#AllIsAboutPeople #Episode10 @AngelaDeLaFuente

We reach the 10th Interview to bring on Authentic Leaders and we fly to California to meet with @AngelaDeLaFuente who is leading the present and future of tissue solutions for Structural Heart Disease at #EdwardsLifesciences.

If I have to choose only one quote from the interview, I would choose the following: “A successful leader has high emotional intelligence”.

I´m sure all of you are going to enjoy and learn from this interesting interview!

  • Full name: Angela de la Fuente
  • Place of birth: Guam (Territory of the United States).
  • Place of residence: San Clemente, California (United States).
  • Personal situation: Married for 25 years, mother of 2 (21 and 19 yrs old).
  • Professional situation: Director of the Tissue Center of Excellence (CoE) at #EdwardsLifesciences, mainly responsible for current and future material solutions for structural heart solutions.
  • Education: BS Biochemisty (Rutgers University) and MBA (University of Manchester, UK).
  • Hobbies: Pilates, Interior Design, Food-Cooking and Eating.
  • Favourite book: Anything from Jane Austen or anything about Leadership and Self Development.
  • Favourite movie: Grease – I love the music and dancing!
  • Favourite song: So many different genres and personal meaning to select one but spreads from classical to hip hop

“We can get through technical hurdles however dealing with people leadership issues requires different soft skill sets that not everyone is capable of being successful at”

  • What makes you get out of bed every morning? Dedicated to moving the needle to the next disruptive technology for valve replacement materials and solutions. Bringing excitement and empowerment to my team to act boldly to achieve it.
  • What has been your most professional achievement? #EdwardsLifesciences has maintained leadership in bioprosthetic valves and I have been lucky enough to be part of the development and commercialization of ThermaFix and RESILIA (tissue technologies that have been key in driving continued #EdwardsLifesciences leadership).
  • What has been the biggest professional crisis you have suffered? Crisis has never been about technical obstacles, it has always been soft skills related (motivation, ability to influence, communication style…). I always say to those who want to move into management rather than stay in a technical tract is: “We can get through technical hurdles however dealing with people leadership issues requires different soft skill sets that not everyone is capable of being successful at”.
  • What would you do differently if you could start again? Seek out mentors for perspective and an opportunity for safe conversations about career goals and coaches for feedback. 
  • What are you currently learning? How to best move from a Senior Manager level to Director role mindset. Moving from execution to strategy; such different objectives! 
  • What it looks like to lead an Engineering team developing the most advanced tissue related technologies? Leading an Engineering Team requires: a) Technical trust, gathering a talented team with demonstrated Subject Matter expertise, b) Innovation, a culture that is excited and embraces learning, thinking and acting towards solutions especially outside of the norm, c) Enablement, providing the resources and tools to make it happen and d) Practicality, balancing pie in the sky technology with actual implementation.

“I´m a leader who collaborates to have a defined vision for the team, an openness for team to creatively achieve vision and an agile perspective to act quickly as needed”

  • How would you define yourself as a leader? A leader who collaborates to have a defined vision for the team, an openness for team to creatively achieve vision and an agile perspective to act quickly as needed.
  • What is the primary characteristic of a leader? A successful leader has high emotional intelligence.
  • What are you doing or have you done to inspire your team? We are a Center of Excellence (CoE) and so we continue to build an innovative culture by providing foundational tools, hands on wet labs, relevant webinar series and Journal club presentations to keep a pulse on industry landscape. We also find opportunities to showcase our experts to Senior Leadership during appropriate presentations.
  • Tell me a Leader who has positively influenced you. Why? Greg Wright was the previous leader of the Tissue Center of Excellence and I was reporting to him for a good amount of time as a Manager and Senior Manager. His style was a great blend of structure (performance expectations), coaching (quick feedback as needed), mentoring (give food for thought) and ultimately trust (gave me freedom to build my management/leadership style).
  • More than 10 years in leadership positions; What you will say to empower other women to jump into leadership roles? Build your Brand! Gain the technical expertise trust across a broad network, continue to practice soft skills that align authentically with your personality, find a mentor(s) that support different areas and find a champion who promotes your brand and helps to find opportunities that you might not know of.

“Be curious, authentic and proactive. Strive to gain depth before breadth. Seek out mentors and coaches early on. Don’t jump too early!”

  • What does working in the Health Sciences industry mean to you? A direct feedback loop from the development of a technology to seeing patient benefit.
  • What would you like to do if you were not what you are today? Sharing my love of travel, different cultures and languages through interior design.
  • What legacy do you want to leave in this world? Developing a Structural Heart solution based on regenerative tissue or synthetic material most especially that helps very young patients.
  • What are you doing to get it done? We have programs in the Tissue CoE that are based on disruptive technologies hoping to achieve these benefits for targeted patients.
  • Finally; What would be your recommendation for young talents who are starting their career? Be curious, authentic and proactive. Strive to gain depth before breadth. Seek out mentors and coaches early on. Don’t jump too early!

Thank you so much Angela for your time and collaboration on this Project! All Is About People!

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