Dr. Sally Saba, the new and first chief inclusion and diversity officer of Medtronic, wants the company to expand its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and become more involved in the fight against social injustice.
Saba went to medical school in Cairo and became an anesthesiologist. She worked for Vodafone for three years then started her own small business in 2007. In 2009, she joined Kaiser Permanente and held the roles of executive director of supplier diversity procurement operations and vice president of performance, operations and compliance for inclusion and diversity. She helped beef up the company’s supplier diversity program and develop a five-year plan to spend $1 billion with women- and minority-owned businesses. Kaiser achieved the goals in 2014 and became a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.
Saba said she was attracted to Medtronic because of its diversity and inclusion programs such as the Women in Science in Engineering (WISE) and Medtronic Women’s Network. Under the WISE program, the number of women in research and development at Medtronic increased from 20% in 2015 to 26% in 2019. The number of women in the VP tech role also rose from 13% to 21%.
Medtronic is also active on the social justice front. It recently announced a $16 million commitment to organizations that work to improve social justice and equity. The money would be used for healthcare equity efforts, scholarships and work with Black neighborhood groups. The company’s leadership is also committed to an annual diversity and inclusion strategy.