Hello SOTGC community,
Today I have the absolute pleasure of introducing you to Lina Mikelinich. I’ve known Lina for as long as I’ve been with Salient Surgical (now Medtronic Advanced Energy). Lina is our finance guru. I’ve gotten to know Lina over the years and truly appreciate what she stands for in business. She’s sharp, hard working, passionate about her cause, and has a wonderful energy about her that tells you “I’m Lina and I LOVE life!” I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing ideas and getting advice from her.
Who is Lina Mikelinich?
My journey started 38 years ago in Colombia, South America. I attended an all girl catholic school and despite my conservative schooling, my parents raised me to be a very independent woman. My mother stayed home and provided me with opportunities that she never had. She took major life obstacles and taught me how to bridge them into my life, which has made her one of the most important and fascinating people in my life.
What is Lina’s mantra?
Own your destiny, always do the right think, and remember, you can do ANYTHING you want!
What’s the most frequently asked question Lina gets?
“What brought you to the United States.” The quick answer is a job rejection. Yes, you read this correctly, and this rejection became my new obstacle to overcome. In fact, overcoming that rejection led me to quit a great job at a bank. I arrived in the United States in 1999. What I found the most captivating was the whole concept of being able to start a new life in a different country, with a new culture…and a new language. I had the ability to create her own destiny.
If you could give ONE piece of advice to a young woman, what would it be?
DO NOT be afraid to do what you really want to do, but be aware that there will be compromises. My compromise was leaving my family and friends to follow my dream…a decision I’ve never regretted.
How important of a role do you think a mentor plays?
A VERY important role. Everybody should always have people that care about you and provide you with sincere advice if you want to do better.
In a recent book I read called Who Says It’s A Man’s World, the author says: You must be a magnificent woman FIRST, to have a magnificent career.” What is your thought about this?
You should be Magnificent person first, to have a magnificent career, just the idea that we are calling women versus men is totally wrong, we all have opportunities, thoughts, and dreams and the gender does not define our career, we define what we aspire to be.
Lina, you are truly in a “male dominated” industry (finance) what I really admire about you is that while you assert yourself, you make clear and concise decisions, and yet I’ve NEVER seen you wear the cloak of “masculinity” when doing your job. This is something that a lot of us women (myself included) struggle with. We are somehow taught that to be taken seriously, we needed to take on masculine traits. Have you been aware of this or did you make a conscious decision NOT to take on these traits?
We all are different; we all add value in different ways. I am embrace who I am, I feel comfortable and confident about the value I add to the team. Adding Value is the key concept. If you add value and your team sees that, you should not care if you are around women or men.
What are the two most valuable lessons you have learned in your career?
- Two is better than one
- A great team will make you better everyday, a great team will challenge you and will make you do great things
What were two obstacles (personal obstacles) that you overcame and feel it has positively affected your career?
Being foreign and not having perfect English is always going to be obstacle. I used to be really frustrated and feel bad when I was not able to communicate exactly how I wanted to with people, I work on this matter on a daily basis. This is my WIP (work in progress) area and will be always. However, because of this obstacle, I am a better listener, I overthink and analyze information and observe a lot how people communicate. I try to learn from great communicators.
What are two lessons you wish you could have learned early on in your career?
Take care of your team, allow them to be themselves because we are all different and we can get the same great results in different ways!
What advice would you give to a young woman on the rise in the corporate world?
Be open to learn from other people, be a sponge, be open to ideas do not be afraid make mistakes as long as you learn from them. A group of people is better than one individual.