Sue Read: Cancer Buddy, Senior Manager, Difference-maker

25-06-2018

Sue Read likes to challenge the ordinary at work and in her private life. Both have been influenced by a traumatic experience: Breast cancer. Now 18 years cancer-free, she wants to give something back by supporting others. We took a moment to talk to her.

Siemens Healthineers: What are your tasks as a senior manager in Commercial Life Cycle Management for Diagnostics?
Sue: Let me give you my elevator speech on this: Without me and my team, the company would not be able to get its products to market. We make sure that all data infrastructures that touch the product, from development to sales, are working. What I love about this job is the variety. I might be on four different calls in one day, all about completely different topics. I might be mapping a new project, streamlining a process, discussing a sales strategy, or connecting different stakeholders. Also, I do not quite fit into the 9-to-5 office model. I work remotely and generally begin my day around 6 or 7 a.m. to accommodate my European colleagues’ schedules and sometimes participate in evening calls with colleagues in the APC region. This gives me the flexibility to go for a walk in the evening or visit with my three kids, four grandchildren, and my first great-grandchild. 

Siemens Healthineers: How did you get to where you are today?
Sue:
I have had an incredible career at Siemens Healthineers. I’ve been lucky enough to work in every single area of diagnostics – from chemistry and immunoassays to hematology and hemostasis. I’ve also gained experience in many different fields such as manufacturing, finance, services, and marketing. As long as you are willing to learn, Siemens Healthineers helps you discover different disciplines and gives you the support you need. Today, I can use all my skills and knowledge about our products and processes to communicate the bigger picture and connect the dots.

Siemens Healthineers: Why are you so passionate about diagnostics?
Sue:
I am an 18-year breast cancer survivor or as I believe a “Victor”. I am living proof that imaging and diagnostics can save people’s lives. I was lucky that the cancer was discovered very early. I had to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy for six months, and came out cancer-free. Eighteen years later, I still faithfully go for testing so that I can say, “I’m clear for another year”. My illness gave me first-hand experience of the difference between Siemens Healthineers’ products and equipment from other manufacturers. That is why I am so passionate about the quality of our products, of our company, and of diagnostics.

Siemens Healthineers: What is a Cancer Buddy?
Sue: It started when Siemens asked me to appear on film to tell my story. The video reached lots of colleagues worldwide, and I started getting calls from some of them. They wanted to talk because they had recently been diagnosed with cancer. I was able to reach out to them and give them hope and a little support on their journey. And I still do this – I’m a Cancer Buddy. I don’t give any medical advice, but I can give the positive news that anyone can get through this challenge.

Siemens Healthineers: What do you do when you’re not at work?
Sue: In addition to spending time with my family, I volunteer with various organizations. I’ve been a member of Rotary International for the past 37 years is an organization which raises money for causes such as local soup kitchens or internationally for the eradication of Polio and other projects such as water treatment facilities in Mexico. I also fundraise for cancer research and treatment. We organize a 24-hour walk-a-thon, for example. On the last evening of the walk, we arrange luminaria to spell out the word ‘HOPE’, and for me that says it all. It’s about making a difference.

Siemens Healthineers: How does this tie back into your professional role?
Sue: My job is also all about making a difference. If we can start something new every day, think outside the box, drive improvement, help colleagues to learn from our experiences, and support each other, we can make our company stronger – and that in turn helps us deliver quality products to improve people’s lives. I like to challenge people, to challenge the ordinary and find new ways of doing things. In my opinion, no idea is incorrect. If you have ideas, you are contributing and giving something back to the team. Those moments when the team agrees to try out something new and the excitement starts bubbling up, that’s when I most enjoy working for Siemens Healthineers.

Siemens Healthineers: What would you tell someone who is thinking about working at Siemens Healthineers?
Sue: I don’t think people are just looking for money – they want a purpose, too. Of course I would tell them about our cutting-edge products because they are really cool and exiting. But above all, I would say that this is your opportunity not only to do cool things, but also to make a unique difference to peoples’ lives.

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