Olivier Visa ’05 is Vice President, OEM, Sports and Donor Services at RTI Surgical. Previously, he served as vice president for the global compounding business unit of Baxter Healthcare, overseeing the outsourcing sterile pharmacy business while focusing operations, quality and R&D on patient safety and innovation. Earlier, Visa held multiple commercial responsibilities in the Baxter Pharmaceuticals and Technology franchise — from U.S. sales leadership in the anesthesia and perioperative market to commercialization of emerging technologies in the emergency department—and served the global drug delivery business through M&A, licensing and integrations across global geographies. He began his career as a territory manager in the operating room and ICU with Baxter’s Pharmaseal division. Olivier also serves as a strategic advisor to emerging life sciences companies, such as ResQ Pharma, Picolife Technologies and Actiwit.
What’s one impact you’d like to highlight?
In everything I do, I use one single principle as my compass: patient safety.
In focusing on growing the business, we need to create and maximize value with patient first always top of mind.
So the important question is how to create value for your stakeholders with the patient front and center of everything you and your team do. You need to innovate and create new paradigms. I believe it’s about true teamwork with full engagement of all and respect for diverse contributions. It’s the idea of working together in a cross-functional way to tackle issues and problem solve effectively, challenging the status quo and not being afraid to fail.
Kellogg helped me understand the power of leadership and the strength of a team, and I continue to use diverse thinking to get to the best solutions, always focusing on patient safety and creating value for our key stakeholders.
“Healthcare is a business”—what’s your take on this statement?
That’s exactly what healthcare is today: a business.
Think about it. Do you want to run any major health system as a business? Absolutely. It’s the only way to increase the quality of care, because if you make the hospital more profitable, it will drive so many other benefits. It will create more value for patients, yield more innovation and enable you to invest more in research, better facilities and hiring the most talented professionals.
Success in business today means innovation and good execution. So running a healthcare organization successfully means greater innovation and consistent execution, which ultimately benefits all stakeholders. It’s the only way to approach it.
How has Kellogg been of value for you?
Kellogg has helped me lead with much greater focus, embracing diversity and collaboration.
When you get six Kellogg students in a room, you have powerful diversity of thought and experience, and out of that, more likely than not, comes an effective plan to execute. If you’re not worried about challenging assumptions or being right or wrong, you become much more open to sharing your ideas and hearing those of other people, making sure everyone has a voice. That’s the Kellogg way.
My experience at Kellogg helped me shift and lead franchises in a more collaborative way, with full cross-functional engagement. After doing all those business cases in the program, you feel like there’s no problem you can’t solve—but you also know not to try to solve everything yourself.
At RTI, in a franchise meeting, we have 12 cross-functional team members in a room focused on growing the business and solving issues, and we all recognize that diversity is everything. It helps you think differently. That’s what happens when you bring experts in supply chain, regulatory, reimbursement or project management—they help us see our issues through different lenses.
In short, Kellogg helped me understand how to get to an answer, by bringing the right team together from within and outside the company, to create the optimal collective mind and the right compass to get where we need to go.
What’s your advice for rising leaders in healthcare and business more broadly?
Never be afraid to think differently—in healthcare or any field.
Be bold. Be curious. Seek to understand. Ask questions. Remain a lifelong student, always learning, questioning, asking “What if?” That means embracing diversity, too, while never taking things for granted.
Disrupt. Don’t comply. You can’t disrupt anything by simply adhering to industry norms. Kellogg students are the next Elon Musk, Indra Nooyi and Jeff Bezos. We want hundreds of those, people who will challenge the way things are and take real risks to make things better, creating value on every dimension. They will push the boundaries of today and make a better tomorrow.
Aspire to be and become that kind of leader.