Maxine Dibué began her career at LivaNova working in marketing and went on to launch the medical affairs department, which she now leads for the International region of the Neuromodulation Business Unit.
As a representative of our five LivaNova Values, she embodies the value Meaningful Innovation, in which we develop novel products and therapies to address multiple disease states.
Q: Why is Meaningful Innovation important to you and your work?
A: A lot of us are engineers and scientists, so innovation kind of comes naturally if you’re in this job. But the meaningful aspect is important to stay focused on — what’s really important to patients. And that can be really simple stuff, not the things that need a five-year R&D plan.
I think about all the patients I’ve met in my time at LivaNova. Hearing how epilepsy or depression has affected their lives has led us to think differently about the way we do things. One example is a patient who got VNS Therapy™ after a terrible 20-year journey with epilepsy. He said the higher he got titrated, the less seizures he had, but the more trouble he had sleeping. He said he wished he could turn it down a little bit at night.
We were able to build that feature into the next generation of SenTiva™. It was a simple change that could really benefit patients. That’s what I mean by meaningful innovation. It doesn’t have to be bombastic. Just understanding how patients are affected by their disease can help us design better products.
Q: Who has influenced or inspired you the most during your career?
A: That’s really easy to answer: Patients. I have hundreds of stories like the one above. It’s one thing to read on a chart or in a publication, “Epilepsy has severe socioeconomic consequences,” but it’s obviously another thing to talk to a patient who says, “The day my boss saw me having a seizure at work is the day I got fired because they are scared about the financial liabilities or legal liabilities of me driving a tractor.” Throughout my career, I’ve really tried to keep connections with patients and physicians. We discuss a lot of individual stories and try to learn from them.
Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to your and your team’s work at LivaNova?
A: There used to be physicians who were very skeptical of VNS Therapy as a technology, maybe also of the company. I’m very proud of being able to actually build relationships with a lot of these physicians, and some of them even becoming real advocates for VNS Therapy and for neuromodulation in general. I think it just came down to listening to their criticism, showing them that we as a company are really dedicated to addressing things like lack of data in certain areas or improvement in our products or improvement in our service and support. I’m proud when I see them speaking at conferences or further developing and presenting concepts that we worked on. It shows the impact you can have when you’re willing to have a dialogue and develop a relationship with people.
Q: How do you feel a sense of belonging at LivaNova?
A: We can really see the impact of our work. When you see that, you feel a sense of belonging or attachment to the therapy and thereby to LivaNova. You can see in all of our communications that patients are put first. It's not just something we say, I can really feel that people live that here. And I also am convinced that other people outside of the company can actually see that.
Another reason that LivaNova feels like home to me is that as a young Ph.D. student, I realized you could detect epileptic seizures based on heart rate and heart rate variability. When I presented this, people kind of dismissed the idea. Five years later, I joined LivaNova (then Cyberonics), which had just launched the AspireSR™. It was kind of a dream come true to work here as cardiac-based seizure detection had just launched, because it was something I had worked on in experimental setting suddenly being real.
Q: What is something people may not know about you?
A: I have been powerlifting for over a decade, and I want to do a one-year powerlifting contest with my team to see who can improve the most. My team members might be horrified in the beginning. But I like it because it doesn’t really matter where you start, at what level. It’s just about your own personal improvement, and that can be super, super motivating.
Views on Our Values
Access the rest of the series to hear from employees who embody all our Values: Patients First, Meaningful Innovation, Act with Agility, Commitment to Quality and Integrity, and Collaborative Culture.