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A global perspective on business

Last week Augsburg Regent Dr. Marshall Stanton shared lessons from his career with Augsburg’s graduate students and staff. Stanton, currently vice president for clinical research and reimbursement with Medtronic, has worked for the company since 1998 and spent two years in Japan managing Medtronic’s CRDM unit. His presentation was the first in the 2009-10 Executive Speaker Series.

Stanton gave an overview of Medtronic’s products, business model, and corporate priorities. Medtronic, the world’s largest medical technology company, has 38,000 employees in 120 countries. Stanton said although Medtronic has people and offices around the world, it is “evolving” as a global company. “Just because you have employees in 120 countries doesn’t mean you’re a global company,” Stanton said.

Despite its evolving status, Medtronic is definitely a successful company with a revenue of more than $2 billion in 2009. The company creates devices and technologies to treat cardiac rhythm disorders, cardiovascular diseases, spinal conditions, ear, nose and throat (ENT) conditions, neurological disorders, urological and digestive disorders, and diabetes.

A patient is served every five seconds, said Stanton, because of Medtronic’s devices and technologies. “Patients are the reason we come to work,” he added. “Everyone’s work impacts patients.”

Stanton ended his presentation by sharing some of the lessons he learned about Japanese culture, life, and about doing business in his two years in Japan. In addition to learning about status, harmony, restaurant manners, and language, Stanton said he learned an important lesson about receiving a person’s business card or “meishi.” “In Japan, a business card is an extension of the person and shows their accomplishments,” Stanton said. “You must receive it, look it over carefully, and be careful not to shove it in your wallet or back pocket.”

His greatest learning experiences, he said, were seeing the changes in his children, in how they viewed themselves and their country from a difference perspective after living abroad, and how he grew as a leader because of his work in a difference culture.

This event was the hosted by the Office of Institutional Advance and Laura Roller, director of corporate and foundation giving. The Executive Speaker Series is designed to give the Augsburg community an opportunity to hear from some of the Twin Cities’ leading business executives and entrepreneurs.

The next event will be Thursday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. featuring Dr. Alex Cirillo, vice president for the 3M Foundation. Cirillo will speak on creating a culture of innovation in the workplace.


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