Brianna Alvarado left the Rio Grande Valley to start her career—but she always planned to go back. Intuitive has given her the chance to do just that, as she applies the experience she’s gained in the field to make an impact closer to home. Below, Brianna explains how she and her colleagues help hospitals help patients, reflects on what it was like to climb the learning curve of her first job in clinical sales, and shares what she’s excited about both in her role, and as a recruitment co-chair for ¡HOLA!, the employee resource group (ERG) for Intuitive’s Hispanic and Latinx community.
What brought you to Intuitive, and to your current role?
Before I joined, I was working for a software company, and I noticed a lot of my teammates who left were going into healthcare sales. I started looking into it, and a recruiter reached out on LinkedIn. I knew nothing about Intuitive—I remember trying to talk to him and look up the company on my phone at the same time! I was impressed by that conversation, and then as part of my interview process, I visited a hospital with an Intuitive system. When I walked into the OR, that’s when I truly understood. I thought, “I want to be here. What do I need to do?”
Intuitive took a chance on me, and I moved to Lafayette, Louisiana, as a clinical territory associate in 2019. I was open from the start about wanting to move home to Texas eventually and within a few years, I got that chance when I moved back to the Rio Grande Valley in 2021. I now have my own four hospitals with five Intuitive systems.
As a clinical sales associate (CSA), what are you working on day to day?
We think of our role as not just selling robotic systems but building whole programs. At the end of the day, our goal is to give surgeons the knowledge and support they need to better help patients, so we need to be critical thinkers and problem-solvers. What conversations do we need to have with the hospital CEO about the need for a system like this? Or for a hospital that already has a system, how could we change the block schedule to help more surgeons get access to it? Our job is different every day, which is one of the things I love about it. We work with a hospital’s executive team, the clinical team, operations, marketing—we wear lots of hats. And we’re in lots of environments—the office one day, executive meetings the next, the OR after that. Plus, my territory is more rural—I’m covering Laredo and Brownsville as well as Harlingen, which are a few hours apart—so I’m often traveling from one to another. That’s perfect for me; I don’t think I would enjoy sitting at a desk every day.
Given you were new to clinical sales, how did you build the expertise you needed?
Intuitive does a great job with that; there’s so much training before you’re in the field. You spend time at one of our facilities, and we have tons of virtual resources that help you understand things like how a conversation with a hospital executive will be different from a conversation with a surgeon. Plus, our team does a great job of supporting each other—even when you do go out in the field, you start out side-by-side with more experienced reps. Intuitive as a company is a big believer in small teams, and I think that makes such a difference. Your teammates are like your partners—we’re all thinking about the next steps to get you where you need to be.
We’re also actively encouraged to continue learning, even after that initial training period. We have quarterly meetings where we talk about where we as a team want to improve, and those conversations happen one-on-one with your manager, too. It takes trust to do that, to be vulnerable about the areas where you aren’t as comfortable, but that’s another way having small teams really helps. My manager really knows me as a person and cares about my development.
You’re part of ¡HOLA!, the employee resource group (ERG) for Intuitive’s Hispanic and Latinx community. Why was it important to you to get involved?
For me it’s part of what brought me back to the Valley in the first place—it’s about serving my community. In college I mentored other students, and so many of them struggled with getting a foot in the door for their first job. I realized there were no partnerships connecting companies with candidates from underrepresented groups, and I started reaching out to try to build them. So, when I first heard about ¡HOLA!, I knew I wanted to get involved in recruiting. Intuitive has opened so many doors for me. I’ve gotten to travel; I’ve become a better person personally and professionally; I’ve had all these dreams come true. If I can help create those same opportunities for other people, that’s what I want to do.
Creating a more diverse team is an Intuitive-wide goal. We’ve gone to Latinx-focused conferences, and we’ve been part of recruiting events in areas with large Hispanic populations. I’ve also gotten to speak to students at the local Math and Science Academy, which is especially fun for me because I was in that program myself.
What do you look forward to as you think about your future with Intuitive?
About a month after I moved back here, my best friend had an ectopic pregnancy, and she was rushed into the OR at 2 a.m. Her surgeon did use a da Vinci system, and she was home in time to host a party the next day—I remember I broke down crying as soon as I saw her there, just sitting and chatting with family and friends. But she had to travel more than an hour to get that care, even though there’s two hospitals right down the street from her. That’s just one example of why I care so much about developing my career here and growing Intuitive. There is just so much more we can do to serve people in this community—and in every community.
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