Hometown: Highland Heights, Ohio (suburb of Cleveland)
Title/Position: Vice President Ambulatory Services Arkansas Children’s Hospital
Briefly describe your role: Vice President Ambulatory Services with Arkansas Children’s Hospital with areas of oversight including the outpatient clinics, emergency department and dialysis program
Q: Is what you’re doing now what you always pictured you would do?
A: I started my career in San Antonio, Texas as a staff nurse in a children’s hospital and after working clinically in the pediatric intensive care unit and emergency department for a couple of years I progressed through leadership roles for the next 11 years in outpatient and inpatient areas ending up as the vice president of patient care services. I had the opportunity to move into an administrative leadership role in the medical school and saw this as a way to have a different impact in healthcare as we trained the next generation of pediatricians, served the healthcare needs of children in the area, and developed new knowledge through research. In this role, which I held for 19 years, I also had the opportunity to retain a connection to clinical care in the children’s hospital, just in a different way.
Returning to a free-standing children’s healthcare system was a decision I made almost 4 years ago and I am now doing exactly what I pictured I would be doing when I entered the healthcare field over 35 years ago. Transitioning to a leadership position at Arkansas Children’s Hospital has given me back a greater connection to impact children’s health for which I am grateful every day. Being part of an organization where my values and the values of the organization are so aligned and where the mission and vision stretch me as an individual and as a leader to achieve excellent outcomes engages me in a way that makes it exciting to come to work each day.
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for women in your chosen industry? What are the greatest opportunities?
A: I believe that for anyone today, addressing the challenge of work/life balance is important and one that requires us to be intentional each day. Whether balancing work and children, work and a partner, or work and aging parents or an extended family, the challenge of balance, or someone I work with gave me a better word – integration – in one’s work and non-work lives is sometimes based on reality and sometimes generated from perception of expectations. I think that the opportunity lies in the ability to have ongoing dialogue around the shaping of expectations and ensuring mutual understanding so that you as an individual can achieve your goals professionally and personally while being an effective member of your organization. I also believe that it’s important to recognize and accept that the balance or integration will not usually be 50/50 and giving yourself and others grace is important.
Q: Who has inspired you in your life/career?
A: I had several key individuals help shape and inspire me. My kindergarten and 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Josephson, gave wonderful hugs and made you feel like you were the most important person in the room when she talked to you. My take-away from her was to try to let people I’m around know how much I value them as individuals. I try to write and mail thank-yous regularly and verbalize my appreciation to team members during rounds as part of my normal activities. Early in my professional career I had a director of nursing and a vice president of patient care services who saw something in me and they helped open doors for my professional development. I like to think of myself as that person who opens the doors for others.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring professional?
A: Be open to non-traditional roles as you advance through your career and don’t overlook a lateral move – it may open up opportunities you didn’t even think of. Don’t wait for the opportunity to find you but rather look for opportunities. Ask to be part of work groups, offer ideas and suggestions and continue to learn about yourself, your organization and your community.
Q: What’s been your secret to success?
A: I’ve worked hard for over 35 years and believe that the connections you make and keep within your organization and outside of your organization are key to success. Finding joy in your work is also critically important.