Mentoring Bonus: A Conversation with Julia Bucheger, Vice President US CRM Service and Service Transformation & Wallin Award Winner at Medtronic

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Join me today for the second installment of our bonus series on mentoring.  Today I am sharing a conversation with Julia Bucheger, Vice President, US CRM Service and Service Transformation and Wallin Award Winner at Medtronic.  We had so much fun discussing how mentoring and leadership work together and how you can take control of your mentoring journey.

  • Leadership, mentoring, authenticity and career growth with Julia Bucheger.
  • Mentoring journey and its importance in career growth.
  • Leadership, mentoring, and authenticity in a healthcare organization.
  • The value of authenticity in leadership, demonstrated by willingness to speak up and challenge decisions, even if it means being vulnerable and taking risks.
  • Leadership, mentoring, and networking.
  • The importance of networking and connecting with others in the industry, as it can lead to new opportunities and career growth.
  • The importance of taking ownership of their career journey and seek help when needed, highlighting the value of the ripple effect in mentorship.

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Transcribed by OtterAI with minimal edits:

Unknown Speaker 0:00 You are listening to the it’s your time podcast and I’m your host certified life coach Michelle Arnold Bourque, and today’s episode I’m sharing a recent conversation with Julia Bucheger, Vice President of CRM, US service and service transformation at Medtronic as part of our mentoring series, and we discussed mentoring and leadership.

0:22 Welcome to the Its 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.

0:45 Hello, hello. Hello. Welcome back to the podcast friends. Okay, today I have another special interview and the mentoring series week. And in this episode, I am sharing a recent conversation with Julia Bucheger. Julia is Vice President, US CRM service and service transformation at Medtronic. And in this discussion, we talked about leadership, her being recognized as a Wallin Award winner for her leadership, and the importance of mentoring. She really has a unique perspective. She’s only then with Medtronic. It’s the only company she has worked with. And she has been here for over two decades. So there is a lot of gems in this episode and a lot to learn from her. So without further ado, please take a listen. Okay, this is going to be so much fun, thank you for being here. As we get started, can you maybe introduce yourself in a way that you feel comfortable with like, share all of the goodness?

1:44 Well, I’ll start, I’m married to my wonderful husband of 16 years, and I have we have two children. My daughter, Mabel is 13. And my son Max is 11. And they keep us extremely busy on the weekends with many, many sporting activities. That’s pretty much my only hobby outside work is, you know, keeping up with them.

2:06 And then, professionally, I’ve been with Medtronic for 24 years. So I am a unique individual in that I’ve only worked for Medtronic, I started right out of college and have had a number of roles. I started as an engineer, quickly realized I wanted to be part of the sales organization and made my way there after just a few years doing engineering and have been in that space ever since and loved every minute of it. And I live in Washington, DC. Oh my gosh, that’s so great. I don’t think I realized 24 years that is that’s in it for the long game. That’s great.

2:46 And I have to imagine over those 24 years, you know, this series is specifically about mentoring. And I would have to assume that over that timeframe. You’ve had mentors, can you maybe discuss a little bit about your mentoring journey, and also why you think it might be important for people like to encourage them to reach out and tech to get a mentor?

3:07 Yeah, sure, um, mentoring has certainly been, you know, a really important part of that career journey. I mean, it’s been everything from formal mentors to probably more so informal mentors, also had a sponsor, and they’ve all played, you know, an important role throughout that journey. I still remember some of my first mentors, especially when I first realized that, you know, I wanted to make the shift from, you know, a true engineering role to the field. And it was mentors that really helped me, you know, ask the right questions and get support from my current manager at the time,

3:43 you know, to really figure out how to do that. And then, you know, I’ve had mentors that helped me just talk through, you know, a challenging situation, in my role at the time, I think, you know, one of the most important parts of advancing your career is being the best at your current job. And so I think mentors can play a role in that. And then, of course, the mentors that, you know, help you with your development, whether it’s helping you identify what opportunity could be next, you know, helping you work on skills that you know, you have gaps in, or even helping just connect you to people that can expand your network.

4:22 So I’ve had, you know, the privilege, I think, also of having great managers along the way, and I’ve considered many of them mentors, as well, you know, many times, you know, I can sort of shift from my manager and change to a mentor relationship with those people, and have used them as well, as I, you know, worked through, you know, advancing my career. Unknown Speaker 4:46 And then I’ve had, you know, certainly a sponsor along the way as well. So, I think that there, you know, have been a big and important part.

4:53 And there’s been I was reflecting as far as who was thinking about this podcast and all those different individuals and how should really go

5:00 Back and thanks, um, that I haven’t talked to in a long time. Isn’t that so interesting? And I love what you’re saying, because I feel like it’s almost been a theme through this podcast series is like, mentoring can look like so many different things. It doesn’t have to be a formal process necessarily. And I even think for me, I look at people as mentors, who they may have no idea that to me, absolutely, yeah, yeah. I mean, I’m thinking about peers, you know, I, you know, certainly now, you know, just call a friend, right, a longtime peer from Medtronic, you know, I might just call them, you know, to talk through something. And that certainly is still mentoring, whether they really recognize it or not, right.

5:45 Yeah, I think many people don’t realize it’s happening. Yeah. And as I say, it sounds like so you still enlist mentors, even at this stage in your career? Yes, definitely. And again, probably now, more informally. Unknown Speaker 5:59 But, uh, definitely do. Again, many times with a peer relationship, or sometimes, you know, a past manager, I find them sometimes to be good, you know, people that I can reach out to now in a more mentoring relationship, that they’re no longer my direct, you know, boss. Yeah, that’s a great point. Now, I want to make a little shift here, because you were recently recognized as a recipient of the Wallan award. And for those who might not know, it is one of the most prestigious leadership awards given annually at Medtronic. So can you maybe talk a little bit about that, and what it means to you.

6:35 I mean, truly, the biggest honor of my career, when I got the phone call, I was, you know, completely shocked. Certainly very humbled, but just very, you know, honored to be recognized. I feel that, you know, it’s really all of the amazing leaders at Medtronic that I had the privilege of learning from throughout my career, you know, that helped shape who I am as a leader today, and really, you know, played such an important role in getting me to that point. And then my team as well, I feel that I am, you know, I’m supported by an amazing team that I get to work with every day. And that’s, you know, I think a big part of loving, being a leader and being your best self, when you have a team that inspires you to Unknown Speaker 7:25 that, you know, I think makes it fun. And makes you know, you’d be you know, you’re trying to better yourself along with the team. So yeah, just super humbled and honored.

7:38 And it was, you know, something, I remember one of my old leaders talking about it, and not me thinking, Gosh, I would love to win that someday, but just still want it, you never think it’s going to actually happen. So it’s so exciting. And you mentioned how it had you kind of thinking back at some of the leaders that you’ve worked with, you know, I think leadership can look a number of different ways. So what would you say is the filter by which you lead? Like, how, and why is it important for you to show up in the way that you do? Unknown Speaker 8:08 Now, for me, it’s really about being authentic. I, I think early on in my career developed this, I guess, brand of speaking up, and leading with candor. And there’s been times when I’m like, Who was that? Did I go out too far? And I’ll even you know, go ask for feedback. Right? Was that? Did I challenge too much? And everyone always says, No, that is what you know, is what makes you great. And don’t ever stop doing that. So I’m definitely not afraid to speak up to, you know, challenge, a decision or something that’s being planned or ask a hard question, you know, spark some debate. Unknown Speaker 8:55 You know, but

8:58 it’s definitely, you know, I’m very passionate about, you know, what I do, and in really the field organization, right, and this in my role, it’s about fighting for them, and helping people who don’t work with them every day, sometimes, you know, understand

9:15 how a decision they’re making could impact that team in a way they just haven’t thought of. And that really does require, you know, being vocal and helping, you know, drive understanding. So, yeah, I think that’s

9:31 what you’re talking about, like being authentic, because I think sometimes, I know, like, for myself in the past, I felt like I have to be very corporate, I have to be like this. And I think oftentimes as women, we don’t necessarily embrace that authenticity. So I think the fact that you’re winning Leadership Awards, and like, right, you’re having fun, and you’ve been here for so long, that says something about the importance of it, right? Yeah, right. I mean, and just, you just can’t be a friend. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it doesn’t work, right. I mean, especially, you know,

10:00 There’s times when gosh, I just, I really feel like I need to say something in the moment isn’t there, and then you just can follow up on the side. But when you can find the moment, you know, in a conversation or a meeting or whatever to,

10:14 you know, share your, your voice, I think it’s, you know, so important. And sometimes I do it through, I might text someone, if I’m virtual, and they’re in the room, you know, I might try to text the person in the room to get my voice heard, right. And then they might help enable that. Oh, you know, they’ll ask something else. So I think you can do it in different ways. Or if you’re not used to it, Unknown Speaker 10:36 you know, there’s, there’s ways that you can start to insert yourself if just speaking up isn’t, you know, the easiest? Yeah, that is a great tip. You know, we just came back recently from the Women in Leadership Conference. And that was one, what one of the speakers had talked about, like, kind of going around the room and enlisting the support of others, as you’re trying to, like, have your voice heard at the table. So I think that’s such a great point, a great reminder for people, and that we can play that role for others, right. I mean, I just think about I there was a recent, as we were doing some, you know, strap planning, there was someone in the room that was actually a former manager of mine, and he was really supporting, you know, kind of playing off like something that I would say, and I followed up afterwards, just saying thank you, because we have to support, you know, others in that same way and help build people, you know, build their case, if you do agree with someone that can be another opportunity to

11:33 share your voice while supporting someone else. Yeah, that’s so great. And would you say that’s kind of where you see Leadership and Mentoring? Maybe have some connections? Unknown Speaker 11:44 Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think, you know, leadership, it’s, you know, common goal, how are we going to get there, right, and making sure we’re gonna deliver the results. But certainly Mentoring can fit in there in terms of like, how we do it, right? How are we going to get there? Or what might someone you know, need in terms of

12:05 some coaching along the way? Or how do you think about achieving a goal and either giving someone a stretch assignment and kind of mentoring them through that as a leader, so they can develop a new skill, but also help, you know, get the team to achieve what they need? Unknown Speaker 12:24 Yeah, that is, that’s such a great point, too. Just as a reminder, like, I think, having someone give you the stretch, goal, but maybe also like us taking the initiative to try to think of some stretch goals that we might want on and be able to take it to a mentor and ask for the assistance or ask for the opportunity. I think sometimes when people look at someone like at your level, they might be intimidated to even ask for like the mentoring help. So I guess, what would you say to someone who feels intimidated? And then what would you maybe give us some tips that might help them along the way? Well, you’re never gonna get it if you don’t ask what you have to add. I mean, I think there’s so many people that you might think are not approachable, that, in fact, are very, you know, and willing to help. I mean, again, I remember, when I was interviewing for the first time for a national leadership role, I, you know, asked someone to help prepare for that, at the time, and I didn’t think she wouldn’t take as much time as she did. But she, you know, really supported me and gave me great advice, and probably helped me get that job right, by being a mentor and sort of a sponsor as well. But if you don’t ask, you aren’t going to get that help. And I think again, if you ask someone, I think they’re almost always going to say, yes. Might it be a yes. But maybe not at, you know, this week? Of course, right? It might be a timing thing. Or if they really can’t take on a formal mentoring, maybe they’ll just do, you know, an initial meeting and help connect you to someone else in their network that does have, you know, capacity to take on, you know, a mentor, certainly not everybody can, you know, have a tumor, you know, can’t have too many formal mentors. But I think everyone’s always willing to have that initial connection.

14:20 And then, you know, help enable, you know, connecting you to others that, you know, might be have more time or, you know, and still be the right fit. Yeah, I think that’s important. Two things that you just mentioned, the importance of network gain. I think sometimes some, sometimes people look at that as like, oh, I don’t want to bother anyone, but you never know who they might know. And I remember a mentor early on said to me, Michelle, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you right? So it’s like, you might not be able to help right now, but maybe you will have another colleague that’s maybe even a better fit for someone. Yeah, and I think that is absolutely one of my favorite things. You know, I often meet especially with people that are internal and want to get to the field and Unknown Speaker 15:00 Then I see, you know, all of a sudden later, it’ll show up on LinkedIn, right that they now have a field job. And I’m like, oh my god, it’s so exciting, right? Like, I remember that first conversation where they were just exploring it, and I just sort of helped guide them to the next person. And, you know, they took it from there. But, you know, it is about just helping people connect the dots. You know, I met with even someone this week that was referred to me. I’m like, oh, gosh, I can’t really, you know, I don’t have anything to help you with right in the moment. But now I know who you are, I know what your interests are, you know, I know what you’re looking for. And I can, you know, keep you in mind, as you know, I think of either connections or opportunities, that might be a good fit. So I think, you know, everyone loves to do that, you know, it’s what makes Medtronic I think, such a great place that we can share talent and, you know, make those connections. So I Yeah, it’s all about though, starting that relationship. Yeah, starting. And I think the other thing that you’ve touched on is making it known what you want. I know that, you know, I had interviewed for a DM role years ago, and the regional vice president was like, Michelle, I had no idea like, now that I know, you have interest, I will add, you know, I will keep an eye out. So it’s also like, people can’t read our minds. Right? We need to have conversations. Yes, yes. Again, I think about early in my career, I said, Okay, why don’t you know, at one point, I want to be a people leader. And at the time, I also wanted to move to Washington, DC. So I, you know, reached out to both the managers that were in this location and made sure they knew both what I wanted to do, and that that’s where I wanted to be, you know, you have to, I think that’s a big part of you own your own career, right. And you have to make those steps. I mean, I’ve had people reached out and asked me to be a mentor, and then I actually never hear from them again. So or, you know, we have one meeting, and I’m like, the rest is on you, right? You, um, you know, can be there and will support it. But you have to own the Okay, how often are we going to meet come, you know, prepared for, you know, robust conversation so we can make the best use of the time? Yes, oh, my gosh, so, you know, with a spire, we used to consistently have the annual meetings in person. And we’re working on getting back to that. And something you just said, totally brought me back to one of the first meetings I ever went to for years, I wanted to get to this meeting. And it always like something came up in the territory, and I wasn’t able to make it. And I finally made it, and there was a speaker and now I’m like, I’m wondering if it was you. And I can’t remember who it was. But they said exactly what you’re talking about. You focus on your territory, you help your doctors, you know, oftentimes, we have blinders on. And we want to help the patients and do everything there. But you need to be the one to take control of your career, and you need to be the one that owns it and develops it and nobody else is going to do that for you. And I feel like that was such a shift for me. And again, that just goes back to like that person made such an impact in my life. And I totally blanked on, like who said it? But I’m like, whoever it was, thank you. Yeah. Unknown Speaker 18:04 Right, because again, if you don’t know what you, you know, you’re not taking those steps. You know, everyone’s busy. And if, if other people are asking people for that help, and making themselves clear on what they want, they’re going to end up being the one that people remember to, you know, tap back into? Yes. Now, one thing that you’ve touched on a couple of times, and for anyone who might not be fully might not fully understand, you’ve talked about mentor and sponsor, can you maybe just clarify how you see each one? Yeah, I mean, I think a mentor is sort of like, you know, Unknown Speaker 18:40 getting you you know, more dated, you know, frequent, regular, not frequent, but, you know, regular conversations and, you know, supporting kind of your just standard career development, and that can really happen at any phase. But when I think about sponsor that’s really like an elevated leader or someone, you know, maybe a couple levels above you, that’s really going to be the one you know, in the room that can either help make higher level connections or, you know, bring up your name. So, Unknown Speaker 19:11 you know, championing you at much higher levels, but maybe with like less frequent interactions from a day to day type of coaching, relationship. Okay, makes total sense. This has been so helpful. Have we missed anything?

19:27 No, you know, I think that again, it’s really about, you know, I think owning your situation and, Unknown Speaker 19:36 you know, making sure that, you know, you seek out the help that you need, and take that on and, you know, I think we did talk about it, but I think it’s just that reminder that it doesn’t always have to be formal, right? It can be a combination of, you know, singular interactions that are, you know, either about a situation

20:00 mission or learning about a career path can end up being a conversation that’s like, part exploratory part, you know, a mentor relationship, or that’s how you might find someone that can, you know, serve as a mentor, it could start as I want to learn more about what you do, you know. Unknown Speaker 20:17 So I think it can take on, you know, many shapes. And again, even Peer Mentors can be important. Unknown Speaker 20:25 So, I love that. I think that a lot of times, too, as you’re saying that I feel like, you know, a lot of people, especially at Medtronic, right, they’re high achieving people who sometimes have this, like perfectionistic, thinking that there’s a right and a wrong way. So just reiterating that there’s no wrong way to do it, right. Like, it’s the way that works best for you. Right? And again, at different points in your career, you’ll need different things, right? Maybe you don’t know what’s next. And you know that, or you’re very happy in your current role, but you want to just get better at it. Right? Or, you know, what is next? I think, depending on where you’re at, in those different parts of your career journey, then they lend themselves to different types of, you know, mentoring opportunities. Yes. And I love, I feel like the theme that you’ve talked about, you know, having it look any sort of way, and people going back and thanking them, it’s such a great example of the theme of aspire for this year, multiply your impact, because I feel like we can multiply our impact and maybe not even know what that is. Right, just showing up and help. Yes, absolutely. And I think yes, when you show up and support people, and, you know, they may be least expected, it just makes such a difference. And it can be the little things, right, you know, sending someone just a, an email saying thank you, or, you know, for me, it’s, you know, if someone copies me on a message that’s, you know, recognizing someone I always try to also reply and, you know, support them. So, so great. How can people best connect with you is like LinkedIn the way to, yeah, that’s fine. Or I mean, people could also just send me an email, if they want to reach out, either with a question or if someone’s really looking to set up time, you know, I’m happy. I’m very, I try to make myself as available as possible. Again, sometimes scheduled pending, you know, might take a couple of weeks to, to actually connect live. But yeah, I will do my best. I feel like all the things that we do in life, it’s right at the perfect time. So whenever that is, it’s all very.

22:27 Thank you so much. This has been so much fun. Yes, no, it’s been so great. Michelle, thank you so much. Thank you. Wasn’t that great? I mean, listen, we talked about leadership. We talked about mentorship. And I think the biggest takeaway from all of it, is that you need to be the leader of your career journey. You need to own what mentoring looks like for you. You need to be able to have clarity on what that is for you. Or at least let’s face it, some sort of an idea right to get started. And then don’t be afraid to ask for help. It seems like everyone really does want to be part of the multiplier impact and help each other. It truly is about the ripple effect. You lead the way my friends, nobody else is going to do it for you. Okay, I’m excited to share tomorrow’s guest with you. It has just been so much fun doing these episodes so please be sure to check back for another installment in our mentoring series week but for now, make it a great day. Take care

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