Rebecca Rehm is the Compliance Officer at Olympus Corporation of the Americas. In addition to her compliance role at Olympus, she is co-lead of the Olympus LGBTQ Colleague Affinity Network and co-chair of AdvaMed’s PRIDE Leadership Network. She has been in compliance and ethics for the past 10 years, in-house with Olympus for the past five, and consulting cross-industry, including in pharma, for the prior five. She has a background in healthcare and education and worked previously at Mass General Brigham and Harvard Medical School.  She joined us to answer a few questions about herself:

Tell us about your hometown.   

I grew up in Lake George, New York, a small vacation destination nestled in the Adirondack Mountains. It is very rural, and I had only 87 students in my very homogenous high school class. Although I had a wonderful childhood, I was always excited to experience more. After a stop in Maryland and a couple of others in Massachusetts, I now live in the Town of Harvard, Massachusetts, also a small town, which my wife and I chose for the beautiful conservation land and great public school system for our kids.  

What does PRIDE mean to you?   

When I think about what pride means to me, it’s not really pride in my identity as a lesbian. I think I’d be proud of whoever I am. It’s really pride in my journey. That journey including coming out to my loved ones in the nineties when it was a hard time to do it. It’s pride in knowing that when my partner and I met we advocated for same-sex marriage and ultimately got married and have been married for 18 years. And it’s pride that living our lives authentically has, I think, made our world safer for other LGBTQ+ people.  

Why the medtech industry?   

With a background in biology and neuroscience, healthcare was a natural fit for my interests and skills. I started out in genetics professional education, and what I’ve found being at Olympus is that educating is like selling – you have to know your content or product, engage someone else in it, convince or sell them, and then you get to see great outcomes. The actual science of medical technology is also interesting to me – products you can hold in your hand, the mechanics of them – and when I had the opportunity to watch a surgeon use an Olympus for brain surgery, I was fascinated. Having been in compliance and ethics supporting healthcare companies for over 10 years, I can truly see the impact of my role on making people’s lives healthier, and that is ultimate reason I love the Medtech industry. 

What advice do you have for other LGBTQ people in the medtech industry?   

Bring your authentic self to work. Research shows that people who behave genuinely and authentically report less anxiety and are significantly more likely to win pitches and be hired than those who cater to others’ interests and expectations. In addition, after you’ve brought that authenticity and if you’re comfortable, share your story with those in our industry. Research also shows that hearing personal stories allows us to take others’ perspectives, which increases our motivation to respond without prejudice. By being authentic and sharing your story, you’ll find allies and a community of people with similar stories, which will be a wonderful support as you progress in medtech.