The first female Chief Engineer at Stryker's Instruments division talks engineering and triathlons.
Updated: Jan 8
Megan James joined Stryker in 1997 as a design engineer and never looked back. Now firmly rooted in Michigan with her family, she’s raising the bar in the engineering world and is an inspiration to us on how to have it all.
Did you always know engineering was for you?
I was always interested in how things worked. As a kid I would be the one who took things apart, tinkered with it, then put it together again. I went on to study mechanical engineering and am passionate about using those skills as a design engineer.
What has two decades at Stryker been like?
It’s flown by! When I first started, Stryker was much smaller than our current 38,000+ employees and things were different. We had fellow female engineers on the team but not as many as we see today, the technology has grown and of course, so have I. Starting out as design engineer there was a steep learning curve. I learned the ropes and proved myself which led to more responsibilities, larger projects and promotions—it’s great knowing that Stryker values my contributions and rewards my performance. I’ve also had good mentors, and now I do the mentoring instead, guiding young engineers on their journey.
What do you love most about being an engineer at Stryker?
What I love about Stryker is the talented people that I work with daily. Seeing the amazing things they do makes me want to be a better engineer and person. I like this constant organic challenge. I also like that Stryker has developed career paths for engineers as that means I can keep doing what I love doing and not plateau in my career – it keeps me focused, creative and motivated.
What does work life balance look like for you?
I’m a believer of long-term balance rather than daily balance and that works for me. I’ve also always had supportive managers who supported and believed in me and that made it easier to deal with professional or personal changes in my life.
What is life like outside of work?
I make sure to carve out some ‘me’ time for triathlons—I love training for these as well as the competition of racing. At last count I've completed over 100 sprint, Olympic and half Ironman distance races including amateur national and world championship races.
Do you have advice for engineers looking to join our growing Stryker family?
Absorb as much as you can and keep your eyes open, you may not know exactly what you want to do in the future, so do what you do now as best as you can. There are so many opportunities within Stryker, technology that hasn’t been invented yet and even jobs that don’t exist right now—it will be an adventure!