Sara Dubuque is a Senior Manager in operations at LivaNova. She supports the internal and external Obstructive Sleep Apnea neurostimulator manufacturing, product integration, remediation, commercialization and next-generation design. She’s been with the company since February 2012.
Q: What made you pursue engineering as a career choice?
A: I started my bachelor’s as a premed student, but the program didn't require any advanced math courses. I spoke with my calculus professor about pursuing more math and he encouraged me to check out the engineering program. He said, "Engineers have a much higher acceptance rate into medical programs, and it's a great mix of science and math." The next semester, I started my engineering degree and loved it.
Q: If you were asked by another female engineer who was considering applying for LivaNova, how would you describe your experience at the company?
A: My experience at LivaNova has been tremendous. Relocating from Massachusetts to Texas, people warned me the Southern mentality might not be women friendly. I came in with the perspective that I might have to fight for myself here, but that wasn't the case at all. LivaNova is very welcoming, and I immediately felt welcomed to the LivaNova family. Working here is a wonderful opportunity for women to thrive into their careers.
Q: Is there a woman who mentored or inspired you throughout your career?
A: Interestingly, I can't identify a female role model in my life, but I've had many great male mentors. My college advisor/ professor led me on a successful path to grad school. After grad school I had a mentor who was the CEO of a medical device company in Switzerland. He was my counterpart who took an active role in making sure I was successful as an engineer. To this day, I reach out to him for advice saying, "I feel like I'm working ten times harder than these men because I'm a woman. I feel I have to prove myself." He always responds in a supportive way with comments such as, "Yes, that's very common. That is how women feel in the workplace and you don’t have to do that." He built my confidence to be both a great mom and engineer, pointing out all the skills that I developed as a mother (multitasking, organization, patience), I then brought to the workplace. He helped me work through guilt and find a balance.
Q: What inspires you to do this work?
Q: What advice would you give to women engineers who are entering the workforce?
A: Sometimes it's really intimidating being one of the few women in the room but be proud of it. You belong here and you should sit at the table. Don't be intimidated.
Q: Why would you encourage other women in medtech to come work for LivaNova?
A: It's amazing to see how we help our patients through the products we're developing, the roadmap and growth for the future. There's so much opportunity at LivaNova to grow within your career and to work on products that will change the world.
Q: Can you share with us a little-known fact about yourself?
A: I manage stress and strive to be an athlete for life by playing competitive soccer and practicing Pilates year around. During winter, I love to snowboard with my family. The silence of snow and gliding across a freshly-covered trail is my ultimate tranquility.
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