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The latest candidate in our series of Q&As with influential women in the technology business in Canada is Elaine McCulloch, Vice President, Marketing, NeuPath Health Inc., a healthcare provider for pain, using “research, data-driven insights, technology, and interdisciplinary care to help restore function for patients impacted by chronic pain, spinal injuries, sport-related injuries, and concussions.”
Name: Elaine McCulloch
Job Title: Vice President, Marketing, NeuPath Health Inc.
Years in the Industry: 20 Years
The Quote That Most Inspires You: This is a great quote to inspire your workout and your work week: “It doesn’t get easier; you just get stronger.’”– (Robin Arzon, Vice President of Fitness Programming at Peloton.)
What drew you to a career in the consumer and/or business technology industry?
My first corporate marketing job was with Hewlett-Packard Canada. I was thrilled to be working for a leading consumer technology company that was founded on “invention” and was constantly bringing new products and innovations to the Canadian market. I was also surprised but delighted to see women so well represented in leadership roles within the company. I’ve continued in my career with that expectation.
More recently, I left a career in media to join NeuPath Health Inc. The pandemic certainly contributed to my decision to join a health tech company. I’ve always loved tech and I was ready to focus my career and contribute my skills in a more meaningful industry. When I was approached by NeuPath, I was energized by their vision of leveraging technology to improve access and quality of healthcare for Canadians.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
I was going to say that I was fortunate for not encountering any roadblocks, but the truth is, I probably just plowed right past them without noticing.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
I feel my deep sense of empathy allows me to connect with my team and motivate them towards achieving our collective goals. It doesn’t mean that I’m not strong or tough, or that I don’t have high expectations. It just means that I am a leader who cares about people too. Showing a sense of humanity as a leader is key in getting people working together and winning together as a team.
Technology is historically a male-dominated industry, yet the use of tech is fully embraced by women, and many studies even suggest that females are the primary buyers of tech in the home. What do you feel the technology industry needs to attract more women, particularly into high-level positions?
There needs to be a commitment from organizations to elevate women across all aspects of the organization, not just those in technical roles. Women are leading and are contributing to tech innovation and success across all functional areas, from HR to the C-Suite. We shouldn’t just be encouraging young women to code – our talent and leadership is required everywhere.
If you had to sum up what it is like being a woman in this male-dominated technology industry in just a few words, what would you say?
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you?
I’ve always admired Carly Fiorina (former CEO Hewlett-Packard and first woman to lead a Fortune Top 20 Company). HP was my first real marketing job and she was my first business role model. It wasn’t just because she was a woman, it was because she was smart, strong, and fearless. She was successfully driving transformation at a massive and troubled tech organization. That early experience of having respect and admiration for a female leader stayed with me. There were times later in my career where I worked for organizations where female leaders were noticeably absent – as was my inspiration to stay working at those companies.
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you’d like to dispel?
A common misconception is that women need technical skills to be successful leaders in the tech industry. While technical skills are required for key roles, a tech company won’t survive without human skills. Women have exceptional creativity, resilience, and the ability to think abstractly – all while multitasking! All companies require these qualities in leaders. Tech is no exception.
What’s one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
The health tech industry is nothing without doctors. Building technology into collaborative care models is the future, but still requires physicians. The Canadian Medical Association estimates that five million Canadians are without a primary-care provider. I wish there was an easier, faster fix for this issue.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
I am optimistic about the future, and the role that technology plays in directly impacting and improving patient care. The pandemic was horrible, but it was successful in accelerating health tech innovation and consumer adoption of digital health services. It allowed companies like NeuPath to grow and evolve and to ultimately provide better care and better outcomes for more people.
Right now, we at NeuPath are laser focused on incorporating tech into our offerings for patients, seen through our partnership with Cynergi Health [and] developing cutting edge technology advancements for remote pain management through the use of virtual reality in addition to our acquisition of the virtual care platform, KumoCare.