Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Creating a more equitable world

How women at Siemens Healthineers are leading the way in embracing equity in healthcare and beyond

Rebecca Murr and Sarah Hermanns
Published on March 8, 2023

As part of our 2023 International Women's Day celebrations at Siemens Healthineers, we are highlighting the stories of four colleagues who have made significant contributions to their fields. They come from different backgrounds and cultures, but they all share a passion for their work and a commitment to “Embrace Equity.”

Franziska Altenbeck advocates for generation equality as marketing manager for radiology systems, as mother and as mentor.
<p>Franziska envisions that all people have equitable access to healthcare. She wants to contribute to generations living responsibly so that they do not burden subsequent generations with unbearable burdens, such as environmental damage. To better understand how the different political and economic systems work she is currently studying health economics at the London School of Economics. In her daily marketing job, she just took over the topic of sustainable radiology. </p><p>To help young girls and colleagues to stand up for their own needs in a more self-confident way, Franziska is also active in the women's network of Siemens Healthineers. She has made it her mission to encourage others to question gender stereotypes and to be aware of discrimination and prejudices. This is also important for the education of her daughter. She believes that it is harder to break down outdated role models or to change a self-image if children are shaped too early.</p>

Maiya has lived and worked internationally, sees equity as an essential aspect of sustainable development and is advocating for women in STEM.
<p>Maiya has lived and worked internationally. Listening to others and understanding their different backgrounds is an integral part of her life. For her, building a more equitable society starts with creating a truly inclusive environment in which everyone can use their individual strengths and shine. She believes that creative ideas and innovations can arise even better when different perspectives, backgrounds, and ways of thinking come together.&nbsp;</p><p>With her education in process engineering, she is a strong advocate for early access to training and education opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, particularly for underrepresented groups.</p><p>In her role as Head of Corporate Sustainability at Siemens Healthineers, she also monitors the gender diversity in leadership positions which is an important component of our <a href="https://www.siemens-healthineers.com/company/sustainability">sustainability strategy</a>. One specific goal is to promote gender equality on all levels of the organization by increasing the number of <a href="women%20in%20senior%20management%20positions">women in senior management positions</a>. In addition, it is also important for Maiya to address biases and create a more equitable workplace.</p>
According to the McKinsey study “Women in healthcare: Moving from the front lines to the top rung”, organizations are taking action at the top to increase female representation. However, women also encounter persistent obstacles to advancement, particularly for senior positions, where they remain underrepresented. One particular focus of our sustainability strategy is therefor to increase the number of women in senior management positions to 26% by FY 2025. As of September 30, 2022, we already had 23% women in senior management positions.
Find the study here

Alejandra Pecka moved a lot for her job and is now working as Global Marketing Manager CT in Radiation Oncology in Germany. She also loves to experiment with fashion or Bolivian carnival costumes.
<p>Alejandra was raised by her mother and grandmother, two strong female role models who encouraged her to stand up for herself. When she was 18, Alejandra’s grandmother was diagnosed with stomach cancer. But in Bolivia the treatment options were limited. This strengthened Alejandra’s decision to study medical physics and specialize in proton therapy. Today she is a medical physicist who advocates for better access to healthcare across borders and genders.&nbsp;</p><p>Her professional life is important for Alejandra who needs intellectual challenges. Moving is also part of it: Her first job at Varian brought her to Germany, then she was transferred to Switzerland and is now back in Germany.&nbsp;</p><p>As a mother of two sons, Alejandra wants to inspire the younger generation to keep pushing for more equity. Everyone should be treated like they want to be treated and without making a difference between genders or appearance. She herself was bullied as a kid because of her weight and her look. Today, she sees her body as part of her identity and loves to experiment with fashion or Bolivian carnival costumes.</p>

Alberta Okundaye grew up as Nigerian-American. Today, she leads the Global R&D Productivity & Innovations department in the Point of Care business and is a passionate outdoor athlete.
Alberta grew up as Nigerian-American. When emigrated to the U.S., she had to learn and adjust to a new school system and to a society whose culture was very different. This truly impacted her ability to excel: She successful studied psychology and biology. Today she leads the Global R&D Productivity & Innovations department in the Point of Care business area at Siemens Healthineers.

<p id="isPasted">For Alberta, equity is about understanding and hearing the individual whose preconditions are unique. She wants to give people a chance to grow without being limited by their gender, cultural background, or life experiences. That is why Alberta also serves as the director for the Scholars and Sisters in STEM program at Siemens Healthineers. Through coaching and mentoring, this program encourages middle school and high school kids from underserved and underrepresented communities to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. She even used her passion as outdoor athlete to help young kids during the Covid-19 pandemic by taking them on her hiking tours and coaching them along the way.</p><p>Understanding every individual’s value system, their needs, unique experiences, and personality is what equity is all about for Alberta. “Only then you will be able to truly propel a person, and celebrate their successes, no matter how small.”</p>
<p><strong>Through the work of these four colleagues, and various other Healthineers across the world, we strive to build a workplace that embraces diversity and promotes gender equality in our own company and beyond. Countless colleagues are also working to create products and services that are designed to improve healthcare access and outcomes for all people, regardless of their background or life experiences. Their work is inspiring and serves as a reminder that we all have a responsibility to promote equity and inclusion in our workplaces and the communities we work and live in.</strong></p>

By Rebecca Murr and Sarah Hermanns
Rebecca Murr and Sarah Hermanns are both editors at Siemens Healthineers.