Can you briefly introduce yourself and what led to your current profession within Marketing?
I am the founder and principal of Ready Set Bold, a fractional strategy and marketing organization, crafting successful product and global marketing strategies for startups to Fortune 500s across 80+ countries. With over 19+ years of experience in Medical Devices and Life sciences, I am an award winning global marketeer and strategist. Recently I was honoured to be recognised as a LinkedIN Top Voice for Thought Leadership.
I started my career as an electrical engineering intern in Medical Devices and spent over 15 years in Med Devices which took me from research and development, quality systems management to leading global marketing teams across three continents. A chance conversation with a VP of marketing after a presentation I gave as a quality engineer was the spark that ignited my marketing career.
As the CMO of UK-based non-profit Speak Out Revolution I guide companies towards workplace inclusivity. I am an alum of Michigan Tech and Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business. Alongside my co-host Olivia Cream, I am the voice behind the “Embracing Only” podcast, celebrating women who dare to be different.
I am based in Dusseldorf, Germany and my vision is rooted in transforming workplaces through empathy and innovation, striving to catalyze impactful change. I live by my mantra of: Be bold, be brave, be YOU.
Throughout your career with Stryker, what was your most memorable achievement?
I had a lot of great opportunities to drive impact and improve healthcare for patients around the world at Stryker. From building a EMEA business from the ground up with 5 employees to almost 300+ when I left the organization, to winning Crazy Hat Day with the Electrical Engineering team who had never competed in a competition prior to that, to moving to Germany as a 27 yr. old and building a family here.
My most memorable achievement at Stryker was designing, CE marketing, identifying a manufacturing facility and launching a bed to market in the early chaotic days of the pandemic in under 15 days.
There was a significant shortage of hospital beds and countries were scrambling to find these resources. Some amazing engineers across Turkey and the US designed a bed that could be shipped and assembled in a box in the 1000’s to help hospitals in dire need. I had a chance to lead the outside of the US development, CE marking efforts, find a manufacturing location and expedite bringing a bed into the world in under 15 days, in what usually takes 5 to 7 years to realise.
To see team mates globally, break through cross functional and geographical barriers, put in 20+ hour days for 4-6 weeks and to come together to truly live out the Stryker mission of “Together with our customers we are driven to make healthcare better” to life. is probably one of my most memorable achievements at Stryker. In the time of need we showed up for our customers in a way they needed to be served.
You’re a host and producer at Embracing “ONLY” Podcast along with Olivia Grant-Cream, what was your vision when you decided to create this platform?
Women and particularly women of color are constantly bombarded with societal and systemic hurdles that they face professionally with no balance in solutions. News, media and coaching tend to focus on our differences and the obstacles but do not provide thought provoking solutions to help people regain control of their lives and find direction. The Embracing Only podcast seeks to provide a community for “The Only’s” to share their lived experiences and not feel alone in their journey to claim their power and purpose in the communities they seek to serve, transform and impact.
I created this platform alongside my previous host Meha Chiraya and we called it The Nine Oh Six. We brought this into the world in the 7 weeks before I had my third kid and Meha had her second. We hit ‘go live’ the day we had our kids from the hospital bed I remember! While the show has evolved in the 4 years since, alongside my partner in arms Olivia Cream, I am so grateful for that journey to share the stories of women defining success on their own terms.
What are some of the most significant challenges you’ve encountered and how have you overcome them?
When you are an ‘an only’ in the workplace your journey is one where society tells you to try to survive. But I have always embraced the mindset of thriving inspite it all. From microaggression, to gas lighting, to bullying and harassment in the workplace, I have navigated it all. Building my ‘board of directors’ who were steadfast with me during that time, investing in my own personal growth and development, and teaching people how to treat me were significant in helping me navigate and thrive what so many experience in their careers and workplaces.
I am a huge advocate for workplace inclusivity after having navigated and helping 100’s of men and women navigate transitions out of toxic workplaces. Data from 33 industries and 36+ countries indicates that workplace bullying and harassment is prevalent in zero tolerance environments with only 4% of those formally reported complaints being resolved even when 67% of them have someone present. There is so much work to be done, because until we create ‘speak up’ cultures where people feel safe to debrief on failure we cannot truly innovate and rise above the mediocre to be bold and change the markets we impact.
As a Marketing consultant, having worked in the Medical device industry, how important is it to build a marketing team before FDA approval?
It is never too early to bring in your first marketing hire. The type of marketing hire you bring in is critical ofcourse. While you can always supplement and work with an agency to help you with your digital marketing needs, having your first hire be a product marketer can be game changing for your business. Someone who can truly drive a customer centred design thinking approach through all parts of that customer journey from the start can ensure that when you are ready to go to market your impact, solutions, narratives and your storytelling are from the lens of the customer and not through the lens of what you think the product can do for the market. It is a tiny difference but I speak to and guide so many companies that are doing this so much later in their journey or not doing it at all.
Are you still actively involved in the medical industry?
Yes I am still actively involved in the Medical device industry. I continue to guide companies through Ready Set Bold with their new product development launches, product marketing initiatives and bringing their innovation into new markets. I engage in local Med Device communities, MedTech Women and other European networks. I continue to mentor and coach rising stars within the Medical Device community across engineering and leadership.
Can you share any advice for individuals who aspire to follow a similar career path or pursue similar interests?
I have three pieces of advice.
a. Don’t let somebody else’s definition of success be yours. Get very clear on what it is you want and then be your biggest advocate to help go make it happen. Don’t hand over the keys to your career and impact to a family member, a manager or an ‘organization’.
b. There is power in imperfect action. Embrace discomfort and fear and take little steps, however imperfect they might feel towards achieving what you need. There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ time, the ‘perfect’ opportunity, the ‘perfect’ time in role. Consistent action over time equals growth.
c. Get familiar with the Spotlight Effect early in your career. It is a psychological phenomenon where people tend to overestimate the extent to which their actions and appearance are noted by others. So let go about how you are being perceived and focus on your genuine goals so you can lead more effectively and inspire action that advocates for lasting change.
What are some personal or professional goals you’re currently working towards, and what steps are you taking to achieve them?
I set my goals from birthday to birthday vs. end of year as I find that so arbitrary. Here are my three impact goals through July of next year that coincides with my 1 year journey as a business owner.
- Expand the influence of Ready Set Bold by spearheading innovative projects that bridge gaps in healthcare markets globally for companies as small as $40M in revenue to upwards of $1B+. Just onboarded my first team member and now we are serving markets across the US, Europe and Asia.
- Lead workplace transformation engagements for 10 organisations through the ‘Speak Up’ culture transformation curriculum. We held a workshop for the Harvard Kennedy School and their alumni this past month and hoping to drive impact to other organisations in 2024.
- Just became a first time investor this past month. In 2024 I hope to build and partner with Venture Capital (VC)’s and accelerators to to recognise and incorporate workplace inclusivity practices as early as Series ‘A’ funding.
I decided to embrace building a business in this season of life and I am learning a lot along the way. I was very deliberate of the type of life I want to build on this journey for my family. So my largest overarching goal is to ensure I can and continue to build according to those values and principles I set forth.
Personal stretch goal: to get Bozomo St. John on the “Embracing Only” podcast. If any of the readers know her personally, and want to get me a helping hand, I will take all the help I can get. 🙂
What is your advice for leaders to cultivate more inclusive teams and build a space for true Allyship?
Aparna R shared the definition of Allyship as shared by the anti oppressive network and it is my favorite description of it as well:
“an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group”
She then goes ok to share 6 ways to be true allies and here is the link to her original article as a reference that I have synthesised for leaders seeking to build more inclusive environments
When you shift from just intent to impact you start the journey of an ally.
- Identity vs. Action: Allyship is not a label to wear but is demonstrated through consistent, supportive actions.
- Continuous Learning: Educating oneself on social issues is a key step in becoming an ally, utilizing resources and engaging in informed discussions.
- Accountability: True allies hold themselves and others accountable for fostering equality and challenging biases within their communities.
- Integrity: Actions should align with words; performative statements without action erode trust and do not contribute to allyship.
- Active Engagement: Allyship involves actively confronting social issues and biases, not just passively supporting from the sidelines.
- Comprehensive Commitment: Being an ally is a long-term commitment to supporting social justice and human rights for all.
- Recent book that has inspired me?
Reimagine Inclusion by Mita Mallick and Color of Emotional Intelligence by Farah Harris. Tow great books for leaders to teams and organisation to build cultures where everyone can thrive!
How can companies use cross departmental communication to outperform peers:
Cross-functional communication helps companies outperform their peers by:
1. Unified Business Plan: Aligning marketing and business strategies to overall business objectives.
2. Alignment of KPIs: Tying departmental key performance indicators (KPIs) to marketing metrics ensures that all departments are working towards the same goals.
3. Communication Corridors: Establishing cross-departmental teams for key campaigns promotes collaboration and unified efforts across the company
Archita Fritz , Founder, Ready Set Bold
With over 19+ years of leadership as a F500 executive, Archita Fritz is an award winning global marketeer and strategist. She is the founder of Ready Set Bold, a workplace transformation practice that partners with Startups to F500 with their people, product and process transformation needs. As the CMO of UK-based non-profit Speak Out Revolution, she champions workplace inclusivity and safety. An alum of Michigan Tech and Northwestern Kellogg, she’s the voice behind the “Embracing Only” podcast, celebrating those who dare to be different. Based in Dusseldorf, Archita’s vision is rooted in transforming workplaces through empathy and innovation, striving to catalyze impactful change. She lives her mantra: Be bold, be brave, be YOU.