Kristin Naruko, VP, Provider Services Operations, NMDP

What is your current role?

I joined NMDP 15 years ago in a role working directly with transplant center customers to facilitate unrelated donor stem cell donations for their patients with life-threatening blood cancers and diseases. I immediately became hooked on being a part of the team, providing hope and a second chance at life for patients in need. I am grateful to have been able to grow my career at NMDP over the years. I currently lead the teams responsible for the identification, facilitation and delivery of cell therapy products and services to transplant centers worldwide.

Why did you join the TRUST & what is your role?

I joined the TRUST in 2014 at the recommendation of my leader, who felt the networking and development opportunities that the TRUST offered would benefit me as I grew in my career. I currently serve as an Associate Board Member and Co-chair of the Forum Planning Committee.

What has been your favorite part of being a TRUST member?

Not a single memory, but what I’ve appreciated most about the TRUST is the networking and getting to know and work with some amazing fellow leaders in the health care industry. I’ve especially appreciated learning about serving as a Board member through the TRUST Associate Board.

What one word would you use to summarize what the TRUST means to you?

Growth. Through my membership and activity with the TRUST my Leadership Toolkit has grown. I’ve not only grown my network of trusted colleagues that I can learn from and lean on, but I’ve also grown in skills, knowledge and abilities thanks to the experiences that the TRUST has offered.

What is the best career advice you’ve received or the best mentoring experience you’ve had?

“Lead the way you want to be led.” This seems simple and obvious, reminiscent of the Golden Rule we’re taught as kids, but it has been a great reminder throughout my career. I want my team to know that I would never ask them something that I wouldn’t be willing to commit to myself.

How do you support other women in their leadership journey?

I try to be a listening ear and honest source of feedback and insight for the women around me. I am open to sharing my areas of growth and development to bring visibility to the fact every leader has something they are working on or toward. 

What do you love the most about the health care industry?

I love the idea that the better we are in our industry, the more people will benefit. The health care industry is constantly changing; we can never stagnate because we are always faced with new science, new opportunities. If we don’t continue to learn and change, we risk our ability to positively impact more patients.

How do you maintain or improve your health and well-being?

Find something or someplace that allows you to fully turn off your “work brain”. For me, it’s the horse barn. Being with my horses is the one time when I can’t think about anything else except what I’m doing at the moment and that kind of mental break is needed to maintain my well-being.