As is well known, the New England region is a hotbed of medical innovation. Walk into any Starbucks in Boston or Cambridge and you’re more likely than not going to overhear conversations about pending FDA approvals, clinical testing or the next big idea that will transform our healthcare system. There are nearly 500 medical device companies headquartered in Massachusetts alone.
Bringing together the resourceful, talented and, yes, disruptive women of this region to share ideas, knowledge and perspectives on professional development is not just a worthwhile idea, but actually an ongoing endeavor. This is thanks in large part to our April Man of the Month, Tom Sommer, the president of the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC).
This spring, I was in Boston to speak at the first-ever meeting of the Women in MedTech Forum, a group that enthusiastically embraced its stated goal, “to unite New England medical device executive women by providing an inspirational and educational leadership forum.” The creation of this group was made possible by the sponsorship of MassMEDIC and Tom Sommer’s understanding that a coalescing of dynamic female executives can only generate positive benefits for the area’s medtech sector.
It is virtually impossible to speak about MassMEDIC without discussing the work of Mr. Sommer. Nearly 20 years ago, in 1996, he was named the organization’s first president and, since that time, has served as its chief executive officer, overseeing MassMEDIC’s day-to-day operations. Under his leadership, the Council has grown in both size and influence. It now represents the interests of over 400 manufacturers, developers, suppliers, research institutions and academic medical centers and is a leading voice in advancing the medical technology sector’s legislative and policy agenda in both Washington, D.C. and the state capitol.
In arguing forcefully against the recent medical device tax and other policies that could undermine innovation, Mr. Sommer is adept at drawing the linkage between the health of the medtech sector and the well-being of the region’s economy (pointing out, for example, that one of every five Massachusetts export dollars stems from medical device sales).
And now he’s playing a key role in developing a different linkage – the one that connects the sector’s professional women with future growth and prosperity. For his success in applying concrete action to visionary ideas, we are proud to name Tom Sommer as the Disruptive Women Man of the Month.