From “insecure overachiever” to intriguing leader

Aug 20, 2020

Passionate. Self-Aware. Fierce. Fearless.

Spend time with Rodamni Peppa, the Boston Scientific Vice President for Business Strategy & Commercial Excellence for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and you quickly notice her leadership qualities and talent.

Yet despite her accomplishments, Rodamni admits that, like many female leaders, she has struggled with imposter syndrome, calling herself an “insecure overachiever.”

She attributes her success to learning how to constructively channel feelings of fear and self-doubt and use it as fuel to work harder and push past boundaries.

An Independent Extrovert Who Embraces the Unknown

After earning a master’s degree in molecular biology, Rodamni began studying for her PhD.  She changed course after being presented with an opportunity to work as a life sciences analyst for a consulting firm. “I didn’t know what the work entailed, but it felt like the right step. I knew I needed to follow my gut instincts and throw myself into the unknown. I quickly realized that I am an extrovert. I enjoyed getting out of the lab and interacting with people more.”

Rodamni was soon advising senior-level executives in the male-dominated life sciences field. In one of her presentations, she explained to the leaders of a family-owned pharmaceutical company that their business needed restructuring – a message they did not want to hear.

“Since they couldn’t attack my analysis, an older man stood up, literally flexed his muscles and said, ‘What is this 26-year old little girl coming here to teach me?’” says Rodamni. “It froze me on the spot. Fortunately, my manager jumped in to support me and my work.”

After working for consulting firms in Great Britain, the United States and Italy, she changed course again in 2012 when a project for Boston Scientific opened another door for her to become an interventional cardiology marketing manager based in Italy.  Although going into the industry was another shot in the dark, Rodamni took it and never looked back. Today, she is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to support digital initiatives for sales and marketing in six divisions throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Forget Balance, Find your Voice

When asked what has been most critical to her career growth and job satisfaction, Rodamni stresses authenticity and setting realistic expectations. “Balancing life and work is not an impossible task but requires creativity and determination.  If you feel a job is right for you, define your terms and ask for what you need to achieve healthy work-life integration.” Rodamni recalls that when her son was young, she blocked out 3:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. every day to be with him and then resumed work later in the quieter evening hours.

Working from home amid the pandemic, achieving healthy integration has required new adjustments.

“At first, I felt that because I wasn’t traveling, I should always be available to my teams, and since I was at home, I didn’t need to prioritize family-time the way I had before. I was spending less quality time with my family, burning myself out and needed to establish boundaries.”

Rodamni has since scheduled breaks to be with family throughout the day. “I realized that I could do both – manage my teams and have lunch with my son every day, something I’ve never been able to do before.”

Find Your Future Self

Rodamni acknowledges that gaining the confidence to overcome imposter syndrome doesn’t always come from within; role models, advocates and a network of influential peers are critical. “I’ve been fortunate to have encouraging leaders around me, and to be inspired by other executives, male and female, who have pushed me to grow and take risks.”

Honor the Path to Equity

For decades, women have advocated for equity in the workplace, and Rodamni believes that a deep understanding of women’s history is a powerful way to ensure progress. She challenges men to educate themselves about the difficulties women face and ask what they can do to improve the experiences of their female peers and employees.

Spread the Word

As more women today find the courage to leap into the unknown, Rodamni believes her story and those of other female leaders can have a tremendous impact. She frequently shares her story when presenting to her teams, concluding with a last piece of advice, “Don’t try to emulate the male leaders that came before you; female leaders are much more intriguing. The beauty of many women leaders is that they are not afraid to recognize emotions. Leadership is about mixing reasoning with the right level of emotional empathy.”

For Rodamni (right), family is her safe place and her sister (left) is the most honest sounding board for life's biggest choices