February 11, 2024 – (Innsbruck, Austria): On February 11, in honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, MED-EL offers a glimpse behind the scenes of a global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company proudly highlights the extraordinary contributions of women within its organization who shape medical technology, innovation, and research.
- Acknowledging women's unique insights and contributions to the world of science
- Fostering diversity to enrich the medical technology landscape
- Inspiring future generations of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields
Dr Ingeborg Hochmair, CEO and co-founder of MED-EL, embodies a pioneering spirit that has become the cornerstone of MED-EL's success. Her award-winning dedication to advancing hearing technology has set the stage for MED-EL's commitment to pushing boundaries and breaking new ground. Her visionary leadership guides the company towards unparalleled heights of innovation and excellence.
From concept to reality: changing lives with new medical breakthroughs
Susanne Pischl, a medical engineer originally from Germany, leads the Vestibular Implant Systems Group at MED-EL. Since joining in 2017, her efforts have been directed towards addressing vestibular hypofunction, a rare condition impacting balance. She is dedicated to the research and development of an implantable vestibular prosthesis, with the aim of enhancing the quality of life for individuals currently lacking treatment options. Reflecting on her experiences in medical engineering, Susanne Pischl shares, "Working in a field traditionally dominated by men has presented its unique challenges and opportunities. Embracing these dynamics, I have found that the focus is shifting towards recognizing individual capabilities, fostering an environment where dedication and skills are valued over gender. It is encouraging to witness a growing emphasis on diversity.” She adds, “Regardless of being a man or a woman, the field has presented avenues for professional growth and contribution to innovative projects."
Working on tomorrow's technologies through interdisciplinary excellence
MED-EL has more than 2,700 individuals representing approximately 80 nations across 30 global locations. One of them, based in Innsbruck, is Jennifer Robinson who serves as the Corporate Director of Product Management at MED-EL. The US-native who holds a Master of Science (MS) in audiology, plays a key role in advancing technology for people with hearing loss. Jennifer collaborates at the crossroads of design, development, and user feedback, playing a pivotal role in introducing groundbreaking and cutting-edge products to the market. Her multifaceted involvement in product management guarantees the development of products that not only redefine industry standards for user-friendliness but also showcase technological sophistication. In her words, "Navigating Product Management is like orchestrating a symphony – we bring together people from across the business and external partners to create a harmony of life-changing technologies. Embracing diversity in design and development sparks the creativity that propels us to pioneer advancements in hearing solutions, fostering a future where every voice can be heard."
Bridging science and compassion for a world of hearing potential
With a remarkable 23 years at MED-EL, Ilona Anderson has made clinical research her passion and workplace. Holding both an MBA and a Ph.D., she embarked on her journey in audiology and speech-language pathology in South Africa, gaining invaluable firsthand insights into the transformative impact of hearing implants. Reflecting on her journey as a woman in STEM, Ilona emphasizes that every challenge in the dynamic field of medical research is an opportunity to pioneer new breakthroughs. “Embracing diverse perspectives is not just a goal – it is the key to transformative advancements. In the intricate world of clinical exploration, diverse views unlock fresh ideas, ignite creative solutions, and drive us to push the limits of what is possible in shaping the future of medical discovery."
Tips to inspire the next generation of women in STEM
In the vibrant landscape of STEM, where innovation and inspiration intertwine, MED-EL's inspirational women share their empowering tips to guide and inspire the next generation.
- Susanne Pischl advocates for embracing the concept that “diversity fuels creativity”. She advises, “Embark on a journey of possibilities by exploring diverse roles and research various careers.” She suggests paving the way for the desired educational path by investigating schools or universities specializing in the preferred STEM field. According to Susanne, “Understanding where to pursue your education lays a solid foundation, opening doors to a world of knowledge and growth.”
- In underscoring the importance of hands-on learning in STEM, Jennifer Robinson advises: “Seek out internships, workshops, or hands-on projects aligned with your STEM interests. Practical experience not only enhances your skills but also provides a real-world understanding, making you more marketable in your future career.” Furthermore, she highlights the importance of building a strong network: “Actively engage with professionals, join STEM-related clubs, and attend industry events. This endeavour can offer mentorship opportunities, valuable insights, and a supportive community to guide you on your STEM journey.”
- Ilona Anderson encourages aspiring women in STEM with these words: “Follow your passion by considering what excites you within STEM. Think of MED-EL: Whether you prefer working directly with people or behind the scenes, remember that every role contributes to the same impactful goal – changing lives.” Ilona also emphasizes the importance of aiming high and persevering: “Set ambitious goals and never give in. Working in STEM is a dynamic and evolving adventure filled with opportunities for growth and impact. Embrace challenges, learn continuously, and contribute your unique voice to shape the future of STEM.”
Women like Susanne, Jennifer and Ilona – and many more within MED-EL – play a key role in developing groundbreaking technology that changes the lives of people around the world. Their unique perspectives enrich the scientific community and pave the way for a more inclusive and innovative future. Their achievements inspire the next generation of women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
Interested in another look behind the scenes? Watch the story of MED-EL and the company’s drive for innovation and improving access around the globe.
MED-EL Medical Electronics, a leader in implantable hearing solutions, is driven by a mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication and quality of life. The Austrian-based, privately owned business was co-founded by industry pioneers Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair, whose ground-breaking research led to the development of the world’s first micro-electronic multi-channel cochlear implant (CI), which was successfully implanted in 1977 and was the basis for what is known as the modern CI today. This laid the foundation for the successful growth of the company in 1990, when they hired their first employees. To date, MED-EL has more than 2,700 employees from around 80 nations and 30 locations worldwide.
The company offers the widest range of implantable and non-implantable solutions to treat all types of hearing loss, enabling people in 136 countries enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a MED-EL device. MED-EL’s hearing solutions include cochlear and middle ear implant systems, a combined electric acoustic stimulation hearing implant system, auditory brainstem implants as well as surgical and non-surgical bone conduction devices. www.medel.com
Doz. DI Dr DDr med. h.c. Ingeborg Hochmair
PR & Corporate Communications
MED-EL Medical Electronics
T: +43 5 7788