Ep 247 Empowering Women in Medical Sales: A Conversation with Eliza Core, DM CRM Medtronic

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Join me today as I share a recent conversation with Eliza Core, District Manager at Medtronic. 

We wanted to share this important topic to help more women see the possibility of getting onto medical device sales.  

We talked about why we think women hold themselves back, how to start making shifts in confidence, and begin taking action to stretch yourself. 

In this Episode: 

  • Why women don’t go after sales roles 
  • Confidence gaps 
  • Being authentic while stretching yourself 
  • Tips for interview process 
  • Importance of self talk and having your own back
  • Building confidence from within 
  • Importance of mentors and networking

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Episode Transcript: Transcribed by OtterAI with minimal edits

Michelle Bourque 0:05 You are listening to the it’s your time podcast and I’m your host certified life coach Michelle Arnold Bourque. In today’s episode, I’m sharing a recent conversation with Eliza core, where we discussed empowering women for medical device sales.

Welcome to the It’s Your time Podcast, the podcast where busy professionals like you get the practical solutions and support you need to gain control of your schedule so you can strive to be the best in your career, but without the stress and overwhelm. If you’re looking to increase your energy and decrease your stress, you are in the right place.

Michelle Bourque 0:43 Hello, hello. Hello. Welcome back to the podcast. Friends, I have a treat for you. It has been a minute since we’ve had a guest on and I love sharing new folks with you. So today, I am sharing a recent conversation with Eliza core. Now Eliza is a colleague at Medtronic. She is a district manager for the cardiac rhythm management in the Western New England area. And she has been with the company for 24 years. So to say the least, she knows a thing or two about what we’re discussing today, she is going to go ahead and introduce her full self in the conversation. But I wanted to give you some background because we do work in different divisions within the company. And we share a passion to help elevate women in sales. We were talking one day just offline and thought this is a really important topic and we wanted to share it here with you how to get more women in the field of sales. Now, obviously our conversation is specific to medical device sales. But I think this applies to so many women and a variety of sales positions. There are too many amazing women who don’t think they can do sales. And honestly, I think there are so many companies missing out on what these amazing women have to offer. And in today’s episode, we’re talking about some of our experiences, tips that we think are important to share with you and why we want you to start believing more in yourself when it comes to being able to sell, we need more of you, all of you are different. And that is exactly what works. Before we get into it. I do want to say a common theme that seemed to come up was around confidence or lack thereof. And I still have the boost your confidence program open, you can find out all of the info if you go to Michelle Bourque coaching.com, forward slash confidence and I have a bonus, I am going to be adding six Breath works to the program at no extra cost. So if you sign up now, for the $47 program, you will receive the Breath works once they are added again, Michellebourquecoaching.com/confidence to get all of the details, you will find the weekly topics there the layout all the 411. Okay, without further ado, please enjoy the conversation.

Okay, I am so excited to have you here today. So before we jump in, can you please introduce yourself, maybe share a little bit about anything that’s important to you all of the goodness in how you would like to be introduced? 

3:17 Sure, no, thanks for having me. I’m super excited to be here too. So I’ll start with my professional self. So currently, I am the district manager, which means I manage a sales team for Medtronic. And specifically that’s in cardiac rhythm management. And I do that right outside of Boston. So we call it our central New England territory. A little bit about my personal life, I am a wife and I have two boys. So my youngest son just turned 10. And my oldest is 11. And then just a little bit about things that I love to do. I’m an avid distance runner. So I try to do at least a marathon a year. Which brings me a lot of joy. And then just to kind of talk a little bit about, you know, what I’m like, as a person, I feel like my passion is really just making a difference in the lives of others. And that I think comes into play, and all the things like I previously mentioned, like that’s one of the reasons I love working for Medtronic. That’s one of the reasons I’m in medical device sales. You know, I try to bring that to my family. And then even in my running to it, it’s something that I love to share about and to share with others too.

Michelle Bourque 4:34 Yeah, that is great. And I would say you definitely make a difference in cardiac rhythm saving lives, not just not just touching them right away. Holy smokes. And I know another important topic for both of us. And that’s why we’re here today is to really discuss getting more women into this industry. In fact, we are both so passionate about it that we volunteer for an employee resource group where we help to accelerate women in the field. So I guess I would like to just start by having a conversation, we’re really when we do this, it’s kind of like everybody’s eavesdropping. So like, why? Let’s start with your why why is this important to you?

5:09 Yeah. So I mean, I guess I would say first, and I think I kind of mentioned this before, like, I just love the work that I do. I, it brings me joy, like I enjoy going to work every day. And so I feel like, as I mentioned, to like, I think it’s just important, like, I want to help other people. And so I think I just want other people and I want other women to be introduced to this field, because it is such a great and rewarding field to be to be part of.

Michelle Bourque 5:43 I agree, I feel like there are so many women that miss out on opportunities. And in turn, like the companies like Medtronic miss out on having these women in their companies, because oftentimes, there’s this thought, and I always kind of joke, like, nobody really grows up. I mean, there might be a handful of people, but you don’t necessarily grow up to say, like, I want to be a salesperson, when I grow up, right? It just kind of like ends up getting here. But I think for a lot of women, there’s also this idea around selling. I remember when I first told my friend that I was getting into my first sales position, she’s like, Oh, you’re gonna be a magnet. And I was like, hey, that doesn’t sound very nice. Right. But there is this idea around sleaze. And so I think when people especially women are looking at it, the stay away, maybe because of the connotations that are associated with it. What are your thoughts on how this shows up? 

6:33 Ya know, and I’m so glad that you asked that question. Because I totally thought the same thing. Like before I ended up going into sales. Um, I feel like you know, that yeah, I’m, I don’t want to be looked at as like, you know, a pestering type of person I have not like immediate family, but I have other family members that are in sales and, and, you know, even them, like questioning me like, Oh, you want to go into sales? Like, why do you want to do that? And, and so I do think that there’s kind of that, that stigma. But I also think that I think that being in sales, is it you don’t have to be someone that you’re not right. And I think that was like, the biggest thing that I learned is that what makes me successful as a salesperson, and what makes other people successful as a salesperson is bringing your own perspective to that and being your true self. Like, what a conversation you may have with a customer could be totally different than a conversation that I would have, just based on, like how we approach things. And I think our customers can also see through that, like, if I were to try to be someone that I’m not, I don’t think that I would necessarily get the sale like, right our customers want and people in general want to buy from people that they trust, right, and I don’t think that you’re gonna gain that trust. If you’re not true to yourself. Michelle Bourque 8:05 That is so important. I think that’s a great point. I know, when I first started, and I and I don’t know if this goes back to kind of like, growing up and societal beliefs about like, what you’re supposed to be as like, you know, a good girl and nice and care and, sir, you know, be humble and see not heard. So I think I definitely agree I had some of those thoughts. Also, like, I don’t want people to think I’m pushy. And I had to really reframe that and be like, No, actually, I think selling is more like serving, like my thoughts about selling is that I can care about these people and patients and family members. And to your point about being yourself, there was one of my early DMS, he took me aside and he was like, shell, you need to show your accounts, more of who you really are. Because I felt like I had to be very put together and very corporate and about, oh my god, if they really know who I am, then we’re in trouble. But right now, here we are 17 years later. So there’s a little something to you know, being authentic. 

8:59 Yeah, and I think at the same time, like I think that’s super important to be authentic. But I think what it’s also important to address that you can still be authentic, but you can push yourself beyond what your comfort level is. And that’s something that I really learned as well is that, like, I’m not the typical person who could go up to somebody and ask for something that’s gonna benefit me, right? Like that can be really challenging for us. And I think that can be really challenging for us as women. But I’ve learned that, you know, like, because I have these authentic relationships with my customer, it’s okay for me to go to them at the end of the quarter and say, Hey, like, you know what, I need some help, like, can you help me out? You know, do you mind if you have a patient coming up and you think a Medtronic device would be appropriate, like, I could use that. And it’s not like, it’s all it’s asking for a favor, but it’s not something that you have to do all the time. But for me, like for some people, that’s like a conversation they may have every day and that’s fine. And there has been that work. But for me, like that was something that was uncomfortable. So I think there’s this part of being true to yourself, but also being able to push yourself outside of your comfort zone that that can make you successful in sales. Yeah,

Michelle Bourque 10:11 I think I like to think of it as like you’re stretching but not snapping, right? Like, you don’t want to make it so much. But you do want to put yourself and that’s where the group’s opportunities are really is. And getting through that discomfort, I think is when you get to the other side. And that’s when you’re like, wow, I actually did have that in me. No, absolutely. Can you maybe talk a little bit about some of the mentors that have helped you along the way? Because I do think like, that is so important. And I think especially within our employee resource group, like it has been game changing as far as how I look at my career, networking. And also I’ll just quickly say, I feel like that has also changed. Like, when I first thought about networking, I also thought that was kind of like, ooh, it’s like, I’m kind of being sleazy. And I don’t know, like, it’s, I’m asking these people for help. But I’m like, wait a second, no, I might be able to help them to write like I talked to mentees now that I’m like, networking is really just getting to know people, and they might not help you. But the seven people behind them might or you might help them.

11:12 Absolutely, yeah, no. So I feel like I’ve been really lucky to have several mentors throughout my career. And so I’ve had both formal mentors that have been set up through Medtronic programs, but then, of course, informal too. And I guess I’ll first start by saying, like, my first mentor truly was my mother. And so my mom was a professor, and she worked in leadership, and she did actually executive coaching. So she just, and she’s, you know, a really focused on, like women being successful in their careers. And so it was just always great. Like, she always just kind of made me feel like, No, you can do this, like, don’t hold back in. So it was just really nice to have like that personal mentor in my life as well. Then I’ve had, as I mentioned, I’ve had, you know, mentors within Medtronic, like some even set up through specific programs. And a lot of them have been men, which I think, you know, has has been super helpful to get different perspectives there as well. And I think we all we always talk about, like the difference between like mentors and sponsors. And so I’ve had, I’ve had both and some of those, again, were more like setup through Medtronic, and others weren’t. But I found like, a lot of the mentors that I had became my sponsors as well. So I think that’s really helped me within my, you know, be successful at Medtronic, as well as having some of these men that were in like leadership positions that were then able to really stand up for me when I when I was going for new roles. Michelle Bourque 12:43 I was gonna say before, um, before we go too far, can you maybe just explain the difference between mentor and sponsor for people who might not be familiar? Yeah.

 12:50 I mean, I’m sure it’s like, kind of different, maybe depending on like, where you’re at, but at Medtronic, and like, the way that I think about it, like a mentor is kind of, you know, a person that, that you can go to, and just ask for advice. And, you know, they give you direction and ideas. Whereas the sponsor is someone who’s really, when there’s a position available, or even if there’s not a position available, they’re the person who’s gonna stand up for you and say, This person is right for this job. And this is why you should hire her. And I think, especially for women, it’s really important to have both mentors and sponsors, probably sponsors even more. So. Um, you can’t really just get a spot, you can’t just really go up somebody and ask them to be a sponsor, like you kind of have to develop that relationship. But I definitely think if you can develop that relationship with leaders within, you know, a company or even if you’re looking to get into a company, just kind of try to get those people that get to know you and see the work that you’ve done. Yeah.

Michelle Bourque 13:42 It’s not like your marathons where you sponsor like, I’ll pay $200 and Get aside. Right, right, right. S

13:47 No, not like. Yeah, and I think we were talking earlier, you know, we’re both part of the employee resource group, the women’s group at Medtronic, and I think that really does open up a lot of doors to to be able to network with different leaders within the company, and then also become, have them become a sponsor, because they can see you don’t, you might not have opportunities to do the work, that you need to be able to show someone you’re able to do a new job, but in like an employee resource group, a lot of times you can, you know, take on different responsibilities and be able to, you know, to show that to people. So I think that’s

Michelle Bourque 14:23 important. And you know, I was just having a conversation with someone who is actually interviewing and a lot of this, we’re kind of talking about recruitment and getting more females into the industry. So she was talking about going between two different companies, and one was Ben Tronic. And of course, I’m like, well take this, as you know, I’m biased, right. But I think to the point of the employee resource group, it’s an important conversation to have during interviews like to find out from companies, what kind of support is there for females?

14:50 Absolutely. No, and I think it’s, I think it’s so important and I think you’ve got to look to see like, what is the right cultural fit for you and A lot of times I mean, and boy resources, resource groups are different. You know, there’s the women’s groups, but we also have like Asian descent, African, you know. And so I think, in general, just being able to find a place where you culturally fit in is just so important. Michelle Bourque 15:14 Yes, I feel like nowadays, especially like community connection, like it’s so important that it’s, it’s somewhere, yeah, that you feel like you belong. Yeah, for sure. Now, you are a district manager, like you mentioned. So you have the opportunity to, like, bring these people in, do the interviews. And I’m curious, and I always am very deliberate with how I want to say this. Because if there are men listening, this is not anything, you know, against men. But I feel like there are probably differences in men and women as they show up for interviews, I guess. Can you maybe speak to that? And are there any, like, two to three tips you might give to females? Who are going into an interview process for for this industry?

15:58 Yeah, so I mean, I’ll first start with like, kind of the differences. And I think, like, unfortunately, one of the things that I still see, and I would even say it’s somewhat true of myself at times, is just the gap in in confidence. And whether that’s like, truly that men have more confidence than women, or it’s just, they do a better job of portraying even if they don’t have the confidence, but I mean, even myself, like, I definitely have a lot of confidence in the work that I do. But I do find myself kind of replaying, you know, scenarios, like conversations I had throughout the day. And I’m asking myself, like, did, did I say the right thing? Should I said, I’ve said this. And so I think I think that’s definitely something that that shows up. And I have noticed as well, when I interview people, and I think we talk, you know, we could talk also about we know that a woman nurses might not necessarily apply for a job that she doesn’t feel qualified for. I mean, there’s been research, right, that shows that and that men a man would. And so I even sometimes see that as I’m looking through just because the first process obviously is like the resumes coming in. And sometimes even just like looking through that I can even kind of see that difference. I would say, for sure.

Michelle Bourque 17:12 I think even when I talk to mentees that are just considering putting in applications, a lot of it does come down to the confidence. And when I’m talking to women, I feel like they’re looking to those people that they’re trying to network with in order to feel more confident. And I’m like, no, no, no, that is something that you have to bring within yourself. And it goes to your point about this whole self talk, right? Like when we ask ourselves, oh, did it? Did I do that wrong? Should I’ve not had said that? Like, we need to also answer our brain, I always am telling people like, yeah, you gotta tell yourself, like where you did do a good job, right? Because our brain will go crazy and tell us all of the terrible things that we’ve done. Like we need to reel it in and show ourselves where we did. Okay. 

17:51 Yeah, and I think too, as an, again, like, this is a generalization, but I think like as women, you know, I’m a working mom as well. And I feel like because I’m a working mom, like, I have to prove myself even further, like, I have to show like, this is why you should hire me, you know, more. So like, obviously, anybody wants to show that but like, I just feel like you have to kind of take it to the next step where we feel that we have to take it to the next step. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, that necessarily comes across all the time with men either. So why don’t just

Michelle Bourque 18:23 Yeah, no, no, I think that’s a great point. So here is the crazy thing. My head is like, oh, my gosh, because I do not have kids. And I feel like I usually have to prove myself more. So because I should have the extra time to do the extra things. Because I don’t have the kids. Like that’s so fascinating. And I remember when I started this was so long ago, this would probably well, who knows it may or may not happen now. But I remember the rep that I worked with, he was like, This is not a good mom job. And I believed him for a bit because I thought the hours are crazy and never really know. But I’m like, no, no, no, it is a fine mom job. Like you figure out your support system. Right? 

19:01 Yeah, and I think so too. And I think that is a reason why probably women are feeling fearful to get into this. And going back to your question at the beginning as to like, why do we need to have this conversation like this is exactly why because I you know, I think women are holding themselves back. I see it like in the cardiac rhythm management sales world, there are still very few female sales representatives we have our clinical specialists split is which so the clinical specialist team, they’re kind of more on the clinical side of following the device and the salespeople are doing that as well, but really driving the sales more. So we find with our clinical teams, it’s probably about 5050. But with the sales reps, I don’t know what the percentage is, but it’s just not as many as I think it could be. And I think part of that is because people don’t think that they could do it. But I don’t I mean, I did it when my kids were very young. And you know It was yes, it’s challenging, but but I loved it so much like, I think at the end of the day, like, it made me a better mom, like, if I am doing something that I love and I’m passionate about, then I can be the person that I want to be both at my job and at home.

Michelle Bourque 20:12 So I think that is so important. And I think when you just said, you know, we need to talk about this more actually, another thought came to my mind. And I agree, I think I am the only female in our district, that’s a sales rep, we have female clinical specialists. But from a rep standpoint, in our district, I’m the only female. But I think the other area of conversation, and this could be an entirely other podcast is that we don’t talk a lot about money. And I think there’s definitely differences in like, pay promotional opportunities, that to your point about like throwing your hat in the ring for the job, I think then women are also once they get the job, not as quick to speak up and talk about how great they have been doing because they think your manager should just know it. And then you might miss out on a promotion. And, and you know, I’ve been there and I now tell people all the time, you have to, like record the things you’re doing. You might not remember and your boss for sure will not remember there are how many other people that you I mean, as a DM, right, are in charge of that you need to have those conversations. 

21:09 Yeah, no, I agree. And I think I think there’s also sort of that fear as like, if I speak up as a woman, like, what, how am I then portrayed? And so that can that can limit people probably,

Michelle Bourque 21:22 I think that’s where I’m going to insert a Taylor Swift, the man song. I love it. Oh, my gosh, this is so much fun. All right, go ahead. Go ahead. No, I Speaker 2 21:34 was just gonna say I did, I did want to talk about like the three year tour, like he says, of what advice I would give for someone getting into the job. And so I would say, because I’ve been interviewing a lot of people too. And I always ask the question, like, what motivates you. And I just think that it’s so important to really know, like, what your passion is, and so like I talked about that mine in the beginning, is like, I really just enjoy helping other people. And that’s kind of like, why I feel like I fit into the device, medical device sales, and that’s why I fit into Medtronic. You know, we talk about our mission all the time, right? Like you ask any Medtronic employee, and they can tell you, you know, restore life, alleviate pain and extend life, right, or restore health, sorry. So I think, um, you know, everybody knows that and, and so, when I’m interviewing people, I just, it doesn’t, that doesn’t have to be your passion, like your passion could be something else. But just knowing what your passion is, and knowing what your y is, I think is super important. The other piece of advice I would give is that I think it specifically I’ll talk to cardiac rhythm management, because that’s where I spent most of my career and Medtronic. And it’s just very important to have some sort of medical experience in our division. And I wouldn’t say this is true. And you can probably speak to your division as well of all divisions of Medtronic, but within our division, like, it would be very difficult to get a role without having any sort of like medical and whether that’s like, you know, you were trained as an EMT, or you went and got your medical assistant license, or, you know, there’s different ways to get that. But that’s definitely something that I would recommend to people, even if you have the sales experience. And then the last thing I would say too, is that, I think sometimes we need to take a step back or make a lateral move in order in order to make a move forward. So if you’re already in a sales role, and you want to get into sales, and you know, maybe a clinical role at Medtronic is a good place to start to get that experience. So I think just being open to taking a lateral move, or taking a step back is just important in order to get introduced it to the medical device world.

Michelle Bourque 23:45 So yeah, I love that knowing your why I feel like that’s so important even not just to know from a DM standpoint, but from that person that you’re interviewing, because that’s what guides all of your decisions, right? That’s the filter by which you are kind of making your decisions in life. And I feel like that as a DM probably gives you some insight. And I think a lot of times, I know for me, like the hardest question, one of my coaches asked me was like, Michelle, what do you want? And I was like, Oh, wait, what do I want? Hold on a second. And I had to really look at that. Like, why am I doing this? What do I want? Am I doing it for the people pleasing? Because I think they’re gonna like me, right? Like really getting clear on what that is.

24:22 Yeah, and I think it’s something that you have to revisit, and it’s okay if it changes too, but I mean, we all have hard days, right? We all work really hard. And there are times when I have to revisit my wife because I’m like what having that really does, like I think it just grounds you and once you’ve had once you get into the into the industry as well.

Michelle Bourque 24:42 Yes. And to your other point about the having the medical, some sort of medical experience. I feel like you’re probably right, it probably depends on what division because I know there are some or companies I feel like I also tell mentees, people just getting started that you might be able to get into another company to get started. To your point, maybe it’s a step not, you know, a smaller company, not Medtronic, but being open I think is very Yeah, very important. And and I also think like being willing to be flexible and change and know that that is like the one constant.

25:16 That’s so true. Yeah. Because there’s no, I was, you know, in an interview that I was just doing, and they asked us like, what a day looks like. And we were like, what a day looks like is that your plan in the morning is never, it never happens throughout the day, like, it’s always different. So as long as you know, when you wake up in the morning, that your day is going to be different than what you originally thought it was going to be, then you’re

Michelle Bourque 25:41 I’m dying, because that’s what I try to tell people. Whenever they’re like an average, you know, it’s a normal day, and like, there is no such thing. And I had this one person who was like, I am very structured. And I like to know my time and my schedule, and I was like, You will not like this job. You know, it will drive you crazy. Okay, if we missed anything? 

26:03 I, you know, I feel like we’ve, we’ve kind of touched on on most, the important thing is like, there’s nothing else that I can really think of, I think just kind of, most importantly, like, put yourself out there take a risk, you know, like, and have that confidence in yourself that you can do this.

Michelle Bourque 26:25 Yes. And like have your own back. And you know what I’ll also add, because I just had this conversation yesterday with the person who’s interviewing and she was worried about making the wrong decision and the right decision, like should she be a CFO? Should she be a rep, and I was like, trust your gut, and then have your own back. Like, if it doesn’t work out to your earlier point. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Right. That’s all optional. You learn from it. And then you take that information and you move on to the next.

26:50 Absolutely. And it makes us stronger in the long run, right?

Michelle Bourque 26:53 Yes. Oh, I love that. That’s probably a good place to stop. Thank you so much. Okay, where can people find you? 

27:00 So I am essentially, if Michelle Bourque 27:04 you’re hiring, especially if you’re hiring.

27:07 If I’m hiring, I think probably I would say the best places to find me on LinkedIn. So it’s just underlies a call on my profile. That’s like, from a professional standpoint, I think that’s the best place to find me. I do have an Instagram profile as well. But that’s mostly based on my family and running. So you can certainly find me there. But in terms of my professional side of things, I would think LinkedIn is the place to go.

Michelle Bourque 27:29 Awesome. Thank you so much. All right. We’ll talk soon. Thank you.

Okay, well, Isn’t She Great? It’s so funny how we all have that internal chatter, right. She has worked for the world’s largest medical device company successfully worked for the world’s largest medical device company for almost 24 years, almost a quarter of a century friends. And I’m sure she’ll appreciate it when we look at it that way. Right? And she still questions herself. So let’s normalize it. And also, no, it’s optional for all of us. When we have those questions, should I have not said that? Did I mess that up? Whatever it is in your brain, you need to answer it and remind yourself what you did well, it’s normal for your brain to go to the negative. Building your confidence is you having your own back and talking to yourself in a way that you would speak to maybe a friend or a mentee it’s helping to encourage her you to keep going. Okay, we would love to hear from you. You can find Eliza core on Linked In and of course I’m over there as well as at Michellebourquecoaching on Instagram. Okay, friends, that’s what I have for you today. Let’s meet back next week but for now make it a great day take care Michelle Bourque 28:56 Did you know you can take this work to a deeper level with me one on one. Go to Michellebourquecoaching.com and click on get started to begin





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