Lisa Sampson is a Manager, Quality Engineering - New Product Development at LivaNova. Lisa is responsible for ensuring that new products are designed and manufactured with product quality and patient safety at the forefront. She’s been with the company since November 2016.
Q: What made you pursue engineering as a career choice?
A: I wanted to be a doctor when I was little. But when I was getting ready for an event in middle school, I shaved off a piece of skin on my shin and discovered I was queasy at the sight of blood. I realized I couldn’t do a doctor career path, but because I was young, I still had time to decide. I loved math and science in school. So, the opportunity to combine medicine with math and science made me interested in biomedical engineering. I studied it in college and continued it as my career path.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your career path and what led you to LivaNova.
A: I studied biomedical engineering at Rice University and sought a job in the engineering field. Some fellow Rice graduates were working at LivaNova in Customer Quality and Manufacturing Engineering, and they highly recommended the company. So I applied and fell in love. I started in Customer Quality, the complaint handling group. After a couple of years, I switched to quality engineering. I enjoy my time here.
Q: Is there a woman who mentored or inspired you throughout your career?
A: I’ve learned from many women throughout my life. In college, Dr. Ann Saterbak in Rice’s bioengineering program, took a vested interest in my personal and academic success. Dr. Renata Ramos at Rice was also influential between college and the workforce. After coming to LivaNova, I’ve worked with many talented women. Joan Ceasar, Njemile Crawley, JoAnn Burnside and so many coworkers have advocated for me in my growth here. Without these women and many others, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Q: What inspires you to do this work?
Q: How would you describe your experience at LivaNova?
A: At LivaNova, we work and play hard. The people here really make the journey. I work with brilliant people dedicated to helping our patients' quality of life. I enjoy the challenge. Also, LivaNova is just the right size to give employees a lot of interaction with senior leadership. They are down in the weeds with us as we solve problems and work in the supply chain and our quality system. They are interested in knowing you and what you do; they only want your success in the company. The opportunity to get one-on-one face time and the fact that your vice president knows your name is very valuable.
Q: What advice would you give to women engineers who are entering the workforce?
A: Most of the time, we talk about having a mentor, especially early in your career. But one tip that we don’t speak about as much is having a sponsor. While a mentor gives you professional and personal advice as you navigate your career, a sponsor holds a position of power and is in the room where it happens. They advocate for your career and get you opportunities that you wouldn't otherwise have if they weren’t there saying, "Lisa is capable of this," or "She would do a good job on this project." Sponsors and mentors can be the same person. But it's important to have someone advocating for your success at a company to help you shine.
Q: Why would you encourage other women in medtech to come work for LivaNova?
A: I went into medicine to help people, and the opportunity to talk and listen to our patients is paramount to our success. LivaNova does a great job highlighting our therapies and showing employees the impact, we have on each patient. Anybody interested in experiencing that should come to LivaNova. At the end of the day, every role here helps people. I'm challenged every day, and I learn so much.
Q: Can you share with us a little-known fact about yourself?
A: A fun hidden talent is that I have perfect pitch. If you play a musical note, I can recognize it without any reference or can sing a specific note when asked.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Women In Medtech
Acess the rest of the series to hear from women excelling in medical technology careers at LivaNova