The through line of Kim Honeysett’s career is creativity. Straight out of law school, Honeysett entered a firm whose practice focused on helping innovators bring their ideas to a commercial reality. The firm was grounded in innovation and the power of new ideas. When Honeysett moved in-house, she realized that she could add value by finding new ways to help her M&A team move through deals quickly and pilot new potential methodologies of achieving business results.
Honeysett is still dedicated to the power of thinking outside of her role as senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary at Varex Imaging, a company she was cotasked with spinning off from parent company Varian Medical Systems in 2017. As a mentor, a leader, and a learner, Honeysett is dedicated to empowering all of the perspectives that can help achieve better results and more rewarding careers.
The spin-off of the GC’s current company is one Honeysett looks on as career defining, especially since she had been with the parent company for more than a decade prior to that. “That project offered me so much experience—it was truly invaluable,” Honeysett says. That process effectively gave Honeysett the opportunity to build her entire team from scratch, an accomplishment she sees as even more relevant than the spin-off itself.
“My team is, by far, the thing that I am most proud of,” the GC explains. “I’ve been able to handpick nearly everyone on my team. We knew we were going to be a small group that had to be nimble and efficient, and I think each of us is very business-minded and is focused on finding the best results for our clients.” Honeysett says she knows her team is successful because of how often members of other departments within Varex come by to bounce ideas off of her team.
The Value of Perspective
Honeysett mentions the word “perspective” at least two dozen times during her interview. It’s not just a talking point. Her commitment to the power of diverse voices—in whatever capacity that may mean—drives her leadership and own personal development.
“My previous role with Varian was where I first had the strategic development and leadership experience that exposed me to the importance of diversity of thought and inclusion,” Honeysett says. “That’s where my passion for ensuring that multiple perspectives are considered was developed. At higher levels in the organization, I had the ability to influence more people and realized just how important it is to have a variety of thought and experience in making decisions.”
Diversity of thought and experience can mean more than the assumption of D&I as only an issue of gender or ethnicity. “If you have an engineer, a lawyer, or an HR perspective in a business meeting, each of those people is going to bring a different and important perspective. We all have something unique in our lives that informs our perspectives and that should be valued and respected,” the GC explains.
Being What You Always Wanted
Honeysett has also taken it upon herself to pass on what she’s learned, because for a long period of time at the start of her career, she wanted professional mentors who were willing to do the same. “I found myself in the role of wanting to learn more and to gain more experience, and now I have the opportunity to lead initiatives that are able to bring to others what I wish I would have had more of,” Honeysett says.
Along with acting as a sponsor for the D&I team, the GC was an inaugural mentor for Varex’s mentorship program. “To be in a place where I can share the knowledge I’ve gained is so exciting,” Honeysett explains. “Sometimes I feel like I’m getting more out of the experience than my mentees because they bring such interesting and fresh perspectives. It’s an honor to be part of the program.”
Perspective and creativity are both embedded in how Honeysett views her department as different from the norm. “It’s always easy for a lawyer to say, ‘This is what the contract says in black and white,’ but the tough part is finding a way to help your client figure out how to get to the place that they want to get to in the most reasonable, effective, and compliant way possible,” Honeysett says. “I want my team to be the Department of How.” She says her team is focused on being in discussions early and aiding, not hindering, in any way they can.
“The legal team is uniquely positioned to make connections throughout the company because we interact with so many different people within the organization,” says Honeysett. She recently revamped the legal vision to include creativity, innovation, and being those connectors to the entire company. It all comes back to diversity of thought.
“It’s well established that any group of people makes better decisions when different perspectives are considered and incorporated,” the GC says. “As a company, we can do more and grow more when we include that diverse talent and when that talent knows their perspectives will be taken seriously.”
Kim Honeysett is the mentor and leader she wishes she’d had during her own rise. In helping to recognize more perspectives at Varex, the GC has helped develop a departmental rotational program that will include an exchange with the company’s US, Germany, and China offices.
“All of us can be more sensitive to other perspectives,” Honeysett explains. “Doing business internationally, we can incorporate the experiences of those lawyers and business partners into our processes and procedures and help bring a global mind-set to what we do every day.”
Dorsey congratulates Kim Honeysett on this honor and is proud to partner with Varex Imaging. Dorsey is an international law firm with deep experience in the healthcare industry. With more than 150 lawyers working for hundreds of healthcare clients, Dorsey brings an informed perspective to healthcare transactions and disputes.