Woman of Distinction 2022: Mary Beth Navarra-Sirio
Mary Beth Navarra-Sirio - SVP, Product Management - ConnectiveRx
What would you do if you didn’t work in healthcare?
I would buy a piece of land in Italy (or California) and grow grapes, make wine and open a cooking school. I believe that breaking bread together enables you to really get to know others, so no better way than over good Italian food and wine!
Can you give a shout-out to someone who helped you at a pivotal time in your career?
I have been fortunate to have so many people who helped me along the way. I started my career as a nurse and had so many mentors as I learned the ropes in the hospital. When I made the move into developing healthcare products I again had so many who helped me— particularly with the business side. The team of executives that I joined many years ago at Automated Healthcare including Rich Lunak and Caren Tobin are still two of my go-tos today!
How has the pandemic reset the rules on your work-life balance?
I am not so sure that it really did. I have spent much of my career working remotely with teams across the country, so that wasn’t new for me. Since I have a daughter in grade school, when the kids were doing Zoom Classes, it did force me to get much more flexible and creative with managing meetings during school time!
What do you find frustrating about working in healthcare marketing?
Healthcare is very personal. Sometimes it’s hard to connect and communicate at the personal level about things that are scientific, technical and often very regulated. Yet it’s very important for patients and their families to really understand the benefits, risks and tradeoffs so that they can make the best choices for their own health and wellness. Sometimes we take a very paternalistic approach in telling patients what they should do, rather than educating them and supporting and empowering their choice.
What are you doing to send the career ladder back down?
I have spent much of my career mentoring others, particularly other women. I believe that it is our job as leaders to help the next generation of leaders accomplish their goals. ConnectiveRx currently is piloting a great program on sponsorship to promote diversity and inclusion in leadership. I am enjoying working with my sponsee who is one bad-a** woman leader (I am sure I am learning more from her than she is from me!)
What is one thing you would tell young women starting their careers in healthcare marketing?
Learn early how to speak confidently. Whether you are presenting to a small group or at a large conference, be prepared, know your facts, learn how to tell the story so that your message comes through loud and clear.
Recount an experience with the healthcare system, positive or negative, that inspires you.
As a nurse, I had the opportunity to see both the best and worst of what healthcare has to offer. The resilience of patients who are determined to not let their illness define them is truly inspiring, as is the dedication of the healthcare professionals who help patients to achieve their goals. I joined the industry to lead the development of healthcare technology because I believe that it can truly improve the lives of both patients and caregivers — if we adopt it. Think about how much paper and manual process still occurs in healthcare compared to banking or shopping! The slow rate of automation and adoption of technology has inspired me to work harder both in product development — to ensure that solutions truly put patients in the center and improve their healthcare journey and in telling the story so that patients and healthcare professionals are willing to give it a try.
Favorite TV show/movie/song/book?
Bruce Springsteen is hands down my favorite musician and I love all his albums (OK, maybe I only like Nebraska). His Born to Run album takes me back to my early school days and brings back so many memories of growing up!