What would you do if you didn’t work in healthcare?

It would be a blast to do three different things. First, something that translates problem solving into the physical: furniture making. Second (and this is a 2023 goal, when I’ll be retired), I would love to sit on the board of a growing company, and help advise on strategy, growing and retaining talent from non-dominant groups, and culture-building more generally. Last, executive coach, especially for other people of color.

Can you give a shout-out to someone who helped you at a pivotal time in your career?

There are so many people to shout out. So, I’m thinking back to the start of my career in healthcare. I had just left academia and was giving myself the summer off before I figured out my next career. Joshua Prince (now CEO, OHG Professional Group) asked me to come do a quick freelance job: helping rewrite a book in quality improvement for health plans. He suspected something I had no idea about — that this 10-day freelance job would be the start of my incredibly rewarding next career, in the very specific and then-unrealized arena of market access. I am so grateful to him.

How has the pandemic reset the rules on your work-life balance?

When I switched careers in 1999, I had a single rule: no working at home. Because that was the easiest way to ensure that when I physically left the office — or got off of the plane or train — the work day was over and home time had begun. Clearly, the pandemic turned that one on its head; I had to learn how to carve a space in my apartment that is a tiny non-home zone. But I still would rather be in the office (which is where I’m writing this in real time).

What are you doing to send the career ladder back down?

Deconstructing how power circulates, especially for people from non-dominant cultures.

What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?

After 23 years here, I’m not sure there’s much. Maybe this: I was an incredibly shy child. So shy that, when our parents gave us our tiny weekly allowance,* my younger brother would have to ask for the candy bar at the toy store for me.

*25 cents a week. I remember the exact amount, because when candy bars went from 12 to 13 cents, we couldn’t afford two anymore.

What is one thing you would tell young women starting their careers in healthcare marketing?

Your voice and your perspective matters. Even if the people at the top are men, or white, or tall, or just don’t look like you. Learn how power circulates in your company or in healthcare marketing. Then use your own voice and experience — that is to say, your own authority — to fashion it in the way you want it to be. Nothing is permanent. Also, ask for what you want; don’t wait to be “discovered.”