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Camille Chang Gilmore, Boston Scientific
Camille Chang Gilmore represents the voice of more than 35,000 Boston Scientific employees worldwide in her role as Vice President of Human Resources and Global Chief Diversity Officer. Guided by her passion for “Faith, Family and Football,” she talked with WEN’s Chair, Tracy MacNeal, about how her passions translate to the corporate world.
Tell us about your philosophy of “Faith, Family, and Football”!
Camille: My family is incredibly important to me, as is my faith and, football encompasses more of life than you might imagine. Life is about offense and defense and every player has a role to play. As executives we should look at ourselves like a team; conditioning ourselves to be ready to play on game day. There will be highs and lows, and one game can’t define you. It’s the next play and the next game that push you forward. We want to learn from our mistakes and not let one thing that beat us, beat us a second time.
How do football lessons play out in the corporate world?
There is no such thing as life/work balance—it’s life/work integration. In football, most people only see the game day decisions on Saturday or Sunday, whether the coach decides on their personnel and whether to pass or throw. The real work is done during the week in the preparation. As leaders, we decide whether to work from home or travel, but we know we must get the job done. Regardless of your marital or parental status, you’ll have to make decisions and make sure you have the support you need to make those decisions happen. How we prepare will have an impact on our success. I sometimes felt guilty when the kids were little, but now my boys are grown men who are independent and resilient, and they seek powerful partners who know what they want. I helped create that—they were watching me even when I wasn’t aware of it. We know that as a family we are a team, we work together, are there for one another, we put in the work that others don’t always see and have a desire for a winning outcome for our team.
What are some key messages you received from your mentors?
Mentors are so important. One of my mentors once said, “Yes, you might be the only woman, and the only woman of color in the room. Own it. You’re the only person who can bring that unique perspective to the table.” We created a mentor program at Boston Scientific’s EXCELerate program, a multi-year sponsorship focused on the career development of female talent in a range of technical fields, including R&D, manufacturing, supply chain, clinical, quality, information technology, global business systems and security. We also have a Women’s Network Employee Resource Group with global chapters that shares best practices and encourages coaching and development opportunities. A key lesson that I have learned through these and other experiences is to never hide who you are. The most successful leaders I’ve seen are authentic to who they are, and comfortable in their own skin. One of my proudest accomplishments saw one of my mentee’s grow from a secretary to a manager. I’ve enjoyed seeing her grow and be productive. My goal for everyone in the company is to be an individual who can offer help and support. My first boss at Federal Express laid the groundwork when she taught me the importance of building a winning team by making everyone feel like they were the reason we succeeded.
What are some developments in healthcare that you’re excited about?
One of the programs that I oversee is Close the Gap. It is Boston Scientific’s health equity initiative focused on raising awareness about health disparities impacting women and people of color through collaboration with physicians and patient advocacy groups. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, but women and people of color are treated at a lesser rate than Caucasian men. Close the Gap’s vision is to have a world where all patients—regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and sexual orientation—understand their medical conditions and have access to therapies to help them live better lives. Close the Gap is working toward this by connecting underserved populations to quality care through strategic partnerships. By providing insights, education and data—this program is helping to spread awareness of and eliminate the existing barriers to care by empowering patients to become advocates for their health.