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Out of a uniform and into a suit. One veteran's perspective on Intuitive's culture and vision

Wayne Johnson

After leaving the United States Army, Wayne Johnson wasn’t sure he wanted to go back to work as nothing seemed like the right fit – until he heard about Intuitive. Below, Wayne explained his journey to Intuitive, his passion for recruiting veterans into the organization, and why he applied for a job but stayed for a career at Intuitive.

Wayne Johnson wasn’t sure he wanted to go back to work.

After leaving the United States Army, he’d made a move in the startup world that hadn't “worked out” and was considering what to do next. “One of the fears you have when getting out of the military is: Am I going to be surrounded by people I can trust and who are going to have good camaraderie and a common passion and vision?” Wayne explained.

As he researched companies and met with recruiters and hiring managers, nothing seemed like the right fit—but then he heard about Intuitive.

“This company is very similar to what I had been looking for since I got out of the Army,” he said. “Everyone I met really convinced me that this was the place I wanted to be.”

Building the right team

Wayne has been with Intuitive since 2009 as a da Vinci clinical sales manager. Beyond the duties of that role, he’s also active with the employee resource group Veterans Engaged for Teamwork and Support (VETS), which helps recruit veterans across the company and provide them support—and he has served on the ERG’s board and currently co-chairs their recruitment activities.

“My job is to help educate veterans about why they should come to our organization,” Wayne explained. “And on the flip side of that, I also help our own people understand what veterans bring to the table and why you want them on your team.”

Part of that is providing guidance to those interviewing veterans, as some candidates might be entering civilian work without specific business experience, such as in sales. “How do you interview someone for a sales role when they don’t have sales experience?” is a question he fields often, and he encourages hiring managers to consider that veterans are highly trained and experienced in other relevant areas.

“Ask them about how they work, or how hard they work,” he said. “In terms of sales, do they have that gene that it takes to guide people to do something differently than what they would normally do? Veterans have so many skills that might not be sales exactly, but they are more than qualified.”

The service mentality

Beyond recruitment, the VETS ERG also focuses on greater service to the community, as well as career development for veterans—assigning incoming candidates a mentor to help ease their transition into the company.

To Wayne, these activities are merely an extension of the broader culture at Intuitive of trust and high accountability, which are crucial in any team situation, from the office to the battlefield. “I've gotten to the point in my life where I really understand that the most important resource in any venture is the people,” he said. “If you get that part right, it takes care of everything else. You see that demonstrated time and time and time again at Intuitive.”

VETS often participates in community service projects, like raising money for Gold Star families and advocating for mental health reform. In some cases, they even jump in to help with emergency relief efforts. Wayne recounted a story of a time when VETS members jumped into action after a series of vicious winter storms swept through Texas, knocking out critical utilities and leaving roads impassable for days.

“We had Scott Floyd, VP of Capital Sales and who was also in the Army, and Matt Davis, field service manager and a U.S. Marine veteran—they jumped on a plane, someone rented a big truck, and they filled it with water and supplies and delivered it to people who needed it.”

Making a greater impact

“This company puts its money where its mouth is,” Wayne said. “And that’s really more rare than you imagine. This is a culture of performance and compassion.”

From customer and employee support programs during the pandemic to everyday work, it’s a mentality Wayne says he sees across the board at Intuitive—and one that he shares with his team, all of whom are committed to making a positive impact on patients’ lives and helping surgeons understand how Intuitive can help them advance what’s possible in minimally invasive care. The proof of that commitment runs deep, from late nights or sessions to last-minute travel for surgeons and patients in urgent need of help.

“That’s the why,” says Wayne. “People do this job because they want to be able to give back. That’s why I got into this field after the Army—because I always had that service mentality. When I stepped out of my uniform and into a suit, I wanted to be able to continue that.”

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Wayne Johnson

After leaving the United States Army, Wayne Johnson (da Vinci Clinical Sales Manager) wasn’t sure he wanted to go back to work as nothing seemed like the right fit—until he heard about Intuitive.

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