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A career with purpose: Insights from Stryker's VP, Group Financial Officer, Preston Wells

Updated: Apr 3

Meet Preston Wells. Today, he’s the Vice President and Group Financial Officer for Stryker's Orthopaedics and Spine Group, a Most Influential Black Executive in Corporate America (2022, Savoy Magazine), father, coach and a man who loves his job.

 

Now, let’s flash back to 2014: Preston was on a quest. He left a company he’d been with for over 16 years to try something new and continue growing professionally. “For me, it was really about trying to find different experiences, while broadening my thinking beyond just one company.”  During this time, he came to realize how much he missed the impact of mission-driven work.  This realization eventually led Preston to Stryker where he brought a wealth of knowledge, valuable insights, and lessons on how to love what you do. Lucky for us, he decided to share what he’s learned along the way.

 

5 tips on building a fulfilling career


1.    Seek opportunities aligned with what you believe

Some jobs feel like a means to an end instead of fulfilling our unique purpose in life.   We’ve all been there at some point. Throughout his career, Preston has come to realize how important it is to find work that aligns with your values. Believing in the company's mission and seeing the impact of his job has helped fill him with a sense of pride and purpose. "I love that I’m part of something that is making a difference. I’m part of a company that is having a lasting and positive impact on people. From a career perspective, I couldn't be happier to attach my name, work ethic, time and strengths to help our company grow.” 


2.    Lean into uncomfortable situations 

When Preston started at Stryker, he was surprised by (and a little unsure of) the close-knit culture Stryker has. Colleagues went beyond being coworkers and became friends in, and outside of work, which he wasn’t used to at past companies. Reflecting, he shared "It's wild how true the best friend at work atmosphere is at Stryker. It can create a little bit of a daunting feeling at first, but after you build the relationships it's amazing to have people you feel that close to."  While drinking the ‘Kool-Aid’ might seem cliché, the friendships and support system Preston has built through his Stryker network has helped increase his job satisfaction and his career trajectory.


3.    Take advantage of opportunities – even the ones that seem hard

Preston has always believed that if opportunities present themselves, it’s up to the individual to take advantage of them.  Some opportunities might not look all that attractive on paper – but those are the experiences he finds most intriguing. “I like a challenge.  If it were easy, then anybody could do it. If it’s tough? Then that is when I know it is something that will help me learn and grow.  I truly believe that during those experiences, I have had the opportunity to make an impactful difference.”  Preston’s instinct to run toward opportunities that others might run away from has helped create some of his biggest successes. “Working together to solve complex issues is much more fulfilling than working within a well-oiled machine."


4.    Empower the people you work with

We all want a manager who will inspire us to not only do our jobs well but also teaches us how to lead with our strengths. During Preston’s 25-year career across different industries, he has had the chance to lead many diverse teams.  He truly believes that by sharing clear expectations and creating an open, safe environment, his teams have autonomy to do their jobs and do them well. "For me, it's always been about clarity of expectations and trust. If I'm clear on what the expectations are and I trust my team to do their jobs, then I can stay out of their way and let each individual do what they do best to achieve their goals.”  This approach builds respect and trust for both Preston and his teams – leading to a more positive and productive workplace.


5.    Learn and grow from failure

Failure isn’t a forbidden word for Preston. He embodies a proactive approach to failing and encourages a culture where trying new things is embraced. He believes in learning from failures fast and using them as opportunities for future growth and development. His mantra? "We are going to try some things that don't work, and if they don’t, we're going to fail fast and learn from those failures and course correct to find the right solution after that."


Preston’s journey at Stryker showcases the power of purpose, taking risks, embracing change, and the significance of strong workplace relationships. As he continues to make a positive impact in his role, Preston's insights serve as inspiration for aspiring leaders, showing that going beyond your comfort zone can lead to some pretty amazing results.


Ready to write your #StrykerStory? Start by visiting our careers page today.

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