Lori Gunther, Synova CEO, and Mead Johnson Nutrition employees at the 2019 Nurse Leadership Forum

An Essential Partnership that Empowers Nurse Leaders Through Connection and Innovation

Meet Lauri Symonds. Lauri currently serves in the role of Director of Professional Services at Reckitt/Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN), and she is based in Evansville, IN.

When we met with Lauri it was clear that she has always had a passion for helping babies.  She has spent 30 plus years working at Mead Johnson because of their mission to provide babies the best start in life and because of their unwavering commitment to groundbreaking research that advances the science of pediatric nutrition. In 2017, Mead Johnson Nutrition was acquired by Reckitt, home to the world’s best loved and trusted hygiene, health and nutrition brands. Their commitment to science and innovation lives on – helping to protect, heal and nurture people all over the world.  The R&D team works with relentless energy to collaborate with global experts to be on the forefront of nutrition research.  This consistent commitment fuels her passion to work with healthcare professionals and ensure they have the support they need to provide the best care for their patients.  To work alongside Lauri and her visionary approach to how nurse leaders can lead innovation and research is an honor.

As the last 18 months have shown all of us, we need strong partners that hold us up when everything else seems to get us down.  Lauri and the tremendous team at MJN certainly answered our requests at Synova for support when our company was most vulnerable due to COVID.

Lauri Symonds

Lauri Symonds, Director, Professional Services, Reckitt/Mead Johnson Nutrition

Emerging Leader Fellows with Lauri Symonds

Leadership and Nurses

This summer Synova met with Lauri to ask her why she chose to partner with Synova and other Associations in a way that clearly was geared at providing much needed resources and brand support during the pandemic. Lauri explained to us, “I started as a young mom working part-time on the consumer 1-800# and after several years decided to start full time in Medical Sales.  As a Business Team Leader, I worked with different districts calling on healthcare professionals and sharing our latest innovations.  From there, I transitioned into our Global Sales Training team working with new Representatives and Field Sales Coaches. Three years later, I found myself in Sales Operations managing communications and medical meetings.  I would remain in that area for several more years taking on increased responsibilities including our National Sales Meeting.  Now I focus on stakeholder management and am the liaison with professional societies.  Through all roles, it remains clear to me the importance of education, research, and advocacy. My goal is to partner with those associations where shared successes have the most business impact and the most impact around babies and children.” 

“Throughout my career, I have felt a strong sense of connection with nurses and advocating to promote women in leadership roles. Nurses are on the frontlines of caring for babies and they see the need for research to develop better products that would address issues such as failure to thrive, digestion issues, or feeding difficulties. Nurses are aware of the direct impacts and best outcomes when innovations can address such problems for vulnerable babies.”  Lauri speaks with such passion and commitment when she talks about how her work impacts Moms, babies and providers.

We asked Lauri to tell us what recently has made her most proud of the work MJN supported for nurses.  “I can’t stop thinking about one of the nurse’s presentations at the most recent NANN research event that was about neuroprotection of oral enjoyment by offering milk drops. I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and innovation of the research. I truly enjoy witnessing research presentations that advance the health and care of babies combined with a business perspectivesuch as reduced length of stay that decreases overall costs. This type of event is essential, to take research from an individual organization and scale it to larger settings to make greater impacts for the good of both babies and their families.”

“Overall, a great leader is a strong listener. I have learned this throughout my career and have been able to implement it as a strategy through Mead Johnson’s partnerships with other frontline organizations. Throughout my 30 plus years of history working with Mead Johnson, I have seen the benefits of a strong business and science-focused company partnering to work with nurses on the front lines to improve both patient outcomes and increased business benefits as well.” 

Thank you, Lauri! We couldn’t agree more.

A Strong Partnership

There is inherent value in capitalizing on synergy between a small company like Synova that has a strong history and community with a large corporate company that has both integrity and resources. Synova’s interest in expanding education aligns with Mead Johnson’s medical research initiatives. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic Synova was faced with the task of how to get vital information to all nursing leaders when in-person events, like NICU Leadership Forum and Perinatal Leadership Forum, weren’t possible.  Early in 2020 Synova staff and Lauri Symonds met to discuss the needs of nurse leaders and what types of innovative approaches could be coordinated to provide the support nurses were requesting.

It was from these early conversations that it was decided Synova would hold town hall events for perinatal and neonatal leaders to help disseminate information and create a conversation on what was happening across the country.   Synova recruited experts for the town hall panels and together these two companies co-marketed these events to reach maximum exposure to nurse leaders in our industry.  After listening and hearing all the challenges our healthcare workers and leaders were faced with, MJN provided 130 scholarships to the 2020 virtual Synova events to further support the Synova nurse leaders.

18 months later we have learned so much through these collaborations and listening to the needs of nurse leaders.  Because we now understand the importance of peer support and transparency Synova, through the support of MJN, was able to write its first ever white paper.

Synova Town Hall Speakers

Learn more about Mead Johnson Nutrition

Read more about the impact of the Town Halls, COVID Debriefing calls and the ability to be part of a community of peers to decrease burn out and increase hope.