Wendy Carruthers, Senior Vice President of HR at Boston Scientific, shares her journey as an HR leader.
A variety of experiences is the key to success, according to Wendy Carruthers. A degree in modern languages set Carruthers on a path to global HR positions with responsibilities that spanned across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the United States. A fluent speaker of three languages, she has served as an HR leader at Boston Scientific since 2004.
She enjoys water skiing, going to the theater and opera, and spending time with family. She gives back by serving on the Greater Boston Food Bank Emeriti Board.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Leading our organization through the complexities of the pandemic and facing long-standing inequities and systemic racism that were painfully exposed over the last year was by far my greatest challenge. There was no HR playbook. We were guided by our values as we made quick, tough decisions to protect the health and safety of our employees and ensure our medical innovations reached our customers and their patients when they needed them. It was also a time for bold action. We took a stand against racism and began work to ensure we were doing our part to address inequities and strengthen inclusion both in our workplace and in our communities. While there is more to do, I am energized by the agility, resilience and creativity of our team. I know we will emerge from this time stronger and better, together.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Early in my career, a colleague told me to “take off the mask” and stop giving “corporate” answers. I took that advice to heart. By being more authentic and vulnerable, I believe that I have become a more effective, caring leader.
What advice would you give to someone starting in HR?
Do what it takes to get to know the business. Be curious. Ask questions. Reach out to others internally and externally to understand the challenges they face so your solutions matter. This also means taking a multi-faceted approach to your development—focus on actions that contribute to your overall growth and build confidence for your next opportunity. Have the courage to take on varied experiences not only in HR, but outside of HR as well—it will make you a better HR leader. I wish I had given my younger self that last piece of advice!
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