Women are outnumbered in medical sales. In fact, in the 2019 Medical Sales Salary Report, 67% of the respondents were men. In addition, the report found that women earn just 83% of what men do and makeup only 33% of the respondents.
While, at first glance, this may seem discouraging, there are a multitude of highly-successful women in medical sales. We’re talking to these professionals to find out what it means to be a woman in the field and what it takes to be successful.
Jessica Maslin, co-founder and president of MIERON: Virtual Reality NeuroTherapy, was engineering and using virtual reality (VR) for various Hollywood projects with her partner Josh Dubon when an opportunity arose to do so much more with their expertise.
Just six months after using VR in a narrative project highlighting Greg “Craola” Simkins’ artistic process, the two VR experts received a life-changing call. Simkins’ niece, Eden, was tragically paralyzed while doing a backbend in her living room. At the time, Eden was five and had relocated to Kentucky where she viewed her uncle’s project from the comfort of her home.
But you couldn’t convince Eden of that.
The magic of VR made her adamant that her family travel back to L.A., where she participated in the project with her uncle. With just one phone call from Eden’s parents, Maslin knew it was her opportunity to use her VR engineering experience in a more meaningful way.
Maslin’s journey to success in the medical device field wasn’t short — and her path certainly had twists and turns. But it was those experiences, along with a “can-do” attitude, that brought her face-to-face with her dream career.
Read on to learn how Maslin keeps that dream alive and continues to make life-changing impacts using MIERON’s holistic approach to rehabilitation:
Immerse yourself in product and patient knowledge
Maslin had the unique and incredibly personable experience of working directly with a potential patient while discovering what type of VR product would work best for spinal cord injury patients, like Eden.
Eden’s parents called to tell us their daughter was completely tricked by the documentary and asked if there is anything we could do to help. I’ll never forget Eden’s mom saying, “If it was just about getting Eden to walk again, it would be so easy.”
We learned it’s much more than that. Ultimately, we realized this is what we need to use VR for. So, we eagerly flew out to Kentucky and spent almost a month there to learn everything there is to know about spinal cord injuries.
When we got to Kentucky, we didn’t have any medically-focused VR experience. We had to test VR with Eden. Could she even wear it? Would she get dizzy? We utilized one of the VR experiences we created with legendary skateboarder, Christian Hosoi, to test it.
She put the headset on and was doing an assisted crawling exercise. Usually, she hates it. But then she started making her own game trying to knock the skateboard out from under the rider’s feet.
Her doctors pulled us aside and said her endurance was up, her intensity increased, her confidence was up, her perception of pain was diminished, and her mental wellness was through the roof.
That was our a-ha moment.
We went to rehab with her every day before school to learn the principles of what her therapists were doing, the desired outcomes, and how to prevent secondary injuries. That’s where the MIERON library came from. Since we made that original library, it has grown to collaborating with international healthcare providers on their patients’ needs.
Leave the straight and narrow path
A winding road led by an “I can do anything” attitude brought Maslin to the successful career she has today. With hard work, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a courageous move, she’s now the co-founder of a medical device company.
I always think to myself, “I can do anything.” Making a pivot is easy — you just have to want to do it.
To transition successfully, I made sure I was open to all of my past experiences. I studied chemistry in college and afterward performed research in dentistry for bone growth mechanisms.
I love science and dentistry, but as I reached the finish line, I realized I’m not the type of person who wants to come into work every day and have people hate me. I’m a people person! I knew if there was a moment I could give up one career and start another, it was that moment.
So, I put dentistry on hold and moved to California. I started working with different startups doing all sorts of work from business development to marketing to building community platforms. It was all about finding out how to connect people in a meaningful way to a company’s technology.
I had been collaborating with Josh on other projects and convinced him to bring me on as a partner while he was trying to pivot his company. Becoming more of a pitcher, producer, creative director was an exciting transition but I found myself missing science again.
Every role I’ve had has led me to MIERON. Being a co-founder, well, you’re never really just a co-founder. You have to wear a lot of hats — many you didn’t know even existed — even more so when you’re in a regulated space like healthcare. If I only had the creative side, I’d need to seek help because you simply ‘don’t know what you don’t know’.
Always be patient-minded
Before co-founding MIERON, Maslin and her partner knew they wanted to use VR in a more meaningful way. It’s a mission their company focuses on in every new development, especially during challenging times, like facing a global pandemic.
VR experiences aren’t cut and dry. We’re creating the gold standard for patient-forward experiences.
Unfortunately, there are circumstances that stand in the way of patients receiving the care they need. The most common obstacle is that insurance only covers a week of in-patient care. Then what?
Currently, COVID-19 has shifted everything to a hands-off approach, including how we sell our product and patients’ access to therapy. These challenges have the potential to stop patients from learning how to live their new “normal” and keeping up with their care.
To overcome these obstacles, we seize every opportunity to innovate. For example, to ensure patients can continue therapy when not able to access rehab facilities, we introduced a home-based product. It’s an exciting time to be able to reach more people and provide better resources.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
Over the years, Maslin has worked on improving her own negotiation skills. The key to it all — just dive in, breathe, and do it.
Negotiation is a really powerful tool, especially in the medical sales field if you’re dealing with C-level executives. It may be intimidating to negotiate and ask for you when you’re serving a client. Negotiating isn’t one-sided and people really respect it when you’re willing to try.
Don’t be shy or timid when starting negotiations. You just have to do it. Take a deep breath, slow everything down and remember to breathe — it’s just like public speaking. You don’t have to say everything in one sentence; you have time.