Chief Communications Officer
Wexner Medical Center
Q. Describe your career path to Chief Communication Officer at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.
A. I started at Indiana University with a B.A. in journalism and a minor in business. Between my junior and senior year, I had my first internship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. I've worked on many different things from starting our intranet, OneSource, to crisis communication. Ohio State has many opportunities to gain experience in different roles, but you have to make your own path. At places like Ohio State, when you see a need you can make your own success and advancement from it.
Q. How would you describe your leadership style?
A. I try to collaborate and be more of a coach. It's important to hire people with strengths that coincide with the relevant job responsibilities. I try and place the best people in environments they will thrive in.
Q. What were the best career investments you've made along the way?
A. The best career investments I've made have been volunteering for projects and opportunities that were new and scary to me. I participated in a culture training program that involved public speaking, which I was uncomfortable with. I faced my fears and overcame what I was afraid of. Trying new things and stretching my comfort zone has allowed me to grow the most.
Q. Any mentors or champions who supported your professional development?
A. I definitely have had great mentors and people I admire within and outside of the medical center. Some of them have been my bosses, which was a great opportunity for me. Having multiple mentors has supplied me with support in different areas of life and they all help me with different things. For me, this has been more beneficial than having just one mentor to help in one specific area of my life.
Q. How would you describe your career goals today? How have they changed over time?
A. In the past I have been more project oriented. There was a beginning and an end to every project. Recently, my goals have more intersection with the IT department and branding. My recent goals have also been tied to the university and thinking of ways to provide support through the medical center.
Q. What kind of challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?
A. The biggest challenge I have faced was balancing work when my children were little. I was able to overcome this by receiving a lot of support and asking for help in the workplace. I was the first person to ask for more time and that has helped other people who came after me. I wouldn't have been able to stay if it weren't for the supportive bosses who understood my situation. Going through situations like that has made me a better leader.
Q. When you think about serving in a leadership role as a female, do any unique experiences come to mind?
A. I have always been encouraged to be confident and hold my own. I believe that a lot of women think if they overachieve every day then they will gradually get noticed but that is not always true. Speaking up in big settings and not being easily intimidated helps. You have to ask for what you want, but you also have to be prepared if you do not get the answer you want.
Q. What advice would you give to other women looking to reach similar goals?
A. I'm a real believer in learning more. Being curious and exploring different things can lead to more opportunities. Being able to anticipate which direction an organization should take is important in addition to anticipating various needs. It's also important to ask for help and gain support because to be successful you need a team. Generally, if you ask or speak up, people will help you. I keep these two quotes near my desk as reminders, "Vision is looking beyond the obvious and doing something about it," and "Solve problems faster than they occur."
Q. What's next for you? Something you're looking forward to.
A. I am looking forward to working with the new CEO, Dr. Retchin, to make new goals and reach them. I love change and variety so a new vision and strategic plan is exciting. I also am planning to teach a Master in Health Administration (MHA) class again because it is very rewarding and helps me keep up on what's relevant.
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