Sometimes a small event can trigger a major change. Take Sir Isaac Newton, for example. According to legend, an apple fell from a tree, bopped him on the head, and set him on the path to formulating Newton’s Laws of Motion.
“I have always loved science and finding out how the world works. I majored in microbiology and cell science at the University of Florida. However, I didn’t have the spirit to be a scientist,” Bedoya says. After graduation, he earned a master’s degree in public health at the Boston University School of Public Health. “I had visions during graduate school of one day perhaps becoming a physician or epidemiologist and traveling the world fighting infectious diseases.”
During his graduate studies, Bedoya was required to take a class in health law simply as a way of filling an elective slot. But for him, it was Newton’s apple.
“I became fascinated by the intersection of law and science,” Bedoya explains. “After that class, I took another health law class and came to the realization that my calling was to go to law school so I could apply both disciplines.”
After earning his JD at Vanderbilt University Law School, Bedoya joined Locke, Liddell, and Sapp (now Locke Lorde LLP) in Dallas, Texas. “Starting my career in Dallas at Locke was a great fit for me. I made lifelong friends and was able to work early on in pharmaceutical and general litigation at a top-notch firm with incredible mentors,” Bedoya says.
In 2007, married and expecting their first child, Bedoya and his wife moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to be closer to family. He joined the international law firm of Holland and Knight, becoming a partner in 2012. He focused on commercial litigation (including healthcare cases) and served on the firm’s Latin American investigations, healthcare and life sciences, and Latin American business teams.
But he still itched to get deeper into the healthcare field, and took a major leap of faith in 2016 when he joined Medtronic. “It was one of the best moves of my professional life. When I was in private practice, I was ‘the product.’ But in-house, I work at an incredible mission-driven company with a world-class team dedicated to bringing products to market that ‘alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life’ for patients across the world,” Bedoya says.
Bedoya’s current responsibilities include overseeing all legal activities of the ENT operating unit, an established global leader in instruments used for sinus, head and neck, and skull base surgery. “Each of Medtronic’s operating units has its own leadership team, which includes a chief legal officer,” Bedoya says, “and the chief legal officers function like primary care physicians. If something falls outside our field of expertise, I will consult with our company’s subject matter legal experts, as well as outside counsel when needed.”
He’s also active in various Medtronic initiatives, most recently serving on the team promoting the well-being of Medtronic’s legal professionals. “This is important because the legal profession, in general, has high burnout rates. The stress and long hours can lead to depression, anxiety, or addiction problems, and the well-being initiative is meant to proactively address these concerns head-on and provide a support structure for the Medtronic legal team,” the chief legal counsel says.
A key factor in Bedoya’s success—professionally and personally—has been adaptability. “Growing up, I was one of the only Hispanic kids in my school, and so I had to learn to adapt to other cultures and people. Fortunately, I grew up in a wonderful small town in North Florida that I love and always loved me and my family back.
“My mom and dad had to adapt as well,” the executive continues. “As immigrant physicians from Colombia, their original plan was to do their medical residencies in the US before returning to Colombia. However, the communist guerilla terrorism and narco wars plaguing the country at that time convinced them to make their lifelong home in this great country that they love and are deeply indebted to for the opportunities they were afforded.
“I carried that approach through college and into my professional life,” Bedoya adds. “In the business world, you constantly need to adapt to the people you work with, to new responsibilities, or to learning new skills. You’ll always be searching for the perfect situation. However, you’re unlikely to find it. So you learn to adapt and work with what’s possible.”
Bedoya is also a champion of education. “My paternal grandfather only had a fifth-grade education, and he left home to start working at the age of twelve. He really sacrificed a lot to be sure my father went further,” Bedoya says. “Dad was the first in his family to receive higher education, and he became a successful physician.
“My maternal grandmother, who lost her dad when she was young and was raised by a single mom, chose to push ahead with her education and eventually became the first woman to achieve a high school diploma in Colombia and, later, the first woman dentist of the country,” he adds.
Bedoya maintains that education changed his family’s trajectory, and that it can do the same for any child. “Educating our current generation will dramatically increase the chances for success of future generations,” he says.
Although he’s recently scaled back his community service activities because of professional demands, Bedoya has served on (among others) the Jacksonville Board of Catholic Charities, the Diocesan Board of Directors for Catholic Charities, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund Board, and the Board of City Year Jacksonville.
His work with Catholic Charities was extremely gratifying. “Our mission was to help people, regardless of their station in life. The only criteria to receive assistance was need,” Bedoya says. “One of my most amazing experiences was helping to settle Cuban and Burmese refugee families, who came to the US fleeing dreadful situations with nothing but the clothes on their back. It made me reflect on my own many blessings, first of which was having the good fortune of being born into a wonderful, supportive, and loving family who made great sacrifices to give me the opportunity to grow up in this great country.”
Greenberg Traurig congratulates Ricky Bedoya, Chief Counsel – Ear, Nose & Throat at Medtronic, for this well-deserved recognition honoring his many achievements and extraordinary career. Greenberg Traurig is proud of our long-time collaboration with Medtronic and supports its mission to transform global healthcare technology.