Empowering Innovation: The Journey of Jill Mari Embry in the Medical Device Industry

Jill Mari Embry boasts a career spanning over 25 years in the medical device industry. She has traversed roles across large Fortune 500 companies, startups, and diverse ventures. Presently, Jill occupies dual roles: she aids startup ventures in navigating the transition from research to development within the rigorously regulated medical industry.

Additionally, she stands as the founder of Balance Innovation Center, a pioneering venture studio dedicated to empowering women and underrepresented groups in medical device product development. Their flagship product, a software application tailored for first responders, government agencies, service providers, and the kin of substance addicts, promises real-time data crucial for life-saving interventions. We at EliteX, are proud to introduce Jill Mari Embry as one of Impactful Businesswomen: Making a Difference, 2024.

Jill’s journey in the industry didn’t follow a linear trajectory. Initially a biology major with a chemistry minor at DePaul University, she harbored aspirations of becoming a surgeon. However, her path diverged when illness interrupted her medical school pursuits. During this hiatus, she engaged in a transformative preceptorship at a rural clinic, where patient-centric care left an indelible mark. Driven by a dissatisfaction with the evolving healthcare landscape prioritizing financial over individual well-being, Jill transitioned to a graduate program in biomedical engineering. Her career commenced with Johnson & Johnson’s Advanced Wound Care Division as a biochemist before segueing into engineering roles at Boston Scientific, where she spearheaded the Corporate Research Biopolymer Group.

“Setbacks are just detours, not dead ends. With perseverance and support, we can navigate any obstacle on the road to success.” – Jill Mari Embry

Throughout her journey, Jill confronted pervasive chauvinism, often being the lone female in engineering roles. Despite the hurdles, she persisted, fueled by a passion for her craft. Her experiences, shared by many underrepresented professionals, spurred her resolve to cultivate an inclusive space where innovation thrived unhindered by prejudice. The impetus behind Jill’s career choice stems from a convergence of her scientific acumen and engineering mindset. Her innate inclination towards problem-solving and building, evident since childhood, found resonance in the realm of medical device innovation. Thus, she forged a path that harmonized her passions and expertise.

In navigating the demands of her high-profile roles, Jill finds solace in equestrian pursuits. Riding horses, particularly challenging ones, provides her with a sanctuary where she can disconnect from work pressures and recalibrate her focus. Through her indomitable spirit and commitment to inclusivity, Jill Mari Embry continues to leave an indelible mark on the medical device industry, propelling innovation while advocating for diversity and equity. Jill Mari Embry has encountered numerous challenges as a woman in the business world, particularly concerning her depth of knowledge and the intimidation it can evoke in male counterparts. Frequently, she has found herself in situations where her expertise surpassed that of her peers or superiors, leading to confrontations and even instances of aggressive behavior. Moreover, navigating the assumption that she was a sales representative rather than a knowledgeable professional in her field has been a recurring obstacle. However, Jill’s resilience and unwavering commitment to her work have enabled her to overcome these challenges, earning respect for her expertise and fortitude.

“In the game of business, every team member brings unique strengths to the court. Success lies in letting everyone shine in their own way.” – Jill Mari Embry

Reflecting on her career trajectory, Jill emphasizes the absence of a single pivotal moment, attributing her success instead to her relentless work ethic and perseverance. She recalls a pattern of annual promotions during the formative years of her career, underscoring the value instilled by her parents—integrity and diligence—as the driving forces behind her achievements. For Jill, resilience in the face of adversity has been the cornerstone of her professional journey.

Diversity and inclusion lie at the heart of Jill’s organizational ethos. In initiatives such as the STEM program, interns are provided with an environment conducive to collaboration and innovation among individuals from diverse backgrounds. Moreover, Jill emphasizes the importance of representation in fields like engineering, aiming to cultivate an environment where all individuals feel empowered to pursue their passions irrespective of societal stereotypes.

Drawing from her own experiences, Jill underscores several essential skills for women aiming to excel in business. Firstly, she highlights the necessity to consistently outperform male counterparts, given prevalent biases that question female competence. Thick skin is another requisite, enabling women to withstand challenges and overcome attempts at sabotage. Importantly, she advocates for a genuine passion for one’s work, which serves as a potent motivator amidst adversity. Seeking mentorship and fostering collaborative relationships within teams are also pivotal for navigating the complexities of the business landscape, ensuring that women thrive in their professional endeavors. Jill Mari Embry remains abreast of industry trends and hones her skills through voracious reading of journal articles and keen observation of startup pitches within the medical device industry. By immersing herself in these resources, Jill ensures that her knowledge remains current and her skills continually evolve to meet the demands of her profession.

Jill’s leadership style is grounded in the belief that every team member, regardless of background or skillset, possesses the potential to make valuable contributions. Drawing from her upbringing in a basketball-centric family, she advocates for a collaborative approach where individuals are empowered to excel in their areas of expertise while embracing versatility across roles. This inclusive philosophy fosters a cohesive team dynamic where everyone’s strengths are celebrated and leveraged to achieve collective success.

In navigating the complexities of a rapidly changing business landscape, Jill emphasizes the importance of constant reevaluation and soliciting feedback from others. She remains vigilant in assessing the efficacy of current strategies and initiatives, ensuring that decisions are informed by a thorough understanding of evolving market dynamics and organizational needs.

Jill is particularly enthused about the Overdose Response Application, which holds the potential to save lives through real-time interventions. Additionally, she looks forward to advancing projects like the balance training device and the mentor portal for LegUP, recognizing their transformative impact on healthcare and mentorship, respectively.

“Diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords; they’re the cornerstones of innovation and progress in any industry.” – Jill Mari Embry

Humor and humility form the cornerstone of Jill’s efforts to cultivate a positive and empowering work culture within her team. By fostering an environment where egos are left at the door and mutual respect prevails, she ensures that all team members feel valued and supported in their endeavors. Jill acknowledges encountering setbacks throughout her career but attributes her resilience to the unwavering support of her family, friends, and her beloved horses. Embracing a philosophy of personal autonomy, she refuses to let external challenges dictate her sense of self, relying instead on perseverance to overcome adversity.

Future Opportunities for Women in Business:

Looking ahead, Jill envisions a future where women have the opportunity to ascend to leadership positions across all disciplines within organizations. She remains hopeful that strides towards gender equality will unlock a myriad of opportunities for women to thrive and contribute meaningfully in the business realm.