein, Inc.

Photo courtesy of Henry Schein, Inc.

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Fairygodboss
May 21, 2024 at 9:29AM UTC

“I immediately fell in love with technology,” said Pam Reece, Vice President of Strategic Accounts at Henry Schein One, a joint venture of Henry Schein, Inc. and Internet Brands that is the world’s largest dental software and services company. Reece recalls her first experiences in the technology field were during her undergraduate studies and then working for an airline within their technology division shortly after graduating.

Though she loved technology, the challenges of being a woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) was not lost on Reece, especially during the early years of her career. That’s why the theme of the United Nations 2023 International Women Day — “DigitALL:  Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality” — resonates with Reece while highlighting the need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education.

“I remember being the only woman in the room with customers and prospects evaluating changes in the technology space,” Reece recalls. “To provide input, I had to prove that I was competent and knowledgeable about the customers’ circumstances and needs. I made it a point to work extremely hard to ensure that I was on top of the details needed for all my meetings and sales opportunities. Over time, I developed a reputation for being prepared, was known for great follow-up and recognized for providing  added-value to the conversation.”

However, over the past 20 years, Reece notes that she has seen “a great deal of change” in the STEM field. “While there is still a gender bias in some pockets of the industry, women are really starting to correct the notion that STEM is a field dominated by men,” states Reece. “They are doing this by demonstrating their incredible skillsets, knowledge, and confidence every day.” 

At Henry Schein One, (Reece is a changemaker who is leading a new generation of women in STEM. Her passion drives her to constantly share what she’s learned in order to help uplift others. For instance, for women who are interested in joining the STEM field like she has, Reece has some top advice: “Take a deep breath and jump in now! Don’t hesitate — get started with something that excites you and try it out. There are so many wonderful avenues for careers in STEM, so do not limit yourself — explore until you find the right fit.

Here, Reece tells us more about the challenges and opportunities of the STEM field and how Henry Schein One has constantly supported her during her nearly twenty-year journey with the company!

What do you find are the most rewarding and challenging aspects about being in STEM?

The most rewarding aspect of this space is the speed of change. There are so many cool and exciting solutions and developments that are analogous to being a kid in a candy store. With so many new advancements to consider, we’re allowed to creatively provide solutions for our customers. 

For example, here at Henry Schein One, we are rolling out the ability to help a dental practitioner identify areas of concern — potential cavities or places to watch — within a patient’s mouth within seconds by using artificial intelligence (AI). This is just the start of all the great new and exciting tools we will see in technology — all improving work-life balance, and helping to increase profitability, and create better patient outcomes.

How do you overcome the challenges in STEM?

One of the biggest challenges we face in our sector (health care) is the integration and interoperability of systems. One of the ways in which Henry Schein One is addressing this challenge is by working collaboratively with other groups to provide access to key data and workflows to generate a seamless patient record. Our current portfolio of software integrates with a variety of electronic health records today, but we have a way to go in the dental space to fully achieve that goal. Once achieved, the impact this will have on healthcare has exponential potential. 

What traits and skills do you have that help you succeed in STEM?

I rely heavily on the identified strengths of myself and the teams I interact with each day to help us operate at our full potential. I utilize a system called StrengthFinders, invented by Don Clifton and used to uncover your unique rank order of 34 themes or your talent DNA, to provide clarity on our strengths and determine the best approach to collaborate with team members, who all have a variety of traits

My top strength is learner, which is defined as someone who has an expansive appetite to learn and constantly improve. I obtained my master’s in health informatics in the middle of my career to help strengthen my ability to lead our team in connecting people, processes, and systems to improve our healthcare technology and outcomes. Another skill that helps me succeed in my role is communication. I interact with a myriad of individuals throughout the week, so I developed an ability over the years to really “know my audience” and adapt my communication and style based on the person. Being a voracious learner and communicator are the two factors that have aided me the most in my journey

Moving on, what made you join Henry Schein One?

I joined Henry Schein One because I wanted to take my passion and apply it to creating better healthcare solutions with the global leader in the dental technology solutions market. By pairing my personal passion with a glaring need I saw for improved healthcare technology, I’ve been fortunate to create a career full of fulfillment, challenge, and excitement

When growing your career at Henry Schein One, was there anything that surprised you?

I remember thinking that my career was really in my hands. First, I was surprised when I realized that I needed to have confidence in myself to ask for what I wanted. The opportunities were there, I just needed to take the first step and ask. Once I gained my courage to step forward and ask, the second surprise was the support and encouragement I obtained from many team members within Henry Schein One.  I found key mentors and advocates that helped me navigate through opportunities and career changes.  

Have you used mentorship or employee resource groups (ERGs) at Henry Schein One? If so, how have they benefited you?

Yes, we have a robust mentorship program and ERGs within our company. Today, I am both a mentee and a mentor. I look forward to these meetings, as we have a “bidirectional flow” (how is that for a technological term?) of learning, growing, supporting, and benefiting from the insights of these interactions. 

I also participate in our Women’s Leadership Network (WLN). This is an incredible group where I see change happening with every call and meeting. The amount of enthusiasm and participation is so inspiring! Through the WLN, we are increasingly seeing women lead and gain the confidence needed to stretch and apply for roles that they may not have pursued previously. Remarkable things are happening with this ERG, and it is spreading across our global teams as well!

Finally, how has Henry Schein One supported you in your career?

Opportunities, opportunities, opportunities. One opportunity is a role I took in Australia leading the animal health software division, which was spun off in 2019. This role allowed me to expand my leadership skills and insights into technology from different perspectives — different cultures, different market segments, and different technology needs. Currently, at Henry Schein One I am provided opportunities for growth through the expansion of duties, speaking engagements, and simple day-to-day “aha” moments from working with this talented team. It’s an incredible experience to be supported by an equally incredible company. All these opportunities expanded my scope of understanding and engendered me with the confidence needed for continuous growth

Interested in learning more from Pam and other Henry Schein technology leaders on this topic? Save the date for our #Digit-ALL Fairygodboss Live on 6/21/2023.



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