Ep 259 Impact Multipliers: A Conversation with Michelle Preslar, MBA Strategic Program Executive Medtronic: Networking

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We are starting a new series!  Impact Multipliers – Conversations with people who are multiplying their impact in a variety of ways.  These episodes are opportunities for you to see the amazing work people are doing in the world – and how you can #mulitplyyourimpact in a way that works for you.

Today I am sharing a recent conversation with Michelle Preslar, MBA Strategic Program Executive with Medtronic Interventional Lung Solutions.  Michelle is also a member of the ASPIRE Steering Committee and serves as a Local Area Network Director.

We discussed networking – best practices, why it’s important to your career and life – and what you can start doing today to make it work for you.

In This Episode:

  • Networking and multiplying impact with Michelle Pressler. 0:00
  • Michelle and host Michelle Bourque discuss the employee resource group ASPIRE, which aims to Accelerate and Advance Sales Professionals through Innovation, Results, and Excellence.
  • Networking and career development in medical sales. 2:47
  • Networking and adding value in career transitions. 8:33
  • Networking and multiplying impact in a professional setting. 15:12
  • Networking importance and strategies. 21:42


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Episode Transcript: Transcribed by OtterAI with minimal edits.

Michelle Bourque 0:00 You are listening to the It’s Your Time e podcast and I’m your host certified life coach Michelle Arnold Bourque. And today’s episode, we’re starting a new series impact multipliers and I’m sharing a recent conversation with Michelle Preslar, around networking. 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 0:40 Hello, hello. Hello. Welcome back to the podcast rant. Okay, today, I have an exciting episode for you. It’s a new series that we are starting impact multipliers. And each episode will be conversations with people making an impact, having a ripple effect, you may say and sharing ideas on how we can all multiply the impact that we are having in life. Listen, at the end of the day, don’t we all want to be making a difference. And I feel so fortunate to be able to share these amazing people with you. And they are all willing to have you reach out connect network learn, so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity. And let me just get started by telling you a little bit about today’s guest. So Michelle Preslar is a strategic program executive with Medtronic lung health solutions. She has 10 plus years of nonprofit experience. She has 10 plus years of medical sales and training including capital software, device and biologics. And she has her MBA from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, we talked about the importance of networking as you multiply your impact. And in the discussion, she shared best practices on what networking can look like. This is such an important topic, especially for women, as we look to help build each other up. And we mentioned in the episode, aspire, which is an employee resource group here at work and it stands for accelerating and advancing sales professionals through innovation results and excellence. It’s how Michelle and I are connected. And we continue to build our network through such efforts. I really encourage you to take a listen to all of the gems that she is sharing and be sure again to reach out. And without further ado, please take a listen.

Okay, thank you so much for doing this. I think this is going to be so helpful. And really a lot of fun. I guess before we dive in, can you maybe introduce yourself in a way that you like and just tell everyone a little bit about you,

2:47 So Michelle Pressler, I am a working mom, too, with two twin twin 10 year old girls, and I’ve been married to my fabulous husband for about the next month will be 17 years. I’ve been with Medtronic for about a year now. But then in medical sales for a long time. And actually nonprofit fundraising before that.

Michelle Bourque 3:12 Oh, wow. Yeah, we got connected through a spire, which is an employee resource group at Medtronic here. So can you maybe talk a little bit about the role that you play in that capacity? 

3:26 So as land director with a spire, I help individuals in different cities connect with whatever you that it may be. So individuals that live in their cities, to be able to socialize, be able to make those connections, help with professional development, and really kind of organize, organize, giving ideas, and getting individuals together to help connect in their own geography.

Michelle Bourque 3:58 Yeah, it’s a great program. And it’s such an important role for those people who may not be familiar. Lan is the local area network. And OU is basically what Medtronic refers to as operating unit. And I think that we’re super lucky to be able to have this employee resource group. And I really try to tell people who are looking to break into medical device that this should be looked at as a benefit, right? Because I feel like, you know, this series is talking about multiplying your impact. And so we want to get people on and talk about what that looks like. And I think for you, especially in this role, like networking is super important. And it’s such an interesting topic, because I often find that folks who are trying to break in, you know, sometimes they’re uncomfortable, or they’re not really sure how to network and they don’t want to seem like they’re a bunch of weirdos. I guess I think probably when I started I also thought about that, but can you maybe speak to what you see as important ideas in the process? Because I think we talked earlier you were explaining how important it was for you and your career development. 

5:00 Certainly a shell. So, you know, for example, when, excuse me, so when in I was in nonprofit and trying to make the jump, for example, into medical device sales, I had a lot of friends that were doing doing it. And that networking was number one, the sole reason and way that I got into medical device sales. And when some of the things that I did was essentially, you know, who are is in my current network that knows someone, and simply just reached out, reached out to as many people as I could set ask for, you know, 1015 minutes even. And I’m so thankful for everyone, I probably, I mean, spoke to at least 10 different people and met them for coffee face to face, just picking their brain. What was important? Who did they know? Because, you know, a lot of times you don’t, you don’t know what you don’t know. So it was just using it as a learning experience. So when that the interviews came, and it was usually through connections, but when the interviews came that I knew, not only the questions that were, you know, the interviewer was asking, but a lot more of the why behind it, and maybe what individuals might be looking for.

Michelle Bourque 6:22 Yeah, that’s so important. I remember, a mentor once said, to me, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you so that when those positions become available, also, they may say, Hey, you should go talk to Michelle. 

6:33 And it’s interesting, because you think, you know, that initial outreach was, you know, thinking about myself, right? And you, it’s hard to, it’s sometimes it’s just hard to do things for yourself, and it’s hard to ask people to do things just for you. So I was always super grateful. Kind of connecting of, you know, what is it that I could do for them. And sometimes it’s as simple as making it easy, make it easy, laying on some praise that, you know, they’ve been in the industry for a long time looking to learn from them. They’re introduced from, you know, a close friend of theirs that really looking at to them as a mentor, and what can I learn from you, and thank you, and let me make it easy for us to get together. And also following up with them that what they did, how it impacted me. And it is very simple, but it really, it takes some organization and some thought behind it, instead of just jumping into it two feet without, you know, much thought and the forefront, and afterwards as well.

Michelle Bourque 7:55 Right? Because I think you know, a coach once told me, it’s not necessarily who you’re speaking to directly, but then think of the six or seven people behind them that they may know that might be able to help you also. So I think that’s a great point that you bring up. It’s not just in that moment, it’s the follow up so that you stay in their mind throughout. 

8:15 And that’s how it because really, I had two people at that time that, for example, that I knew in medical sales, they both introduced me to someone, but then it just kept growing from there, and who did they know? And based on our interaction, and where who would they recommend? I mean, it’s kind of the same thing. You would think hopefully, you’re already doing that in sales. So if you’re looking to get into sales, that should be a natural progression. It’s it’s keeping, you’re just building that you’re building your network and building your connections.

Michelle Bourque 8:47 Yeah, I think two things that you had mentioned also are important about, you know, not necessarily wanting to ask for things for ourselves. And I think, especially as women that sometimes comes into play. So do you have any tips, I guess I love what you said about how to add value also to the person that you’re speaking to, or networking with? What are some other ideas that maybe that might look like, for somebody who’s just getting started, I guess, do you have any other tips or ideas?

9:15 Even like examples for adding value? Yeah. So just kind of depending, you know, for for if they’re just getting, you know, net net working in like, for example, I mean, I’m using like a recent for networking, within like the company, for example. If you know, trying to ask someone to, you know, do they know someone in the area, and it’s just, it really seems like the mentoring piece and helping others, that individuals that want to help others that this is almost like a second nature for them. And truly, not everyone is You’re not gonna get 100 yeses, right, you’re gonna you know, so if kind of going into it with set expectations, you know, when getting into the role, you know, looking at a cross over into sales to from nonprofit, you know, I did a lot of outreach that nobody replied to me, right. But I think, General, but you got to kind of expect that and not let that take you down. But, you know, when reaching out to some of those individuals, you know, really just, you know, thanking them and letting them shine, how many people like to talk about themselves too, of course, right. Definitely. Take a break, and kind of give back and share, you know, share your knowledge, you know, if there was a way, you know, once I had to speak with them a little bit more, you know, if picking up on, you know, hey, their child maybe was in soccer here, then, you know, during that conversation would try to find ways that, oh, I know someone over here or have you have this idea. Or I remember, one of the ladies I met with loved to cook. And I found a recipe somewhere that kind of worked with some of the things we had spoken about. So it doesn’t have to be necessarily work, necessarily related, but just making that connection. And there is always if you’re truly listening, there’s a way that you can provide value, but need to also have the open ears and in mind for it.

Michelle Bourque 11:37 So who we that’s what I try to tell people to like, if you just come with curiosity, like true curiosity, and caring about them also, and not in our head so much about, Am I doing it right? Like, what are they gonna think it’s more like, pay attention to their LinkedIn? are they posting things that you can comment on, or like, or whatever it may be, right, so I think curiosity, to your point, the mindset, part of it is so important. 

12:02 And also just in doing, you know, the initial outreach as well. If you’re asking for this, and someone is generally thinking that they won’t to help, they’re probably gonna gonna be checking you out, if you’re on LinkedIn, or if it’s just simply cold over email, you know, you want to give the highlights about yourself. And something there might be triggered in what they’re looking for. Or, you know, you’ve done your research, you can put like a little tag in there about, you know, that you’ve been in this industry and some connections here. It really a if it’s completely cold, do some research, and you can find something to add a value prior. But you know, definitely during that time meeting, if you aren’t able to add it prior as like a little carrot for them, that certainly afterwards, or during you could listen and add some impact and some value.

Michelle Bourque 13:01 Yeah, I think that is key, the research part of it. And I think people probably don’t necessarily go into it. And I think sometimes these people as they’re like, talking to other people about how do you get into device sales, and people tell them to network, and then they don’t know what that means. And then they just reach out. And so then, you know, they don’t know what to do. But if they do a little research, it’s like a simple human conversation that you can have, it doesn’t have to be such a big, scary thing.

13:25 And also, even before you start reaching out, kind of do your own self assessment, why? Why are you trying to do this? What are your motivations? Who is already in your network, you know, if you’re, you know, it’s not just med device sales, it’s, I enjoy, you know, working, I had a family member that died of cancer. So this is a motivator for me, and I want to help other people. And this particular specialty is really of interest to me. So the more that you can kind of focus and understand, you know, what you’re looking for, and also where, you know, almost like a gap analysis of your own network. So who do you Who do you already know, if you’re looking to get into this specific area, after you know, what you’re looking for? Where Who are you missing? And how could you find those individuals? So it really is a lot of also homework on the front end to understand yourself, what motivates you why you want to do it? And what are you missing?

Michelle Bourque 14:37 That is so important, because I think sometimes when people do reach out, like I’m just thinking personally, sometimes people will reach out and I’ll ask them, and they’re like, I don’t know, I just I would like clinical or I would like sales or would like like they haven’t taken the time just sit and think about what do you really want. Sometimes it’s hard question. Speaker 2 14:56 It is and that’s almost if you haven’t done your own homework and you’re asking someone else to go out on a limb for you. Yes, sure. You’re not doing yourself any favors at that point?

Michelle Bourque 15:12 Exactly. Now, what would you say because I think, specific to aspire and our local area networks, it is a huge opportunity to be able to network people with people that maybe we’re not even necessarily looking for anything in the moment, right. It’s oftentimes like trying to just meet new people, and then down the road, who knows, maybe we help them, maybe they help us maybe we collaborate together, 

15:36 certainly won’t even know speaking, speaking specifically about aspire, and I always say to get, I mean, you don’t know what you don’t know. And I got into a spire because it spoke to me, looking to a Connect, looking for a way in this big company, to not feel like one of the you know, 1000s, I wanted to have a connection, but also obviously being in the field and, you know, the and helping to advance women in the field that that spoke to me. But you learned, I learned so much by meeting individuals that some had been in the organization for a long time, some had been, you know, relatively new like myself, it helps you to see how the greater how the greater company works together, and how each individual piece fits in the hole. But also, you just learned there’s so many different roles out there, and how in so many different philosophies of leadership, it’s just an opportunity to learn. And as you’re also trying to figure out, you know, what’s your, what’s your next step, or else just to build your own brand or, you know, grow in your own role? You, you just learn so much that’s applicable and transferable?

Michelle Bourque 17:01 Yeah, that’s a great point. It’s not always just like, how is this about me? It’s like, How can I work with others, and we all grow together? I love I mean, that is probably one of my biggest things about Aspire is the connections and the way that everyone tries to help advance each other.

17:17 And also, there’s the, it’s the feelgood factor has been so because work can be you know, work is work, right? Sometimes, I mean, you know, sometimes you have amazing days and some days, you, you know, might be a little challenging period, and surrounding yourself, for people that want to go and do extra, and want to give back and want to help. It really, it really just, it’s something personally I need, and I think many people do, it’s good to surround yourself with good people. And you know, these ERGs are just wanting to give back and help others and help others. It’s like a, you’re in charity or a nonprofit within a for profit.

Michelle Bourque 18:03 Right? It’s such a great point. Definitely. Have we missed any thing that you think of here as far as the importance of networking or tips or ideas? I think we’ve spoken to a lot alike in the process.

18:19 think those are some good question. I think that those are some of the biggest, I think, the two pieces of putting your time up front. And also making so put an effort up front, make it as easy as possible, when you’re actually trying to make the connection. If you know, I try to give you know, here’s some dates and times that might work for me, instead of them having to go back and forth. If you’re if somebody’s having to put forth extra effort on top of the effort, you’re already asking them, you’re just trying to get above the noise. So make it as absolutely easy as possible. And then again, if you want to talk to this person, anytime in the future, that makes sure you’re following up with them and thanking them and the impact that they’re making on you. So it’s all pretty simple things. But it’s so easy to get wrapped up in daily life and you know, all the things that you have to do in the business of it that you just got to you just have to take those extra steps extra effort.

Michelle Bourque 19:29 Absolutely. And be intentional. I think that’s so important. And since we are talking about impact and multiplying impact, I mean, I think this is a great series for people to learn more about the different employee resource groups and also just the different people within Medtronic and the women leaders and all the different roles. Who do you think or what has made the biggest impact in your life and that’s, that’s open so like, work, personal, whatever you feel is like a good multiply your impact kind of story

20:00 multiplying your impact, it’s, I think that the individual person is so hard because I kind of like to think of it as a team. And so and I can think of people from so many different places in life, you know, my parents and instilling hard work and selflessness. And, you know, my husband’s like, my biggest cheerleader and pushing me whenever I don’t have the self confidence myself, even sometimes, but, you know, someone and one of my very first jobs out of college, told me that, you know, I was in my early 20s, and dating and figuring personal life out and career, everything else. And I had always put so much effort into work. And, you know, the thought process, you know, where I’m gonna go, how am I going to get there. And he told me, he was like, if you would just take a portion of that effort that you put into work and mapping it out, and put that into your personal life. Just imagine, and I’ve thought about that so many times, and crossing both ways. You know, you know, for example, like in personal life, maybe you know, I’m doing something, you know, that helps with that creativity, and helps you be more inspirational and more motivated, you know, then can cross that over into work. Well, where am I seeing that creativity, if that’s what I need? And so, you know, where maybe there’s challenging in one area, that consciously make the effort to, you know, find a similarity somewhere else to transfer those skills.

Michelle Bourque 21:42 Oh, my gosh, that’s totally wasn’t exactly where we’re going with the networking importance. But I think that is so important. And I feel like especially when you’re just starting, you know, I don’t even know that it’s when you’re just starting, because I feel like I’ve been in it for years. And I feel like it’s only recently that I’ve tried to not think, because I think in in this job industry, it can be very hard, people will say they’re burnt out, and they don’t have any work life balance. And I am a big proponent of exactly what you’re saying, like, find the things that you love and light you up and do more of that. And how can you incorporate that into your job, and not be so black and white? We work so much I don’t think there’s such a thing as work life balance, like 5050, it’s like, how do we integrate at all that is so important.

22:27 And to your point, you had spoken earlier about the importance of finding companies that have a or have a in some type of employee resource groups, and that build that into their culture. I can’t speak enough about the those connections, and I didn’t even realize how important that was to me. But if you’re thinking about, you know, surrounding yourself, I do that personally, right, surround myself, your friends, your family, people that, you know, make your life better. But boy, sometimes, you know, in your job, hopefully you’re in a place or in New York company, hopefully you’re in a place automatically like that. But you know, sometimes there’s challenges and I had no idea, this ASPIRE group, you know, what you get it, what you’re gonna get out of, it isn’t always what you intended. And the people have been so inspirational. So motivational that that ends up being a lot of my good part of the day, in addition to, you know, the job that I’d already signed up for that I knew that I was getting,

Michelle Bourque 23:34 yeah, and I think this part of like, being more involved with a spider also helps to energize me, which then gets me more excited to stay right. So I think, to your point, it’s important to find the companies that have these employee resource groups, but then number two, to take advantage of them, because for so long, I was also very similar, like work, work, work, just have the blinders on, I have to like, stay in my territory. And for many years, I would say I wanted to go to the national meeting for a spire, but then something would come up and I wouldn’t be able to go I’d have, you know, a case out or something. And I just like took care of it. And finally I made it there. And I wish I could remember who said it. But there was a woman on stage who said, you take care of your patients, you take care of your doctor, as you take care of you need to take care of your career and like making it a point to do the work to advance yourself.

Yes, yes. One of my friends on my team, I’m so thankful for him. He’s not in he’s not in as far as an Excel. But I mean, right out of the gates, he was telling me that I need to get in find something and get involved. And I appreciate that little push so much. And so I served in Baltimore, I appreciate his his push. But sometimes we need people to give us that little extra and again, you know, surrounding yourself with the right people, the positive people. Just so helpful for are personally and professionally. Michelle Bourque 25:01 Yeah. And I think it’s like the ripple effect, right? That is what we’re talking about, like multiplying the impact. And I feel like all you’ve talked about today, it’s really from such an empowering standpoint, because it talks about the control that you have in networking, and kind of creating your path by doing the research, knowing what you’re looking for. And then just continuing. I don’t think it ends, right.

25:23 I don’t want it to end. Exactly. There’s still so many more people I have to meet.

Michelle Bourque 25:28 more to learn. Exactly. Sometimes if they don’t respond. I’m like, they must be confused. They just don’t know that they’re going to really like me.

25:36 That’s right. That’s right. And before I get like, irritable about it, I’ll think, think about how many people have read to him might have reached out or, you know, everybody’s busy. And maybe it just wasn’t, you know, maybe had been an extra crazy day, maybe, you know, maybe the next week that I reached out, because so many times I have done that. And I’ve reached out like, again, like, and you know, the apology, and hey, you know, it was just a bad week. I’m so glad that you reached back out. So that’s another, you know, don’t necessarily give up after that first time to. 

26:10 Absolutely.

Michelle Bourque 26:12 I mean, especially in sales, right? That’s, that’s the way it goes. Hey, this has been so much fun. Where can maybe people connect with you on LinkedIn? Or how is it best to get with you?

26:27 LinkedIn would be great. Michelle dash Presler PR ESL AR, and I’m pretty active on there. So feel free to reach out or message me there.

Michelle Bourque 26:37 As I say, send her the DM, she’ll be networking with you. Yeah, that’s right. Happy to connect. Thank you so much. This has been a blast.

26:45 Thank you, Michelle.

Okay, wasn’t that great. I Michelle Bourque 26:49 think some of the biggest takeaways for me were number one, add value. When you show up with curiosity and caring, it will be obvious and people want to help you. Number two, networking isn’t only about what others can do for you. It might be what you can do for them and it might be who they can connect you with in the future. Number three, just keep putting yourself out there people are busy things will and may fall through the cracks, be willing to do the follow up. And I love what you said, Make it easy for them through the entirety of the process. Okay, I hope you enjoy this we really want to help more people see the importance of the ripple effect that we make in life by multiplying your impact. And if you are not an employee here, please do feel free to reach out to both of us. If you are an employee listening through the pod bean channel, please be sure that you are signed up as a member of Aspire so that you get all of the added benefits. Simply send a message to either Michelle or I and we can get you added super simple. As always, please feel free to share this with someone who you think could benefit as well. And that’s what I have for you today. Let’s meet back here next week. But for now, make it a great day. Take care

Michelle Bourque 28:21 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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