Sara Wilson, Chief Customer Officer, PROCare HR

What do you do in your current role?

PROCare HR offers comprehensive HR solutions designed for organizations that serve seniors and individuals with disabilities. Through the PEO model and plugging in a dedicated HR Director and Client Support Team, PROCare supports HR compliance, benefits, workers compensation and payroll.

For the last four years, I’ve focused on balancing the dynamic health care industry changes, the evolving landscape of HR and people management, and influencing organizational members to find purpose and meaning within the organization’s mission and vision.

At PROCare, that means relentlessly protecting the time and energy of leaders, ensuring our internal delivery mechanisms lift the HR burden off the operators and allowing them to fulfill their commitment to the client/resident experience.

When and why did you join the TRUST?

I was a new grad and the current administrator-in-training intern at Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis when Lynn Starkovich (then-CEO) introduced me to the TRUST. I am forever grateful for her encouragement and connection to this group. I am a forever supporter of organizations that support and empower women. I am amazed at how much this powerful female network has grown!

Do you have a favorite TRUST memory so far?

A boat ride in 2010/2011 (I believe). I remember feeling excited with the number of intelligent, kind, powerful, innovative and inviting women I was able to meet. That evening, we learned and laughed. Again, I felt so grateful for the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people.

How has a mentor helped you the most?

I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors that have shaped my career. I have found that the best are incredibly gifted listeners (and listening to me isn’t always easy!). They were patient, kind, and direct when I needed to hear good, important feedback or to shift my perspective. They’ve always remained available to me as my career path changes, guiding me through different evolutions of my career.

What is the best career advice you’ve received?

I received two pieces of advice early in my career that I’ve carried with me – (1) pay attention to what breaks your heart; that is where your passion lies; and (2) stress is relative; everyone has their own past, their own journey, and their own ups and downs – be considerate, don’t compare, don’t judge.

What support do you need now to evolve your development as a leader?

Wisdom! Our organization is going through significant growth, building internal infrastructure, and riding the waves many start-ups face. We aren’t the first to experience this and won’t be the last, so seeking wisdom and guidance to stay focused and stay well during these significant shifts.

How do you support other women in their leadership journey?

Trying to replicate what has served me well from past mentors; a listening ear, patience, and a swift kick in the rear when you need to hear it!

How do you cope with the demanding aspects of your career?

I focus on staying well first. It can be hard to put yourself first, especially during times of duress – it is so natural to fall into the heartbreak of the world and try to help, serve and take care of others. I have found that overcommitting and overburdening myself emotionally, mentally, and otherwise does not allow me to show up as my best self. So I end up doing a disservice to myself and others. It can be hard to put yourself first, but it’s crucial.

How do you maintain or improve your health and well-being? I am learning how to do this better every day, but start with listening to my mind, heart and body – as they all tend to tell me different things and listen to the one that serves me best!