Company: Boston Scientific
Title: Senior VP of Global Quality and Regulatory
Throughout her career, Rosaleen Burke has applied the rigor and vigilance required by her work in medical device quality to her own development. That has meant studying role models, working with coaches, reflecting on feedback and performing regular self-evaluations.
The result? Burke has moved unfalteringly—though not always linearly—up the ranks at Boston Scientific.
Having started out at Boston Scientific’s plant in Galway, Ireland, Burke now oversees all the device giant’s business and portfolio from Marlborough, Massachusetts, in her capacity as head of quality and global regulatory.
In moving up the ladder toward her current rung, Burke has been open to taking detours off her presupposed career path, if they provide an opportunity to improve her breadth of skills and experience. That openness stems from a talk with a former boss.
“When I was working in manufacturing operations early in my career, things were going smoothly and I had a steady long-term path ahead of me," Burke said. "One day my boss pulled me aside and told me, ‘You don’t have any experience on the post-market side of things, dealing with regulations from a quality system point of view. A job is opening up that would give you that perspective. It doesn’t have the same long-term security as your current role, but I think you’d learn a lot.'"
Burke took the job, relished it and since then has proactively sought out opportunities to expand her skillset, an attitude that equipped her to land a post with responsibilities as broad as her current role.
Boston Scientific helped prepare Burke, a long-term employee, for the new role and others she occupied along the way through two leadership development programs, one aimed at mid-level managers, another geared toward executives.
“I learned so much about myself and capitalizing on my own strengths by going through 360 feedback processes with a coach to help me truly internalize the feedback and develop tools to address it,” Burke said.
Supported by these initiatives and a history of self-reflection and improvement, Burke arrived in the new role earlier this year with a clear view of her strengths. As she has done throughout her career, she's relying on straight talking, plus her technical skills and her ability to cut through ambiguity, to succeed in her current role as SVP.
Burke has tried to cultivate these strengths. For example, she works to ensure she can “deliver opinions and feedback in a way that is not only matter of fact and depersonalized, but also nonthreatening and nonconfrontational.” These efforts have given Burke confidence in her skills and abilities.
That vital resource—self-confidence—is another that Burke has cultivated deliberately and thinks others should, too.
“When you finish a project or reach a milestone, make a point to review what worked well just as much as what could be done differently," she said. "Hold on to positive feedback, whether it’s a drawer of thank you notes or a file in your inbox, and open it up when you are having a challenging time. That self-confidence allowed me to take on the tough assignments that helped me grow."