Mark Losee is proud of his accomplishments. In five years at Medtronic, where he is vice president of information technology and operations, Losee has enjoyed the opportunity to develop the service level his department offers – going from a system of informal processes to a high-end service organization with added emphasis on cost efficiency. “We’ve changed how we govern IT, how we go about applying, managing and supporting it. Now an IT leader can focus on delivering information to sales reps that improves productivity and helps them increase sales, as opposed to being focused on a server or a broken PC. We’re a more efficient operation.”
But as he finishes talking about his accomplishments, which go far beyond his work at Medtronic, he says, “None of those were done by me. They were done by great people, great teams. I’ve had really good managers. I’ve had excellent people, and they really were the ones who delivered and were able to build the organizations into what they are today.”
Losee never loses sight of the big picture. He enjoys what he has done, but he gives credit to his team. He thinks IT is a great field to work in, but he focuses more on the work of his organization than on his piece in the puzzle. He is pleased that Medtronic’s mission matters more to employees than their particular function. “You don’t get wrapped around your role or job function; you get wrapped around the fact that every seven seconds a human being’s life and health has been improved. You forget that you’re in the engineering and manufacturing division; you’re focused on patients and on diseases and health issues that you can do something about.”
One of Losee’s role models is Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic. “He would wrap the Medtronic culture and mission into any topic he was presenting, leaving everyone really pumped about what they were doing.” But George is not the only person who has instructed and inspired Losee. He believes that he has an opportunity to learn from everyone – from their mistakes and their great decisions. He believes that every meeting, every conversation can be instructive. You just have to look for the opportunities around you.
Losee also enjoys learning from books. One book he is quick to recommend is Leadership from the Inside Out, by Kevin Cashman. The book was used in Medtronic’s leadership development program, which has been put together in partnership with St. Thomas professor Ken Goodpaster. Losee says that the book focuses on leading from character. “It creates a lot of self-reflection on how you lead, how you communicate, what you’re all about.”
“I’m one of those people that call it a great day when I learn something new,” Losee says. “I am always looking for the opportunity to learn something that I did not know, read a new perspective in a book or gain valuable insights from someone. St. Thomas was a natural resource for me to continue to learn and grow as a person. People who like to learn are more natural communicators and fun to be around.” He also appreciates St. Thomas because “the campus and process for enrollment were not overwhelming, and the school is very student-friendly.”
Losee’s career has been focused on information technology, but it has varied over the years. He says that the field changes completely approximately every 10 years. He began his career with Republic Airlines, where he was responsible for traveling to airports and setting up ticket agents’ desks.
He quickly rose to leadership roles that included working with US Bank, where he had the opportunity to develop a process for facilitating automated teller machines. “I built an IT organization and provided all the applications and operations and development services to go from 400 to 2,500 ATMs in a year and a half. While I was there, we also took on the IT building for its wire transfer business.” Losee is excited about and grateful for the opportunities he has had during his career so far, but he continually returns to themes such as mission, character and learning.
“Enjoy what the day brings you,” he says when pressed for advice. “Look for opportunities to learn; find mentors to discuss your career with; keep a balance in your life. And please, share with others the books that have impacted you.”
About Medtronic: Headquartered in Minneapolis, Medtronic is the world’s leading medical technology company. Its key businesses include cardiac rhythm management, cardiac surgery, vascular, neurological and diabetes, and spinal. Medtronic has approximately 30,000 employees worldwide and does business in 120 countries. Losee takes pride in the fact that the company has been on the Fortune magazine list of the 100 best places to work for six out of the past seven years.