Executive Director, Post Acute Care, Genesis Health System
How did you choose your career path? This was one part intention, one part divine intervention, and one part good luck. While desiring to work in health care, opportunity guided me toward a career working with older adults. I have been fortunate to align with leaders and organizations that afforded me the opportunity for growth and advancement. After over 20 years in health care, it became clear to me that changing the way we deliver care and services, and how we help our community stay well, is pivotal to improving care and service. As health care reform began to play a role in my career, I chose to run headfirst into the challenge, and have spent the last five years working to re-position health care delivery to best serve older adults in the Quad-Cities community.
How do you maintain a work/life balance? Balance is a difficult concept for me to grasp, as it insinuates an equitable division of work and play. In reality, this is seldom the case for any of us. I prefer to focus on work/life management, ensuring I have enough downtime to recharge the batteries and be with family, while recognizing that my responsibilities require more from me at certain times, and true “balance” may not occur. This life is a marathon, not a sprint. If I run the race strategically, I will have the opportunity for greater balance in time to come.
What do you look for in a new hire; what questions do you ask in the interview to find the right fit? In my current role, we meet with new candidates regularly for both direct care and administrative roles. A key factor for me is: does this candidate understand the greater vision for health care today? Are they committed to creating a healthy community? Are they prepared to be part of change, or are they comfortable sustaining the status quo? I look for adventurers … those willing to stretch boundaries to achieve something greater than we are today.
Was there ever a time in your life when you hit an obstacle and had to re-evaluate or rebuild? About 12 years ago I found myself feeling as if I was running on the gerbil wheel, working hard, but not moving forward, either professionally for me or within health care. I had been with a high quality organization that I still hold in high regard. It was not them … it was me. I had grown to need more meaning in what I do. I had been with this organization for 15 years, and had never envisioned working elsewhere. When I began to softly inquire throughout health care about other potential opportunities, I was surprised by the positive response. It was then I realized that I could be successful where I was … or I could be successful elsewhere. My self-worth and personal success need not be tied to my current employer. It was a very emancipating moment, and a turning point in my career. My most professionally fulfilling experiences followed this epiphany.
What’s the best thing about doing business in the Quad-Cities? After 23 years here, I am struck by the progressive nature of our communities, particularly in the past 10 years. This is no longer the sleepy town on the river. The Quad-Cities is alive, vibrant, with young entrepreneurs and professionals taking the lead to make our community stronger. That’s invigorating to me.
Do you have any advice for people just starting out in their career? Get engaged. Network with professionals outside of your employer. Serve on a board, even in an advisory capacity. Support local charitable events. Find a passion away from work and pursue it. You will find great fulfillment is serving your community, while enhancing your career, and expanding your influence.