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Nicole Bang

Women at Alcon Inspire Inclusion
Alcon is fully committed to cultivating a culture that uplifts diversity and inspires inclusion—but we couldn’t do it without all the amazing associates and leaders on our teams around the world!

As trailblazers, innovators, leaders, mothers, daughters, sisters, and so much more, women everywhere have countless superpowers. So, we asked some of our associates what theirs are and to share their professional and personal experiences as female leaders. These individuals inspire inclusion at Alcon and beyond every day, and we are honored to celebrate them!

Nicole Bang, Country Franchise Head of Vision Care, Korea

Proudest Accomplishment

I can think of a recent one: leading Korea to be Country of the Year for two consecutive years. I’m so proud of the team who executed well with strong ownership and commitment. We are motivated to challenge ourselves to win Country of the Year again, three times in a row!

Malveen Steward

Melvaleen Steward, Global Vice President, Vision Care and Contact Lenses, U.S.

Challenges Faced as a Female Leader

Leading with kindness and empathy can sometimes be dismissed as focusing on the “soft stuff” or being less efficient. As a woman, I was coached to fit into a specific, often more dominating leadership style to prove something, especially early in my med-tech career. As we continue learning about how critical psychological safety and vulnerability are to successful leadership and high-performing teams, my style and approach are better understood, as is the fact that it was always a false dichotomy; being kind and being result-driven are not opposite traits.

May Chang

May Chang, Vision Care Franchise Head, China

What inspired you to join Alcon?

The positive impact on people’s lives we make at Alcon. During the interview stage, I watched a video from a cataract patient who described her moment after the implantation of intraocular lenses. Her facial expression and her words stay in my mind still. When I learnt about the Phaco Development efforts to train doctors in several emerging markets, I felt a strong sense of social value for what I could contribute at Alcon. This feeling also came across vividly in my interviews, which reassured me of the choice to join Alcon and be part of the team.

Caroline Fernandes

Caroline Fernandes, Project Manager, Surgical Marketing, Canada

What is your most memorable moment at Alcon?

Collaborating with our R&D colleagues and global counterparts and engaging in product evaluations. Moreover, seeing the delight of our customers and the dedication of our teams during these activities have fueled my passion for innovation and teamwork and has made me feel proud to be at Alcon.

Lisa Praeger

Lisa Praeger, General Manager, Pharmaceutical & Dry Eye, U.S.

What inspired you to join Alcon?

I was inspired to join Alcon because of the amount of annual investment Alcon put toward R&D and the investment Alcon put into employees through the retirement plan. I wanted a company that had a bright future for new products and that invested in associates.

Olivia Pelletier

Olivia Pelletier, Vision Care Cluster Europe Franchise Head, France

Challenges Faced as a Female Leader

Sometimes, I realize the main challenges I face are linked to the limitations I impose on myself. “Will I succeed at this project if I can’t control it? Should I try connecting with a person even if we don’t have projects in common?” The moment you realize your own biases, you can begin working on them. For me, self-awareness remains the most powerful asset to fight against biases and other challenges.

Serena Fittipaldi

Serena Fittipaldi, National Sales Manager, Surgical Franchise, Italy


My superpowers include emotional intuition, which allows me to understand and anticipate my team's needs, and efficiency, which is vital for balancing professional responsibilities with my personal life, especially after becoming a mother.

Carla Mack

Carla Mack, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA, Head, Global Professional Education and Development, U.S.

How do you inspire inclusion?

Actions are everything, and I’m a perpetual student. It is important as a leader I listen more than I talk and work to create an environment and culture where everyone can feel they can be themselves—and this starts with me. On my team, we have worked to get to know each other, build trust, understand each other’s differences, and respect those differences. I rely on Alcon’s Employee Resource Groups as a great resource for me and my team.

Maria Esther, Garcia de la Navarra Perez

Maria Esther, Garcia de la Navarra Perez, CAS Associate Director, Madrid

Important Qualities of a Leader

For me, being a leader means being able to help your team achieve their goals, both at a business level and in terms of personal and professional development. It involves transmitting and providing them with a set of values and tools that assist and help them to grow and achieve their aspirations. A leader is someone who knows how to enhance collaboration, possesses a 360º business vision, and works closely with their team.

Fernanda Fantini

Fernanda Fantini, Vice President, Vision Care Franchise, LATAM, U.S.

Most Rewarding Part of Being a Female Leader

As a Latina and female leader, the ability to inspire and make others believe it’s possible to achieve their dreams.

Kristen Weirick

Kristen Weirick, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, U.S.

Proudest Accomplishment

After having my children and making the decision to stay home, I didn’t re-enter the workforce until I was close to 40. Through hard work, great leadership and some luck, I’ve achieved a level of career success and fulfillment that I hadn’t imagined.

Megan Chittenden

Megan Chittenden, Vice President, Vision Care Field Sales, U.S.

What inspired you to join Alcon?

Alcon’s mission to help people see brilliantly, as well as the innovation and services we offer that help address unmet patient needs. There are three generations of glaucoma, a sight-stealing disease, in my family and I was inspired to join a company that is impacting patient outcomes in this space.

Justyna Justynska-Reimann

Justyna Justynska-Reimann, General Manager R&D, Sr. Director Tech Transfer & Process Improvement, Germany


My superpowers are my high energy and appreciation for liking who I am: a researcher, a female leader, a mum, a stranger in a self-chosen citizenry. It let me develop differentiated perspectives and value my family, job, and community.

Juri Sada

Juri Sada, CAS Head, Japan

What is your most memorable moment at Alcon?

The most memorable moment for me was when I moved from the marketing department to another department. At that time, I shared with my colleagues many memories of what I had accomplished in the Marketing Department for six years, what made me happy, what I struggled for, what I found worthwhile. I was very moved and wanted to share this experience with them.

Simona Colombo

Simona Colombo, Customer Operations Manager, Surgical Franchise, Italy

What is the most rewarding part of being a female leader?

The most rewarding part of being a female leader is that I never felt any limitations in exercising the role thanks to a supportive and respectful environment.

Kristen Brotherson

Kristen Brotherson, Vice President, Vision Care Franchise, U.S.

Challenges Faced as a Female Leader

Historically, when working with new vendors or customers, I was underestimated and it was often assumed I was a trainee or junior associate. When I shared my role and title, the response was often something like, “Well good for you! “. Now, I have a magnet on my fridge commemorating the experience: a woman from the 50s saying, “Go ahead and underestimate me. That will be fun!”

Reiko Mandai

Reiko Mandai, Alcon Japan Chief Financial Officer, Japan

What inspired you to join Alcon?

The people I met. They made me realize clearly that I wanted to join Alcon. Since then, I have been surrounded by great people.

Stephanie Waugh

Stephanie Waugh, Vice President, Country Franchise Head, Japan, Vision Care, U.S.

Important Qualities of a Leader

The best leaders build strong collaboration and trust across teams. We dare to achieve new and exceptional goals. Yet, to be successful, we will have times of anxiety, stress, and fear. To push ourselves outside our comfort zone, we need the trust and collaboration of colleagues: a sounding board, a new insight, or a partner on a difficult path. In the end, the best leaders build strong teams.

Stacey Gauvin

Stacey Gauvin, Director Professional Education & Affairs, Canada

Important Qualities of a Leader

Without a doubt, the foremost qualities I have seen and replicated are empathy, authenticity and courage. Empathy enables you to feel the room, meet people where they are, and gauge the necessary pace. Authenticity opens the door for everyone around you to be themselves, and when we bring our real selves to work, there are endless possibilities. And I think of courage as being defined as “not the absence of fear, but being afraid, and doing it anyway.”

Nathalie Lazarus

Nathalie Lazarus, Head HR, Intl Growth & Export Markets & APL, Switzerland

How do you inspire inclusion?

I try to make sure everyone has a voice and feels heard. I also try to recognize and celebrate differences.