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  • Writer's pictureStryker

Women inspiring women, a multi-generational approach

Updated: Apr 4

Have you ever heard someone describe their workplace culture like “we’re a family” or “we treat each other like a family”? For Dana and Shelby – when they use these phrases it’s not just a cliché.

Dana joined Stryker in 2009 as a Sales Rep, at the time she didn’t realize that she wasn’t just accepting a job, she was changing the trajectory of her life – and taking her family along on the journey. Her niece Shelby, who’d always looked up to Dana was watching, absorbing, and unknowingly being influenced by a woman she greatly admired. Fast forward to 2022, Dana is now a Director of Sales in Stryker’s Orthopaedic Instruments Division, and Shelby is a full-time Stryker Sales Representative. But how did they get there?

We had the opportunity to speak with Dana and Shelby and learn how they’ve grown in their careers, inspired each other, and continue to motivate those around them.

Shelby was 12 years old when her “cool Aunt Dana” started working at Stryker. She watched as Dana built a career surrounded by people who cared not only for their colleague but also for Dana’s family. “Stryker fit into our families’ lives, on holidays her co-workers reached out to us, they sent cards and well-wishes. When my brother was in an accident, they came to the hospital. The way her peers cared not only for my Aunt Dana but us as extensions of her, I knew then that this culture of inclusivity was where I wanted to work.” When Shelby graduated high school, she noted with confidence in her valedictorian speech that she would work at Stryker someday.

Dana’s support never wavered. While she was developing her career at Stryker, she acted as a sounding board and a voice of reason to Shelby as she navigated college, and an early career in sales. When the days got hard or were stressful, she’d remind herself that she was doing meaningful work at a company that cared. She would push through the challenges telling herself she wanted to be with Stryker when Shelby joined – knowing Stryker could change Shelby’s life, just as it had changed hers.

One of the internal support systems Dana found was Stryker’s Women’s Network (SWN), an employee resource group committed to encouraging a more inclusive work environment and providing a forum that offers women new opportunities to grow as professionals, leaders, and individuals. “SWN is everything. It changed my life. The only reason I’m in a leadership role is in a moment of panic, I took on additional responsibilities within SWN. This opportunity helped me find self-confidence, it helped me find my voice, it showed me that I can do more at this company, and I want to.”

SWN has left an impact on more than just Dana and Shelby’s careers at Stryker, it’s laid the foundation for women and men across Stryker to challenge the status quo and work to create a professional environment where everyone can thrive.

Both women left us with advice for women starting their professional careers. Shelby reminded us, “Keep your daily goals simple; small accomplishments will lead to bigger wins and focusing on that helps me stay grounded.” Dana’s advice was, “Take up space! As women, we are so used to making ourselves uncomfortable to make others comfortable. This isn’t your practice life – it’s your real life. Live it and live it fully.”

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