Anthony Lopez on becoming a globally conscious leader

“As different as cultures, businesses, and parts of the world are, at the end of the day, people are more alike than they are different,” says Anthony Lopez, president of Medical Solutions for Ansell.

Growing up in Puerto Rico, with a father that worked for the airlines, Anthony Lopez was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to different countries. “At a young age I learned the world was bigger than the oyster you live in,” he says. This experience left him with an open mind and a comfort with diversity that has followed Lopez throughout his personal and professional life. “As different as cultures, businesses, and parts of the world are, at the end of the day, people are more alike than they are different,” he adds.

Lopez moved to the United States as a teenager. He attended high school and completed his engineering degree while living in New York. His professional career began when he was commissioned as an Air Force officer. He spent the next six years as an active-duty officer before making the decision to accept a job in corporate America. For the next six years, Lopez remained a reserves officer. When he began managing a corporate engineering department at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), his career progressed quickly. “Johnson & Johnson has a track record of providing excellent development opportunities for talented individuals who demonstrate potential,” Lopez says. He moved from engineering to manufacturing and operations before taking on sales, marketing, and later, general-management roles.

Positions within J&J brought Lopez to locations across the country, including Miami and Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he became general manager and vice president of international market development. “All along in my career, I had been working globally, but now I had a direct line responsibility for global markets,” Lopez says. The next move was to California where he was promoted to senior vice president and general manager of CareFusion’s respiratory business. Here, he was responsible for $750,000 in global sales. In late 2011, Lopez joined Ansell. He says, “I accepted the position with Ansell because it’s a company with a great history, but more importantly, it has an even brighter future.”

Ansell is a global leader in protection solutions. The $1.3 billion company is structured into four divisions; Lopez is . “They were looking to grow this area of the business. It had been relatively stable, and to some degree stagnant, in terms of its growth, culture, and processes,” says Lopez. “It was a chance for me to help redefine the organizational culture, drive growth, and significantly change the company going forward.”

With employees and customers scattered throughout the globe, Lopez traveled around the world twice in the first four months of accepting the position. Each day brings unique challenges and opportunities, “I’m usually engaged in discussions about innovation, R&D, or marketing strategies. While there is no set routine, analyzing financials, discussing human-resource issues, or dealing directly with customers are all part of daily life for me,” Lopez says. “It is a dynamic environment when you are running a multinational, global company.”

Lopez has been a student of the art of leadership since his days as a cadet. At the urging of his mother, he published his first book on leadership, The Legacy Leader: Leadership with a Purpose, in 2003. The book was well received and led to several others that now compose the Legacy Leader Series. He says, “The word legacy is more than just a word for me—it is a guide. I encourage people to think about what they want their legacy to be and act consistently with that.”

Looking forward, Lopez has high aspirations for both Ansell and himself. He expects to double the size of Ansell’s medical-solutions business in the next few years. “I want it to be a world-class medical-device company that has a culture that retains and attracts the very best,” he says. And for Lopez, it’s about creating a legacy his daughters can be proud of. “I want to make a significant and lasting impact beginning in my family and my community,” he adds.