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Boardroom Insights

Kathy DiGiorno, Vice President, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, Medtronic

November 6, 2009

Kathleen Erickson DiGiorno, vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer of Medtronic, Inc., spoke on Nov. 6, 2009, in the Jordan Auditorium at the Mendoza College of Business.

Insight: “Some people have a very defined career plan, but it is also good to be open to opportunities as they come up.”

I was working at a law firm that “loaned” me out to Medtronic for a year. That was risky; it took me off the standard law firm path, but it felt like a good move.  Later on, Medtronic offered me a position. I was a partner at my law firm, but I weighed the pros and cons and accepted it.

I think about balance a lot. I am married and have four children. I have a busy job and travel a fair amount. My husband is a part-time architect and is able to work from home. We made a decision that my job wins when there’s any conflict. My secret weapon is that my mom lives a mile and a half from my house.

I would advise students thinking about their careers to consider the issue of mobility. We live in a very mobile society, and when you sign on to certain jobs, you are signing on to be mobile. My family has lived in the same place for 25 years now. I like that groundedness.

The field of health care will be a very good place to work in the future. As life expectancy increases, the world population is aging, and as people grow older they need more health care.  Also, many populations around the world are underserved in terms of health care products. There will be good opportunities in medical technology companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, physician practices, and public policy.

 

Kathleen Erickson DiGiorno is vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer at Medtronic Inc., a Minneapolis-based medical technology company that makes devices such as pacemakers. She has global responsibility to ensure that ethics and compliance programs are administered on behalf of the company. Before joining Medtronic in 1998, she was a shareholder at Briggs and Morgan P.A. in St. Paul., Minnesota, where she represented corporate clients.  She also clerked for the Honorable Frank Magill, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame and graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School.


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