What would you do if you didn’t work in healthcare?
I have always thought that if I won the lottery, I would buy a therapeutic riding facility. Working with horses is a wonderful way for people with both visible and invisible disabilities to overcome challenges. I am involved with a non-profit called the Horses and Humans Research Foundation and we provide funding for research to investigate the impact horses have on individuals. Projects we have funded include looking at the impact on trunk strength in children with cerebral palsy, socialization of children with autism and the impact on anxiety and depression among veterans with PTSD. It is amazing to see the transformation that working with horses brings about. Who knows, maybe one day I will have a chance to make that happen!
Can you give a shout-out to someone who helped you at a pivotal time in your career?
I have worked with so many wonderful people in my career who have all helped me at different times. One person who helped, though probably did not realize it, is Wes Michael. I worked for him when I was pregnant with my first child. I had always planned to be a working mom and had every intention of coming back to work after maternity leave. When my son was born, I didn’t want to leave him and went back to Wes with the news that I wasn’t coming back. He was supportive and let me know that I could come back anytime. He made that discussion so easy that the transition was simple. I went on to work as a contractor and we kept in touch — and now I am working with him again!
How has the pandemic reset the rules on your work-life balance?
We have always been a remote organization so not much has changed due to the pandemic. Working from home can take over your life if you are not careful! It is easy to answer a few emails at night and suddenly realize that hours have gone by. I try to schedule time for things like yoga and leave my computer aside when we are on a family vacation. You have to be diligent and guard your personal time because we are all so accessible now.
What are you doing to send the career ladder back down?
It is so important to help others, just as I have been supported throughout my career. I mentor several young women now who are at different points in their careers. It’s great to be an objective observer and help them figure out the best way forward that will be gratifying for them and help them achieve their dreams. Recently, I received a nice compliment from one of my mentees who, in a team meeting, was asked who she wanted to emulate, and she chose me! I also make sure that all of my internal team meetings include a professional development component. Whether it is sharing tips on personal branding or how to effectively use LinkedIn, I think it is important to try to help everyone around you to grow!
What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?
I trained as a special education advocate and attended Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings with other parents to help them fight for their children’s rights to free and appropriate education.
What is one thing you would tell young women starting their careers in healthcare marketing?
Don’t wait to be noticed! Many women are shy about sharing their accomplishments. We quietly wait for someone else to notice what we have done because being bold or boastful is not “ladylike” — this is a big mistake. Everyone is busy and while not trying to ignore our accomplishments, they just get swept up as one of the many things we get done and fall to the wayside. Toot your own horn and be proud of what you have accomplished. If you don’t, no one may ever know.
Recount an experience with the healthcare system, positive or negative, that inspires you.
Early in my career, I worked on a project for the FDA testing language for screening blood donors. The goal was to increase the safety of the blood supply by screening out potential at-risk donors. The project demonstrated that asking direct questions was more effective than indirect questions. I realized then that effective communications in healthcare can save lives and that the way we communicate with patients is the key to improving products and services. Now helping patients share their voices and ensure that their needs are met brings that full-circle.
Favorite TV show/movie/song/book?
The Wizard of Oz. At times I have felt like Dorothy, wondering if there is somewhere else I should be in my career. Finally, I realized that I have had the power all along to create this path for myself and “there is no place like home!” which can apply to so much in life but surely my career.