Inside the Operating Room

Along with the surgeons he advises, John Griffith GS’19 is in the business of saving lives. For his important work and commitment to investing in others, Bethel recognized Griffith with a 4 Under 40 Alumni Achievement Award.

By Jenny Hudalla ’15, lead communications specialist

August 17, 2021 | Noon

John Griffith and family

John Griffith GS'19 is a recipient of one of this year's 4 Under 40 Alumni Achievement Awards. Outside of his work in medical device sales, he enjoys golf, CrossFit, and spending time with his wife, Kami, and sons, Bennett (4) and Brooks (2).

John Griffith GS’19 will never forget what it felt like to wait outside the operating room while his father underwent extensive heart surgery. Then a territory manager at 3M, Griffith was committed—but not personally connected—to his work in medical device sales. When he watched his father walk out of the hospital with a smile, Griffith had “a light-bulb moment” that shaped the trajectory of his career.

Now, Griffith assists interventional cardiologists with similarly high-risk procedures as a coronary account manager for Abbott—a major healthcare manufacturing company—and derives great meaning from reuniting patients with their loved ones. “That experience with my dad made me realize just how life-changing these devices really are,” Griffith says. “After that, I knew I wanted to actively help patients going through traumatic and often life-threatening procedures so that they could make it back to their families.”

Griffith’s role begins with the sale of an intravascular imaging product and coronary stents that work together to open up blocked arteries. After offering demonstrations and explaining how his company’s devices improve efficiency and patient outcomes, Griffith provides on-the-job training and support in the operating room. Because the imaging software system he sells allows surgeons to see inside a patient’s coronary arteries, Griffith’s goal is to help them place stents more safely and precisely. If a stent lands in a suboptimal location—or if its length and width isn’t quite right—patients might return in as little as a few months with renewed chest pain.

John Griffith

Griffith (left) provides support to surgeons using his company's imaging software system during high-risk procedures.

To manage the pressure, Griffith leans heavily on both his faith and his education. “When a patient comes in from the emergency room, time is really of the essence,” Griffith says. “All I can do is use what I know to provide the best recommendation for these surgeons, and the rest is in God’s hands.”

Griffith recently graduated from Bethel’s MBA program, which he says prepared him to think critically and act confidently in the high-stakes atmosphere that characterizes his work. It also inspired him to sign up for BethelBiz, a business mentoring program that introduced him to Ben Gibas ’20, a business finance major who had just begun to navigate a sales internship at 3M.

“During my junior and senior years at Bethel, John mentored me and played a part in my success,” says Gibas, who now works as a business development representative at NetSuite, a cloud computing company. “He has gone out of his way to help me both professionally and personally, continually speaking into me and sharing his personal journey with Christ.”

Griffith still keeps in touch with Gibas, and he plans to continue mentoring business students who are trying to discern their calling. “In interventional cardiology, I’ve finally found a space that I really enjoy,” he says. “My best advice is to find out what you’re passionate about and how you can fulfill that passion in a career. Then, reach out to people in that field and learn about what they do. The sky’s the limit on where it can take you.”

Nominate someone for a 4 Under 40 Alumni Achievement Award.

Bethel University’s National Alumni Board annually seeks and accepts nominations for the 4 Under 40 Alumni Achievement Award. The selection is made from Bethel University graduates 40 years of age or younger who have had outstanding achievements in their career, public service, or volunteer activities.

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