Tara Florek, Global Education and Development Leader, 3M Health Care

What’s your current role?

I lead strategy and planning for the 3M Health Care Academy, our global customer-facing education platform. Working with adult learning professionals, we collaborate with area teams to identify, plan and execute the digital platforms and educational content that supports healthcare professionals. Our purpose is to improve lives by advancing knowledge through engaging, robust, relevant learning experiences.

When and why did you join the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST?

I joined the TRUST in 2017 and currently co-facilitate the monthly new member coffee chats, work on the Leadership Development committee and serve on the Associate Board of Directors.

Do you have a favorite TRUST memory so far?

My favorite TRUST memory was the mentor/mentee kick-off in 2019. After a refresh, the program’s inaugural kick-off, and the room’s energy was infectious. I met some lifelong friends that night who have supported me both professionally and personally, and I have the TRUST (specifically the mentor program) to thank for that.

If you’ve ever had a mentor, how did that person help you most?

I have been fortunate enough to participate twice in the mentorship program via the TRUST, and both mentors have been incredibly impactful to me. I have leaned on them for career transition advice, navigating new work dynamics, and dealing with a team during the pandemic. They have been sounding boards and confidants when stakes were high and I needed support. I am forever grateful for my TRUST mentors and happy even years after our partnership ended. I have them as friends to seek advice from when needed.

What is the best career advice you’ve received?

Find your purpose. Care less about your title or role and more about your overall purpose. Identifying the things you care about is essential with the world being so volatile. Purpose is all about applying your skills toward contributing to the greater good in a way that matters to you.

What support do you need now to evolve your development as a leader?

In a world of constant change, leaders must be lifelong learners. They must sharpen their skills, including negotiation, influencing, emotional intelligence, and the list goes on and on. As a leader, I need a partner looking at the health care landscape and providing programming and upskilling opportunities as change happens. The TRUST is a great partner that recognizes what is happening in the health care arena and society and adopts to support its members.

How do you support other women in their leadership journeys?

Always say yes to a request for a coffee chat. You may not be the person who can help them directly, but you may be the connection point to something much bigger

How do you maintain or improve your health and well-being?

I take intentional time to exercise almost every day. It is the best medicine for my mind, body and soul. I also invite others to exercise with me. Some of the best connections I have were made while on a walk or hike.

Who inspires you?

My sister, Tory Merhar (also a TRUST member), inspires me. As Associate Vice President for one of the largest nonprofits in Minnesota, Tory always leads with head and heart together. She combines compassion, fun, and strong business knowledge and is known for her “alive” workplace, which allows employees at all levels of the organization to thrive.