Melisa Margraves: Redefining Leadership with Vision, Adaptability, Integrity, and Excellence 

Melisa Margraves: Redefining Leadership with Vision | Healthcare 360 Magazine

Given the dynamic advancements and the continuous emergence of trends in healthcare, leaders must harbor a learning mindset to lead effectively and efficiently. Speaking of effective leadership, we met with  Melisa Margraves, a multifaceted and dynamic leader characterized by her adaptability, commitment to continuous learning, and empathetic approach to leadership as the Healthcare & Life Sciences Sales Leader at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). She is not only focused on a customer-centric business strategy, but is also deeply committed to her team’s growth, embodying empathy, integrity, and a constant battle for a balanced approach to work and life. 

Journey into Leadership Excellency

Initially, Melisa Margraves aspired to become a high school English teacher, a dream that guided her educational journey. However, she stumbled upon an unexpected opportunity in the IT sector after completing her education. Residing in Silicon Valley, a hub of IT opportunities, she embraced this new path, thinking it would possibly be a temporary venture. Yet, she quickly discovered a passion for the dynamic nature of her work, the potential for growth, and the direct impact of her efforts on her financial well-being, which led her to remain in the field.

She has worked for a variety of hardware and software companies throughout her career but consistently gravitated toward roles that intersect with healthcare and life sciences. This sector’s continuous evolution and complexity intrigued her, drawing her to positions supporting these accounts. “The constant change and advances in healthcare and life sciences has made it an exciting industry to learn about and be a part of.”

Melisa Margraves joined HPE, originally part of HP which has been regarded as a pioneer in Silicon Valley, about 15 years ago. The company underwent a significant transformation in 2015 under CEO Meg Whitman, splitting into two entities: HPE and HPI. She followed the path to HPE and has held various leadership roles throughout her tenure at HPE. Over the last eight years, Melisa has been in leadership positions overseeing teams focused specifically on the healthcare sector. This experience has enriched her knowledge and enabled her to help guide her sales team in understanding healthcare organizations’ unique challenges and aligning their strategy and solutions with the customers’ focus and objectives.

However her career path has taken her, Melisa says her most significant achievement extends beyond her professional milestones: meeting her husband while working in the industry and welcoming their fantastic daughter into the world are two things she is most proud of. Her husband has always been her greatest supporter and cornerstone, with his involvement in the same industry enriching their collaboration and strategic discussions. Furthermore, serving as a positive role model for her daughter has become a paramount goal throughout her journey. She is dedicated to demonstrating to her daughter that with determination, focus and hard work, remarkable outcomes can be achieved. 

Rising Up the Ranks

We asked Melisa Margraves about her journey and the challenges she has faced. Early in her career, Melisa found enjoyment in her roles but recognized a significant gap: the absence of a mentor or coach. She sought someone who had once stood where she did and navigated their career to the heights she aspired to reach. Reflecting on her journey, she sees the value of having strong mentors as critical.

Over the past 20 years, she has been fortunate to find several mentors, both men and women, who have provided invaluable coaching, support, and guidance on navigating tough conversations and formulating strategies for success in sales. She emphasizes the importance of having a robust support system of mentors, coaches, and supporters, regardless of one’s job.

One of Melisa Margraves’s biggest challenges in advancing her career was her reluctance to share her successes. Raised to value humility and to avoid boasting, her natural inclination was always to downplay her achievements. However, she realized that leadership isnt always aware of her and her team’s accomplishments without some self-advocacy. She learned the importance of occasionally “tooting your own horn” to make her and her team’s efforts and successes known. Another hurdle she encountered was a lack of sharing her objectives or career goals with multiple leaders who have influence above and around her. 

She recognized the necessity of clearly articulating career aspirations and goals to your leadership and devising a strategic plan to achieve them. Thus, Melisa advises others to know their desired destination, develop a plan to get there, and share that plan with mentors and leaders, seeking their input and guidance throughout the journey.

HPE’s High-Performance Computing Solutions

HPE positions itself as The Edge to Cloud Company, advancing how people live and work and demonstrating its dedication to leveraging technology to impact society positively. This includes enhancing healthcare experiences, accelerating drug discovery, facilitating remote work, and optimizing business operations. With its innovative technology and services, the company addresses some of the world’s most significant challenges, supported by its commitment to technological innovation and its skilled service and support teams.

HPE continues to play a pivotal role in the healthcare sector by utilizing high-performance computing and software solutions to assist healthcare and research organizations in processing and analyzing vast data volumes, conducting complex simulations, and running AI models. These efforts are aimed at speeding up drug discovery, and enhancing patient care. Melisa Margraves shared that “With the acquisition of several AI software companies, HPE  can offer a full portfolio of offerings including AI-powered tools capable of constructing large, intricate language models, aiding researchers in faster drug discovery and enabling physicians to analyze images more efficiently”.

Additionally, HPE’s  hybrid cloud solutions, known as HPE GreenLake, which the company fully manages, support healthcare organizations in securely managing and backing up extensive patient data, enabling telehealth services, and providing various as-a-service offerings. These services are instrumental in improving collaboration among healthcare providers or researchers and across broad geographic teams. “ Our healthcare customers are embracing Greenlake and the capabilities we bring to help them scale on demand, manage costs more effectively and get out of the business of hardware management, all this leads to them having more time for innovation.”

Melisa Margraves shared that she is captivated by advancements in healthcare such as personalized healthcare, AI powered diagnosis, and precision surgery and the role HPE can play in this space. Notably, genetics and genomics have enabled treatments tailored to individual genetics, while AI aids diagnostics and reduces clinician workloads, with telehealth expanding global access to healthcare. Preventative care, driven by predictive analytics is becoming a focus, aiming to prevent diseases before they occur. She underscores the importance of innovation and research in enhancing patient care, with developments in AI-driven drug discovery and telehealth being key. However, challenges like access to technology and data protection continue to be the biggest obstacles for organizations to address.

“Unfortunately, healthcare entities are a prime target for data breaches. Primarily because healthcare organizations hold some of the most sensitive and valuable data out there including patient medical records, insurance information and social security numbers. Many healthcare organizations still rely on legacy IT systems that are outdated and vulnerable to cyberattacks. Additionally, there are so many complex regulations around data privacy and security, which can make it challenging to implement effective cybersecurity measures.

At HPE we help address these challenges. We offer a range of cybersecurity solutions including endpoint protection, network security and threat intelligence as well as secure infrastructure and compliance expertise.”  Melisa is also involved with several women healthcare innovators and is on the board of the HPE’s Diversity Startup Program, supporting women and minority founders in healthcare innovation (among other industries) , reflecting her optimism for the industry’s future and its ongoing advancements. 

Walk The Walk

At the helm of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Melisa Margraves leads the healthcare and life sciences team and spearheads the team toward the company’s vision of success in these industries. Under her guidance, the team works with healthcare, pharma, biotech, research, and medical device organizations to align HPE solutions to customers’ goals and objectives.

To Melisa Margraves, leadership is a journey of continual learning, and she views herself as a perpetual ‘work in progress.’ She actively seeks to absorb lessons from leaders she respects, whether by working directly under them or from afar, adapting her style based on the traits and strategies she finds effective. This approach is her way of evolving into a more effective leader.

The pillars of her leadership philosophy include transparency, customer-first mentality, leading by example, empathy, and fostering a positive, fun culture. Transparency, for her, means maintaining open and honest communication with her team. This could relate to celebrating successes, addressing challenges, or navigating difficult decisions, but the essence lies in being an open book, ensuring her team and customers know they can expect nothing but the truth from her. 

Leading by example is another cornerstone of her leadership; she believes in embodying the principles she preaches, having experienced various roles herself and understanding the disillusionment of leaders who do not “walk the walk.”  Empathy plays a crucial role in her leadership approach. She recognizes that the workplace becomes devoid of genuine human connection without it. She must grasp what motivates her team, drives them each day, acknowledge their successes, remove barriers to success and provide support during challenging times.

Lastly, cultivating a desirable team culture is paramount. She aims to create an environment so appealing that others aspire to be a part of her team, viewing it as a coveted “destination.” Celebrating successes, enjoying fun moments, and fostering personal connections are all part of making the workplace enjoyable. She believes that getting these elements right is key to building confidence, trust, and positive morale among the team. For her, the ultimate measure of leadership success is cultivating trust and loyalty within her team.

“I Always Try to Lead by Example….”

Melisa Margraves leads by example. “I always try to lead by example,” she says, and no single person on her team would doubt her dedication or desire to drive a high performing team. She values the opportunity to lead her team and is committed to aiding their success, tailored to everyone’s goals and needs. Work ethic and humility are her core principles, traits she hopes are mirrored by her team in the eyes of others observing their achievements.

Being a successful leader, Melisa has grown as an inspiration for several women aspirants seeking to make a mark in the industry. When asked what ideal qualities woman leaders should possess, she stated  that any leader must possess:

  • Emotional intelligence: It is critical for all leaders, but women are often great at understanding and managing their emotions and those of their team members, customers and colleagues and turning this into positive momentum forward. 
  • Vision: This is key because all great leaders need to have a clear and inspirational vision for the future and be able to communicate that vision to their team members, partners and customers. 
  • Integrity: Being open, honest, and transparent is important, as is working with a strong sense of ethics and integrity. This seems like common sense but it’s not always a quality leaders possess. 

No leader goes without having found inspiration in others. Melisa Margraves shared that throughout her profession, she has always been inspired by women who have been able to break through glass ceilings. From Amelia Earhart to most recently, Cole Brauer, there are so many females who have broken through barriers and stereotypes to rise above and succeed- and inspire her. One that she has always admired is Sheryl Sandberg.

Sheryl is an incredibly successful technology executive who many know because she was successful at Google and as the COO at Facebook, but she was also the founder of, which is all about helping women achieve their goals in the workplace and empowering them.  She says, “Sheryl is an inspiration because of her accomplishments and advocacy for women.

On Harboring that ‘Perfect’ Work-Life Balance

Melisa Margraves isn’t convinced that a “perfect” work-life balance truly exists, and while she might not always be the best example of achieving this balance, she’s been committed to trying—especially since becoming a mother 16 and a half years ago. She took it upon herself to strive for some level of balance, recognizing she had only 18 years to leave a lasting impression of her morals and values on her daughter and to shape the person she would become. Moreover, Melisa feels fortunate to be part of a company like HPE, which prioritizes wellness.

The company offers numerous exceptional programs centered on health and well-being, ensuring she and her colleagues are “well” in all respects. “HPE supports employees doing volunteer work so last year my daughter and I volunteered together helping women and children displaced by the Maui fires. It was not only a lot of fun but a chance to spend time with my daughter and do something together to give back to a community we have always felt close to. I was extremely appreciative of that opportunity and working for a company that supports us supporting causes near to our hearts.”

Additionally, Melisa Margraves acknowledges the challenge of achieving a perfect work-life balance, especially as a mother striving to positively impact her daughter’s life. Despite the difficulty, she prioritizes attending significant events in her daughter’s life, from school celebrations to sports games she is cheering at, often going to great lengths to be there. Her dedication is a testament to her commitment as a parent and her ambition in her career, aiming to both support but also inspire her daughter. Working for HPE, a company that values employee wellness, further supports her in maintaining this balance, offering programs that enhance her and her colleagues’ well-being.

Being a seasoned leader in the industry, here are a few words of wisdom quoted by Melisa Margraves for the leaders of tomorrow:

Melisa Margraves: Redefining Leadership with Vision | Healthcare 360 Magazine
1) Embrace innovation—keep up with technologies and trends. If you don’t take time to educate yourself and learn new things, you quickly fall behind. This also diminishes your credibility with your customers, colleagues, and leaders. It’s hard to find the time to keep training your mind but it is critical to always be a student.
2) Take risks and think differently. Creativity is sometimes the only way to move forward, stand out, or get to success. My team often hears me say there is always a way to yes-we need to find that way.  Think differently, be creative. 
3) Be Adaptable—we live in a rapidly changing world today, so being flexible and pivoting your strategy or direction when needed is critical. Organizations need to adapt as our world continues to change. If you don’t learn to quickly adapt and pivot, you will struggle with progression and success.
4) Stay true to your values—lead with integrity and empathy, and even in the face of pressure or uncertainty, don’t waiver. You want to be known as someone with integrity who strives to do the right things, the right way. You want to be remembered for caring about your people and fighting for them when necessary.  

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