Whitney Faires has been a transformational leader in the medical device industry. She’s best known for leading positive change in people and organizations resulting in unprecedented levels of team performance and improved organizational health. Whitney is currently the Senior Director of Finance Organization Development and the Chair of WiFi (Women in Finance) at Intuitive.
Here is what Whitney had to say when we asked her about organizational leadership:
GenHERation®: What skill do you utilize the most on a daily basis?
Whitney Faires: Active listening.
GenHERation®: How would you characterize Intuitive’s culture?
Faires: Intuitive is a company full of mission-driven people with high energy and a true belief in what we do. Our focus is on serving patients through expanding minimally invasive care. It is a highly collaborative environment where we set big goals and work together to make a difference for surgeons and patients.
GenHERation®: What is your favorite aspect of working at Intuitive?
Faires: The people.
GenHERation®: What is organizational health, and can you briefly discuss a positive example of organization health seen at Intuitive?
Faires: Organizational health is creating an environment where people are engaged, fulfilled, and can do their best work. A core component of this is helping people develop their skills and navigate their career path. At Intuitive, we believe our people are our most valuable resource. The impact of our technology is dependent on great people to design it, build it, sell it, and finance it (to name a few). Each person at the company plays a very important role in the process and it is our job to create an environment where they can thrive. Research has shown that companies that invest in organizational health perform better. One example of an organizational health program at Intuitive is our focus on the development of our female leaders. Women face different challenges than men in the corporate environment and it is important we offer development to meet their needs. In 2021, we partnered with our female employee resource groups to bring women together from IT, the commercial team, finance, and engineering. We dedicated three days to professional development, deepening our connections, and creating a support system. The feedback from our participants was excellent and women left feeling connected and empowered. We are planning two women in leadership programs for 2022—one for managers and the other for directors.
GenHERation®: What distinguishes a good leader from a great leader?
Faires: It is hard to pinpoint just one thing, but there are four factors that really stand out. First, people have to want to lead. It takes work to become a great leader and it is important that you are passionate about leading and managing a team. Second, great leaders are really good listeners and seek to understand. This is critical in building trust. Third, great leaders are always striving to become better and hone their craft. They focus on evolving their skills and are open-minded to new ideas and perspectives. Finally, they create a culture that inspires and empowers people. A great leader is someone people want to work for and is truly committed to them as people first and professionals second.
GenHERation®: What is one of the biggest misconceptions about working in finance?
Faires: It is not all about numbers and data. There is a bigger mission attached to finance. There are spreadsheets and analytics, but it is more about working together as a team on projects that make a difference.
GenHERation®: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Faires: Be present and enjoy the journey. Driven people are often stiving for growth and their next achievement. While this is great, there is so much learning and fulfillment along the way. Don’t miss that opportunity!
Whitney Faires has been a transformational leader in the medical device industry. She’s best known for leading positive change in people and organizations resulting in unprecedented levels of team performance and improved organizational health. Her passion is people. She believes that personal and professional growth is critical for employee satisfaction, exceeding key performance metrics, and developing empowered leaders. She has spent over 15 years in the medical device industry. Her breadth of experience in sales, finance, global operations, and scaling internationally offers one-of-a-kind perspective on how to develop a company culture that empowers employees for greatness. Whitney is committed to helping people reach their personal best and has trained to become a Leadership and Organizational Coach. Her passion for coaching stems from many personal experiences balancing her career and being a dedicated mother. She has coached many professionals to create fundamental shifts that unlock their career potential. During the last 13 years, Whitney has held many leadership roles at. She is currently the Senior Director of Finance Organization Development and the Chair of WiFi (Women in Finance). Graduating from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, Whitney was a highly decorated athlete winning the prestigious Louis A. Onesty Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award. She’s most proud of her family including her husband and two young children.