How and when did you become an employee at Spartan Medical?
I became an employee of Spartan Medical in Fall of 2017. I can’t believe it has only been four years… I feel like it has been twenty! It all started when I was trying to get into the Medical Device Industry in the spring/summer of 2017. I had applied to a few med device companies… mostly for widget sales of your classic med devices (rubber bands, hernia mesh, etc.). With every interview, I knew that the companies just weren’t for me. It wasn’t that I was getting rejected from companies (although I did have one woman tell me that I would never make it in the industry…we can talk about that later), it was that I wasn’t passionate about the company or the products & services offered. Then one day I met up with a group of my friends from college and realized I knew someone in the industry. I had never heard of the company that he worked for, but it was described as a small but mighty up and coming team of real pros. I was intrigued. After some back and forth and an interview I became completely obsessed with the company and the potential opportunity to represent Spartan’s story and portfolio. I wasn’t getting the response I had hoped from the company (turns out I do now understand how busy we are), so I emailed Vince Proffitt, the CEO (what did I have to lose). In a follow up phone call, I told Vince he would be making the biggest mistake of his life if he didn’t hire me…here we are four years later…taking on the universe!
What is your role and what three words best describe your role?
Deputy Director of Biologics – liaison, resource, product expert, relationship manager, problem solver, and “a little bit of everything.” We all ‘carry a broom’ at Spartan, and a team effort is the expectation and the reality that make our rising tide raise all ships.
What do you like most about your job?
My favorite part of the job is representing Spartan Medical in our military facilities across the country. Working with DoD physicians to provide the most advanced technologies to treat wounded warriors and their families is such an honor for me. My late best friend and my grandfather were both military and I have always had the utmost respect for those who sacrifice everything for our country. Military medicine always does what is best for the patient – no matter the cost, codes, time, or energy that it takes. I have seen cases where there are ten surgeons in a room to treat one patient. These surgeons are some of the smartest and most dedicated people in the world.. and I get to learn from them every day.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
I wouldn’t say I have any professional challenges that hold me back. I am not big on focusing on perceived weaknesses. Yes, I am a female in a male dominated industry. Yes, I am barely five feet tall and look much younger than I am. But give me a chance to work with you…I promise I will overdeliver and make sure everyone is smiling as we accomplish the mission!
What do you like most about Spartan Medical?
The answer is always “yes.” Every time a customer needs something, we always find a way to make it work. Our customers will come to us with strange and impossible requests all the time. I used to say let me get back to you…after sending these requests up the chain, I always get the same phone call from our CEO Vince Proffitt, “Becky, how many times do I have to tell you, the answer is always yes!” With yes always being the answer, I have learned to problem solve and provide solutions as a matter of course. I love saving the day for our customers… especially when it involves a happy patient on the other end! I love Spartan because we can take any issue thrown at us and turn it into a positive.
As an expert in your field, what do you believe is the most important trend that will influence the industry over the next five to ten years?
Regenerative Medicine is on its way to the hottest topic in the industry. I think the companies that will do the best are the companies who don’t market their regenerative medicine technologies as “the best thing since sliced bread.” Keep it simple and honest. Stick to the facts with data backing these technologies. Our vetting process for any product certainly does the same.
Why do you believe Spartan Medical will become an industry leader?
There is nothing we can’t do. We are dedicated to the mission 24/7 and never stray. We will find our way to the top by sticking to our core values and always moving forward as a team.
You were recently promoted to an executive-level position. When you began your career, did you imagine that you would become a leader in a male-dominated profession?
I absolutely did! I just needed to figure out how to get there. It is a work in progress but I am learning every day. In January of 2019 we did a “5-year planning session.” My goal was to build Spartan’s biologics portfolio nationally/internationally in the DoD and the VA. Almost three years later we are still trending in that direction. Last week I had a request from Okinawa, Japan!
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
It definitely hasn’t been being a female! I like to stand out in a crowd of medical device reps that are mostly middle-aged men who have been in the industry for 10-20+ years. It is not the fact they are men that has been a barrier in my career. It is the experience. But every day I have the opportunity to grow and learn something new… and as long as I continue waking up wanting to learn, there will be opportunity waiting for me. I have helped train a few male associates and every new sales meeting we go on I love when the customer always looks to the male for answers. It is my favorite reaction when the customer is shocked when the new associate points to me for the answers.
Considering your profession’s gender gap, especially among leadership, how did you reach your level of success?
I used my resources when I couldn’t complete the task alone and woke up every day motivated. I didn’t let the “male dominated” industry bother me. I watched how other reps manage their territory, how other executives manage their roles, take the good and the bad from each, and evolve.
Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top?
It’s 2021 guys…move over! Having diversity at the top allows for different views and opinions.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders in your profession?
Keep going. Admit sometimes you don’t know the answer, but can get the answer for the customer. Learn from every situation. Always make that last sales call. Use your industry resources. Never push something that you don’t believe in. Fight for your customer.
What has been your proudest achievement at Spartan Medical?
Every time a surgeon sends a follow up X-Ray, a picture of a wound that has closed, a new crazy request that no one else can figure out… it becomes part of my proudest achievement. I love seeing residents that graduate and call me from across the country wanting to use our technologies because they loved working with Spartan through residency. I love getting calls from the newer reps who were terrified to do a sales call on their own and then go make their first sale. I love my team, and I’m proud to call myself a Spartan!