Medtronic may be the word's largest medical technology company, but it's a business with a heart. Zeeshan Tariq, director of global IT program and project management, joined Medtronic after moving from Silicon Valley to Minnesota in 1999. He planned on staying for two years but says he "fell in love with the company. [Medtronic] is an organization where people truly are connected with the mission" of contributing to human welfare.

Nowhere is that connection felt more strongly than with the beneficiaries of Medtronic technology. The Minneapolis-based company hosts an annual holiday event in which patients share stories about how Medtronic has impacted their lives, giving employees a sense of the significance of their work to their clients.

"It's almost like a family away from your family," says Tariq. "[Medtronic makes] you feel connected to this greater purpose of helping people improve their lives."