Featured TRUST Member
Director of Operations, Customer Experience Center, Allina Health
What do you do in your current role?
I have been a proud member of the Allina Health team for 20 years. Over five years ago, I was provided the tremendous honor of leading the Customer Experience Center (CEC), a 24/7/365 department that supports access to exceptional care. The CEC provides telephone and digital capabilities that support Allina Health by integrating phone, digital, and physical assets to create stronger and deeper relationships with customers, improve customer experience journeys and access to care, and enhance operational efficiencies. As a leader of a department with entry-level roles, I have the opportunity to bring great new talent to Allina Health. I then have the privilege of watching them develop into great contributors and encourage many to pursue education for future clinical or leadership roles.
How long have you been with the TRUST and what do you love about it?
I learned about the TRUST from colleagues and mentors. They shared the philosophy of lifting up female leaders and providing excellent networking opportunities. I am a part of the IDEA committee focused on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access.
Do you have a favorite TRUST memory so far?
I would be remiss if I did not highlight that I am the recipient of the 2021 Women’s Health Leadership TRUST Forum Award. It truly has been a highlight of my career and a wonderful honor.
How has a mentor helped you the most?
I have been blessed to have many mentors. On every occasion, the person took an active interest in me, my abilities and the qualities they saw in me – aspects I did not recognize in myself. Every one of them gave me the incredible gift of their time. They invested in me. They reinforced the potential they saw in me and, on occasion, pushed me a bit outside my comfort zone. I would not be where I am today without those moments of discomfort and the amazing people who are always in my corner.
What is the best career advice you’ve received?
You are powerful, capable and smart enough to be at the table. You have a voice, deserve a chance to be heard and have the opportunity to share your ideas. And yes, going in, it is ok to be uncertain. It is even ok to be a little bit afraid. Just believe in yourself and push through. Once you overcome that fear and take that leap, you have taken the power away from your fear. And you will see how powerful you truly are.
What support do you need now to evolve your development as a leader?
I need to assess if I am still bringing the level of curiosity I have had in the past to allow me to move to the next level of my career. Have I reached the ceiling? I also find myself challenging those thoughts; because I absolutely love what I do. Yet, I am still eager to see what is next at this point in my career. Where is that next step?
How do you support other women in their leadership journey?
Listen to their concerns, validate their experiences, and, if appropriate, provide recommendations based on my learnings. I affirm I am here if they may need me and that they should know I am cheering them on.
How do you cope with the demanding aspects of your career?
I tend to thrive in moments of uncertainty and when the needs are the greatest; I love being able to provide a service and help as many people as possible. I have always seen my role in health care as the person who can take the administrative burdens and do all I can so as not to disrupt clinical operations and the delivery of care. I will always ask for help when I need it, and when I go home, I spend time with my spouse, laugh as often as I can, sing silly songs to my dogs and I journal my moments of gratitude.
How do you maintain or improve your health and well-being?
I am an outdoors person, so digging in the garden, hiking, bike riding and playing with my dogs bring me the most joy and center me.
What is something not many people know about you?
You may not know this since I love talking about the work I do, and I tend to be a bit animated when I talk about my work. However, I am an introvert and my “go-to” mode is to sit in the corner at social events.
Who inspires you?
There are so many, but my parents are at the core of my being. They were migrant farm workers with minimal education. Together, they left south Texas and moved to Minnesota, where they knew no one. They learned English, found jobs, lived their idea of the American dream and raised five very independent women, all of whom work in industries in service to others. I am proud of my sisters – all are amazing mothers who have raised awesome kids. One is a physician, one works for the Minnesota Department of Health, one is an associate professor at the University of Northwestern, and one worked for an FQHC community clinic for 30 years.
Any words of wisdom you live by?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
“Do. Or do not. There is no try!” ~ Master Yoda