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Why did you join ResMed?
I’ve been lucky enough to experience firsthand the positive impact that medical device innovation has on people. My sister was born profoundly deaf and implanted with a Cochlear implant when she was two years old. This was an Australian invention that flipped our world on its head and I think subconsciously sparked my interest in healthcare.
While studying Biomedical Engineering at UNSW we were often exposed to ResMed. What fascinated me was the level of product and technology acumen of every single person I encountered. In hindsight, I think that we take for granted the thriving medical device ecosystem in Australia in the 1980’s and 1990’s and the influence it has had on aspiring engineers. I wanted to know how the best did it. The environment they created to foster these ideas.
In my last year on university I was working in a design consultancy―designing products from defence and consumer goods to veterinary and healthcare. I was also grappling with a fleeting rugby refereeing career. In both worlds I loved the intersection of problem solving and creativity; but quickly learned that combining this with the purpose in healthcare was what motivated me most.
So I applied for ResMed’s Graduate Rotation Program―I wasn’t successful―but thankfully was offered an engineering role into the product development team responsible for our Masks. That was eight years ago.
Tell us about your career journey so far.
When I joined ResMed I expected to be here for two years (maximum) before moving on with what I had learned. I was placed in a product development team imagining what is now our AirTouch range of Masks. I was flabbergasted by the trust and challenge that they threw at a graduate engineer.
There was an engineering problem they had been grappling with for some time, and I couldn’t believe it was given to me on my first day. I actually thought they made a mistake. What I learned was this wasn’t unique. It was an environment where fresh perspectives and ideas were sought out. Where individuals were encouraged to pursue what motivated them. Yet what was most interesting was that I was encouraged to not only focus on our products, but also our processes and people. I quickly learned that it wasn’t just engineering challenges that motivated me, but more so the people and strategic components of innovation.
So following AirTouch’s launch I had an opportunity to move into design leadership; first sustaining our portfolio of masks in-market, followed by leading the design and delivery of our QueitAir venting, and then the AirFit N30i. I’ve since been lucky enough to be trusted with R&D leadership of our global Mask product development team―it’s been a privilege to have had a front row seat watching our scientists, designers, and engineers across Australia, Singapore and the US apply their craft. Not least in how they’ve harnessed the black swan events of the past few years as a disruption to rethink product development, and more broadly, creativity.
That trust and challenge I experienced on my first day has been there through every step. I’ve felt empowered to decide and yet safe to fail by coaches and mentors who have encouraged me to design a future that we want to inhabit, to break rules of the past, and taught me that how we do it is just as important as what we do. But more than that―they’ve also made me a better person. It’s really shifted my mindset that we’re not just here to build the best products, but also support our people in becoming the best versions of themselves.
What makes ResMed different from other workplaces?
There’s something special in what ResMed has built at the intersection of its people, purpose and passion. What we do is complex. We’re asking people to bring a product into the most intimate setting. To change their identity. To feel less human. And to solve for that we need the best ideas. What I’ve learnt is that for the past 30 years that ResMed has built its values off the basis that ideas are extremely fragile and often come from the quietest voices. So it has fostered a team and environment that not only increases the chance of good ideas, but also then nurtures them.
But what really got me was what I saw as the true nature of ResMed’s people. I found a team that was wildly optimistic about what can be achieved tomorrow, while harshly pessimistic about what works today. Who run towards to the problem together. What ResMed does isn’t just engineering and science. I found that it is just as much art. It is inspiration, and perspiration. It’s individual, yet relies on a team. But most of all, it was a group of people empowered to build solution that changes millions of lives―all while having a lot of fun doing it. Where else do you get that opportunity?