Mentoring Week Bonus Series: A Conversation with Phoebe Swan, Senior Director Global Inclusion Diversity Equity Medtronic – Mentoring and GIDE

 In Podcast

Join me today for the fifth and final episode in our Mentoring Bonus Series. 

Today I am talking to Phoebe Swan, Senior Program Leader, GIDE at Medtronic.

Phoebe shared so many pearls of wisdom around mentoring, the importance of employee resource groups and how diversity on your personal Board of Directors can bring your greater outcomes in your career.

  • Mentoring, ERGs, and diversity with Medtronic leader Phoebe Swan.
  • Mentoring, career development, and personal growth.
  • The importance of intentionality in mentoring relationships, including being clear about goals and
  • The importance of having a diverse group of mentors and advisors to provide different perspectives and support in career development.
  • The value of being part of different ERGs and having a diverse board of directors for opportunities and exposure.
  • Mentorship and sponsorship in the workplace.
  • Career development and networking.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Android | Stitcher | TuneIn

Transcribed by OtterAI with minimal edits

You are listening to its your time podcast and I’m your host certified life coach Michelle Arnold Bourque, and today’s episode we’re sharing our final installment and the mentoring bonus series and today, we’re talking to Phoebe Swan senior leader Global Inclusion, Diversity and Equity at Medtronic, and we’re discussing mentoring, and guide as well as ERGs. 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.

Hello, hello. Hello. Welcome back to the podcast friends. Here we are our final episode of the bonus mentoring series. And I just want to say thank you to all of our guests, Carla, Julia, Radena, Steve, and today’s guest, Phoebe Swan, thank you to the entire Aspire team for all of the work that you’ve done this entire month and for allowing me the opportunity to share these amazing leaders. If you have missed any of them, please go back and listen, they all had their own unique gems to share. And thank you to you for being here for listening, for commenting. And for sharing. It has been such a delight to be part of this project. Now, let’s hop into today’s guest. Phoebe is a Senior Program Manager for Medtronic Global Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. We had a great conversation around what that means and how you can get started with mentoring groups within Employee Resource Groups. How you can take control of what your mentoring path is and why that’s important to own that she had so many gems to share. I do not want to delay us any longer. Please jump in. Take a listen. Thank you so much for being here today. This is going to be so much fun. Can you start by introducing yourself in a way that you see fit? Yes.

2:04 Okay. So I am Phoebe suave, and I have an extensive HR background is pretty broad, ranging from Comp and benefits to talent management to leadership development. And now, the inclusion diversity and equity space, which I absolutely love, because it really touches every part of Medtronic. So right now, I am the Senior Manager, program manager for the MW in network and for the Asian Impact Network. And outside of that, in addition to those responsibilities, which they are huge, don’t think that we’re just, you know, twiddling our pins. I leave the training series that we launched last year, and we’re continuing it through this year for our hub leaders, we really want to invest back in those that are the frontliners, helping us to make it happen. So that’s probably one of the most enjoyable parts of my role. Michelle Bourque 3:10 Yeah, that is so much fun. And throughout this series, people have been sharing a little bit about their stories on how mentoring has helped them. So can you maybe give a little bit of insight on from your perspective? Yes,

3:23 you know, mentoring can be formal or informal. And when I look, throughout my journey, I had informal mentors outside of my corporate environment and inside my corporate environment. And I just didn’t always know there was mentoring until I landed an official mentoring program. But whether it’s official or not, there has to be a connection, and an intrinsic desire from the person who’s going to do the Venturi. And from the person receiving the military. I’ve been in cases where I’ve mentored someone and I thought, oh, my gosh, I have to stop this. I want it more than they do. You know, it has to be balanced. But the one thing that mentoring does is that if you were to Google where the top things that make people successful, you’ll find probably mentary coaching in there be in sponsorship, because those are really critical things to help us stretch. If you had a rubber band, and you just pulled it a little bit it would fall. But if you pulled it back really far the farther you pull it back the farther Oh go and I really see mentoring being one of those tools, where you get advice, but you also have someone to listen as a thought leader to help you organize your thoughts to give you feedback as a gift. Sometimes when people say hey, I’ve got feedback for you, we all cringe. But in a mentoring relationship is usually safe. And it’s it’s one where you want that you You don’t want a quarter to go by without saying, hey, is there anything you could tell me that are suggested that I do differently. And there’s reciprocity. So let’s say that you had a mentor. And they gave you all these great ideas, but you never so go back to say, Hey, I tried that, or this helped me. Before long those precious jewels will diminish.

5:27 I love what you talk about intrinsic desire. And that feedback is a gift. I think that’s so important to remember. And that for sure has been a theme when you talk about having to say no to someone you are mentoring, because you wanted it more. The the theme that every single person has talked about is you need to own your mentor, ship journey, like take control of your career,

5:48 there are so many tools on the HR portal that can help you. being intentional is so important. So even from the first contact to say why you’ve chosen them to what are the questions were the topics we’re going to cover in our first meeting. But be responsible, don’t wait for them to schedule all the meetings. That’s the mentees responsibility. And they’re such great things. So sometimes people just want to mentor from the place where they’re trying to go. But I would say make sure you have a diverse mentoring pool, more than one person, people who don’t necessarily look like you sound like you do what you do, you’ll then find things open up to you. I started off in electrical engineering in college, and my junior year I was done, I was so done. They ignored me. So I was so done. And at that time, I didn’t really have a mentor, I didn’t have a coach, I didn’t have people to speak into my life. So I just went for it. And I switched from engineering to business now. I’m so listen to my inner gut, and did it because I was so aligned to that was working in the bake. And now when I see what I’m at what my top skills are relational, you know, collaborating with others, I probably would have done well tinkering in a corner. And not that all engineers do, but that’s where I was headed. So Mentoring can help you sound out things and test the waters and really pour out your soul. Sometimes in a corporate environment. We don’t want to tell our boss what we’re really thinking. Or sometimes you have peers that you’re competing with. And you know, well, it really sure hey, I’m fairly, but that mentor relationship is really one that’s there to help you help you be elevated.

7:54 Yeah, and I think you’re that’s such a great point. Medtronic has so many different tools. I think sometimes it might even get a little bit overwhelming. You had talked about Asian impact, and also MW en, there are also a number of erg. So can you maybe explain I guess maybe even first start with what an erg is because there might be people listening who really have no idea what we’re talking

8:16 about. Yes. Oh, thank you. Let me give you a quick overview of our ERG and network organization. So we have five networks that are really tied to the business outcomes at Medtronic and the idea II outcomes. That’s the Asian impact at Medtronic, the African descent, the Hispanic Latino, the pride network, and then the Medtronic women’s network. So those five are big five, then we have eight, employee resource groups, they’re different from the Big Five, even though it all eight of those, they’re all sprinkled throughout all five of those networks. But an example would be veterans, maybe a faith base, or abled their disabilities, there’s just a variety of them. So there’s eight that Medtronic has identified. And then we have various hubs that are under the network site, like MW in Canada, or ad in UK. And then on the other side, Serge, which is a Christian Network, they have things at the Minnesota level, but then they have things in different parts, but they all kind of work together for the same goal to advance ideas ie at Medtronic and in our community. And why is it important to be involved in erg? You know, I hear people say, hey, I want to do the manager track but there’s just not an opening. join a network and lead something you can lead without a title that’s more influential than having a tie. I know and not being able to leave. So stretch your wings, join a network, find something that you love to do or that you want to learn how to do and then serve in the in the network, you’ll find that eventually there’ll be part of your family, there’ll be part of your, I wouldn’t call it board of directors. And I don’t know if you all have heard of that concept. But it’s really an hour, be happy to share that race.

10:25 Please talk about it a little bit, we’d love to. Yeah, so what

10:29 it is, is, we all are who we are because of influences and people speaking into our lives. Well, with the Board of Directors, you’ve got your coaches, you’ve got your advisors, you’ve got your mentors, you’ve got your colleagues that you just want to be silly with, then you have your coaches and your sponsors. But there’s about 10 different roles that people can play in your life. And when we have people fill it out, sometimes they find that everybody looks the same. So you’re really not getting that diverse perspective. Why, for instance, and Phoebe had all women, because I can talk to women, I can trust women, I’m not getting that male perspective. And when you’re intentionally working on your career aspirations to go further than where you are, is good to have people to bounce ideas off. Are you isn’t a marriage, no, you don’t have to be tied down to these people forever. Live, you map them out, you can say, Oh, I have a gap here, I need to fill that in, or I have a gap over here. But these are people that you can trust, don’t get someone you don’t really has a cross if you and then you’re sharing all your stuff only because they’re good in that role. Know that someone you get one on your board, no matter how great they are, you can meet with them and get ideas, but you don’t have them in your inner circle. So I find that when I start with mentorship, then you can find all the other ones. But mentorship gives you that confidence that hey, I’m on the right track, or by now the right track, it just helps you redirect to the right path, and is a safe environment and no one’s grading you is an intrinsic type of reward.

12:23 Yeah, I think two things that you have just talked about that I think are important to also consider when you’re looking at maybe taking a different position or you know, if you want to be a manager, let’s say and you suggest to lead without title, I think that’s so important. I think also it probably opens up a lot of opportunities for you that if you just stay in your single Oh, you and you just do your thing there, you would miss out on because now if you can be in part of all the different ERGs and or have your diverse board of directors, it probably is like an umbrella of opportunities. Oh,

12:55 I love that it is so perfect. Because the more you engage with other people outside of your unit, the more you have greater exposure, you know, we say learning comes from three places. 10% is formal education. So you get your PhD will great thing. But after three years, you know, unless you’re doing something with it 20% from exposure exposure is mentoring coaching, watching others shadowing others. So that’s 20% of the learning. And then the last 70% is through experience. And that’s why we connect it back to the erg. You get in there, you figure out okay, we’re gonna run this like a business. How do we do it? Do we have the right players? Do we have succession plan, it’s things that you probably would never think about. But inside that you get to work with some of the senior vice presidents or some of the all you presidents or they come and sponsor you. It’s a way to get greater exposure and experience that you probably wouldn’t get on your own and you couldn’t just go by it if you want it to. Michelle Bourque 14:06 Yeah, I think that is so important. I know for me, like coming through the years I used to think like, well, they must recognize that I’m doing something well. And that’s not the case like you people can’t read your mind. You have to have these conversations with them.

14:18 Absolutely, absolutely. And you know, people may wonder well, how do I get a mentor? Do I ask people ask me that about sponsorship and I do want to tell us the difference between mentorship and sponsorship. So mentorship is people are talking to you. And a mentor is an experienced person willing to help and support you. Their confidential partnership focus on development advice and career growth. They act as a sounding board. Now they can transition it could be the same person that transitions over to sponsorship. That’s someone with some type of credibility, the advocate you for your next move, they talk about you when you’re not in the room, like if an opportunity comes up that they know you’re interested in. And they believe in you, they’ll support that. They’ll also help you find development. So the question might be, well, if I didn’t want a sponsor, do I just go ask? Now I can tell you is easier to ask for a mentor than it is a sponsor, your track, record your visibility, and build a relationships gives you sponsors. But mentor, you can ask people, just be sure you know what you want? Do you want someone that’s going to pat you in the back every five minutes? Or do you want someone that will be truthful and honest, and also encouraging. Nobody wants a negative net or a negative Betsy, you know, the sky is always falling. So you’ll be able to tell. So what I recommend is that people find someone set up an introductory discovery conversation and we have sheets that talk about a discovery conversation, like what do you love most about your job? If you didn’t have to work? What would you do, and then you can hear about people’s passion, you can just see, so maybe have a couple of sessions to see if it’s a good fit. It’s almost like speed dating, you have a couple of sessions to see if it fits. And then if you happen to see that, oh, this person is overly optimistic, I can never do any right. You might say, well, I’ll check it with them once in a while. Or if it’s just like, this is like a breath of fresh air. They’re not in my business unit. And they get it and they’re sharing a new another perspective. I’m gonna go for it. And you can always find out later if it doesn’t work, just be cordial. Treat everyone with respect and thank them. It doesn’t mean you cut it off right away. You could just over time, or come and ask someone, how do I cut it off. But mentorship is really really someone investing in you. They have nothing to gain. So you want to make sure that it’s a good match. Yeah,

17:13 I think that’s so important to to never just cut it off and always be cordial, because you never know like, what’s going to come around again? That’s right. That’s right. And I love what you said, you know, Regina had also talked in one of her. In the earlier interview, when she talked about kind of similar to speed dating, she had mentioned that sometimes people want to go after a mentor if there’s a certain title, but to really look at like what it what do you love about the job and like making sure it’s not just the title, but it’s what you’re talking about the passion and like what is entailed in the day to day to make sure it’s a good fit.

17:47 Yeah, and I do think you should have varying levels, some people may not think that, you know, their peer would be great to be on their board of directors, you want to have some peers on there, your peers, see you day in and day out, they may notice things about you that they admire. And they could be too shy to tell you some of the things that you’re getting ready to go down a bad path. But when you establish a safe environment where you want feedback, and you want them to be in your world, and you do it with reciprocity, meaning that you give some to it’s not all take take take is all about me, you’ll find that it’s just rewarding. And one last thing around mentoring. Just make sure that you’re making time for it, you you, you want to be prepared for every meeting like this is the one meeting where I’m going to get a breakthrough or nugget that may change my life. If you are interested like that, you’ll get jewels out of every meeting. If you have it as a check the box like this that we’ve met five times I still didn’t get promoted. Mentoring is not going to live your promotion, mentoring is going to give you a sounding board and a platform to build your muscle or pull that rubber band back further. But if you treat it like it’s just, you know something to do and it’s gonna give me an outcome that you probably have picked the wrong thing to pursue. That’s Michelle Bourque 19:28 That is great advice to be intentional with it. And I think I just want to circle back to one other thing before we close out. So if someone has been listening and they’re not part of an erg, and they want to be part of an erg, but there are so many options. How do you I guess best suggest they either get started or do you say like, join them all and see what works for you. What’s your take on that?

19:50 That was the perfect lead in. So Phoebe is a member of each of the five big networks. She He’s a member of some of the largest ERGs. And I think it’s wonderful because they’re all doing development programs, and they all are doing different things that I find interesting. So maybe you’re not the type that wants an email from this group and from that group, so you can pick one that you most affinities with, or the one that you most resonate with, you can start off there. But looking at your local community don’t always look for the big ones. Because sometimes the big ones are global, and you’re missing out on that one on one connection, you’re not in the same state or country that they’re in. But look for local connections, especially, I have found some of the promotions come by that local organization. So you get more visibility, they know who you are. But my first recommendation is to spread it out. It’s not meaning that you have to go to other events, but at least you get to hear about them. And then if that’s not your style is too much, then start off local and then go global.

21:10 Okay, that is great. This has been so helpful and so much fun. Have we missed anything?

21:16 You know, I want to tell people that you are the best asset for Medtronic, and that you are your own CEO, or there’s a lot of people that want to help your business grow. Just be intentional. And if you haven’t taken the efficacy program, which I’m not over it right now. But I tell people that program can help you understand mentoring, it can help you really take your career to the next level and be prepared for it. So just ask around going to the HR portal to find what’s out there. You can google mentoring, and find out which things are there and then try to sign up for efficacy the next time it comes around. everyone raves about that program. And it will help your career.

22:06 That is such a good tip. And can I tell you, you just kind of like nailed the end of the week with the second theme that has been in every single podcast that people want to help you like every single person we’ve interviewed has said, there’s nobody here that will tell you. No, I love it. So good. Where can people find you? Well,

22:26 they can find me on LinkedIn. And they can also find me teams now teams might be a little slower. But LinkedIn is probably best and then teams would be the second preference. Michelle Bourque 22:38 Awesome. Thank you so much.

2:40 Wonderful.

22:43 Okay, wasn’t that great. I love how she really wrapped it all up for us with a great overview of the network’s I love the idea of the Board of Directors, I think that we can all get working on that for ourselves. I have to again, just say it has been an amazing week with all of the gems that the folks shared. And I truly hope that you not only found it useful for you, but that you also take advantage of connecting with the leaders or listen, if these are not the leaders that are in alignment with what you’re looking for reach out to others. That is a theme right that has been a theme and this entire series you need to do the work to develop your career. And I always say it is great to be here and listen and I love that thank you. That is called passive learning where you see the change in your life is by taking action so please make sure you take action after listening to this series. Friends that is a wrap of this series. Thanks again for being here. Please tune in next week where I will be sharing a special multiplayer impact series episode that you will not want to miss. Okay friends, 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 Did you know you can take this work to a deeper level with me one on one, go to, and click on get started to begin

Leave a Comment