Jovita Chevalier-Taty is a Senior Compliance Audit Specialist with Medtronic. Much like a detective, she is responsible for ensuring that tissue banks and suppliers throughout the United States are compliant with strict regulatory requirements. Her job has taken her from Medtronic Spinal’s operational headquarters in Memphis to 38 states, and she hopes to eventually visit all 50.
Jovita describes herself as a closet type A personality, and as a mother of two and Medtronic “sleuth,” the classic skills of a type A individual are essential. What sets her apart is her ability to combine efficiency with compassion. Giving the gift of life is a decision donor families make at difficult times, and Jovita makes sure that authorizations and/or notifications of a donation are properly obtained before recovery.
Welcome, Jovita, a Memphian who is making a behind-the-scenes difference in our community and, in turn, communities around the world every day.
Have you always called Memphis home?
I was born and raised in Lafayette, LA, the oldest of four kids. My mom was a bookkeeper, and my dad worked for a construction company by day and played in a zydeco band by night. I didn’t get a healthy dose of artistic genes, so I majored in chemistry at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans.
My mom remarried and moved to Memphis with my two sisters after I graduated from college. By June of that summer, my dad was in Europe with his band, and my brother’s unit had been activated and he was heading to the Middle East. I didn’t want to spend the whole summer alone, so I came to Memphis to visit for the summer, met my husband and the rest is history. I’ve been here for about 20 years. Memphis is home now. I am now married to Christian Taty, who is an aircraft engineer, and we have two daughters: Caroline (17) and Jolie (12).
Describe the daily responsibilities of a Senior Compliance Audit Specialist, and how did you achieve this role at Medtronic?
I think “detective” is a good analogy. In a nutshell, I ensure tissue banks and suppliers are compliant with strict regulatory requirements. My audit experience up until joining Medtronic in 2011 had involved quality system audits and process audits. I was hired by Medtronic to audit tissue banks and hospitals. I understood the quality system and process audit parts, but I had to learn the tissue-specific (FDA – HCT/P and American Association of Tissue Banks -AATB) and health care-specific (The Joint Commission) standards and regulations. Within two years, I became a Certified Tissue Bank Specialist through AATB. Last year, I obtained ISO Lead Auditor Certification for Medical Devices.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
When I audit a tissue bank, I make sure that authorizations and/or notifications of a donation are properly obtained before recovery. Giving the gift of life is a decision donor families make during difficult times. It’s also a decision that donors may make themselves by registering as an organ or tissue donor. Sometimes families are unaware of this decision until that difficult time. I review documents and files, making sure those difficult conversations with family members took place and that family members were adequately informed before recovery.
A typical daily agenda for you?
Up at 5:30 a.m.; taxi kids to different locations; into the office around 8:30 a.m. to review my audit schedule, meet with/call auditees, make travel plans, write and submit audit reports; 5:30 p.m., pick up kids from different locations; return home between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Briefly describe what Medtronic does locally, nationally and internationally.
Medtronic employs more than 85,000 people in over 160 countries. The Medtronic mission statement is “to contribute to human welfare by application of biomedical engineering in the research, design, manufacture, and sale of instruments or appliances that alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life.” In summary, Medtronic’s focus is to enhance the lives of people around the world.
Describe yourself in three adjectives.
Analytical; thorough; closet type A personality (I won’t openly admit it though.)
How do you balance extensive travel with your role as mom?
To create a balance between work and family, I try not to leave before school starts on travel days. That way, I get to drop the girls off, then travel while they are in school. In the evening, I call or FaceTime the girls and try to have the same conversations we’d have if I were there. We use FaceTime to help with homework or when I need to quiz them for tests the next day.
An audit day usually occurs during normal business hours. Afterwards, I go through my notes and the next day’s agenda, call/FaceTime the girls, check email, return phone calls, work on audit reports and get ready for the next day.
On my return day, I always try to get back by the time the girls return home. I must admit that I have a great support system. My husband, mom, sister and brother-in-law all pitch in at times. In fact, my mom used to sleep over whenever I would travel just to make sure my girls were OK and ready for school the next day.
What are some of your favorite destinations you have been to with Medtronic?
Washington, Oregon and, of course, Puerto Rico. Although those are my favorites, I would like to visit all 50 states. So far, I’ve visited 38 states (25 of those in the past four years).
Do you have a favorite activity or set of activities away from work?
1) Asking my two daughters a minimum of 100 questions each per day
2) I Google “earthquakes today,” every day.
3) I love watching “Criminal Minds” and “Law & Order: SVU” episodes.
What are some basic words of wisdom you can offer based on your professional experience, or perhaps a favorite quote?
“Life doesn’t stop and wait for you to get on board.” “Just do it!” “Sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right location.”
Do you have a specific mentor? How has that person influenced you?
Natika Calhoun. Natika hired me into Medtronic in 2011 and was instrumental in my obtaining CTBS certification. I conducted audits with her and learned a lot by discussing standards and how they applied during and after audits.
What Memphis restaurants are top on your list?
As an avid reader, can you share some recommendations from your bookshelf?
- The last book read: The Attakapas Country: A History of Lafayette Parish by Harry Lewis Griffin.
- A book I’ve just started: Tennis Tactics: Winning Patterns of Play
- A book I enjoyed that has professional significance: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- I love James Lee Burke’s books because of the south Louisiana locale. (Jolie Blon’s Bounce, Last Car to Elysian Fields)
What three lighthearted things you could not live without?
My iPhone, Starbucks, the Password Vault app
Thank you, Jovita, for sharing an inside glimpse of how you fulfill the roles of mom and medical “detective,” and for reminding us about Medtronic’s worldwide impact.
Today’s photographs of Jovita at Medtronic’s Memphis headquarters were taken by Micki Martin.
Memphis is filled with women who are making a difference in our community and beyond … Meet them on StyleBlueprint every Monday. Click here to subscribe.