Emi Bennett Vo, MPH, Manager, Government Programs, HealthPartners

What is your current role?

I lead a team that supports our HealthPartners Medicaid health plan product management functions. This includes product strategy and planning, partnering with internal operations teams, ensuring compliance with state and federal requirements, and maintaining relationships with regulators and community partners to ensure our members get the care and support they need. I get to work with a lot of incredibly smart people who are experts in what they do. It’s a job I never even knew existed when I was in college and grad school, but I found my way to it and it’s the perfect fit for my background in public policy and public health. In my 11 years at HealthPartners, I’m grateful to have had the support and encouragement to grow as a leader in an organization whose mission I strongly believe in.

Why did you join the TRUST?

I joined the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST just over a year ago. I was drawn to the community of intelligent, successful, and supportive women who do amazing things.

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

I appreciate the multitude of opportunities for connection, growth and learning the TRUST offers. Most recently, I participated in the Working Mom’s Series, which felt like it was tailor-made for me. As a mom to two amazing and active young kids, it’s been validating to connect with other women who are chasing that ever-elusive balance of being a successful leader while raising happy and resilient humans.

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

Support. I joined the TRUST during a period of transition, both personally and professionally. I didn’t immediately jump in and immerse myself in everything the TRUST has to offer, but being able to connect with other TRUST members and hear their stories and receive support has been incredibly meaningful.

What is the best career advice you’ve received?

You belong here. When I interned at the district office for my member of Congress during college, I joined the congresswoman during a visit to a local business. As a shy and insecure 20-year-old, I stayed in the back of the group during introductions. The congresswomen later kindly, but sternly, told me I need to always introduce myself confidently – I was there for a reason, and as a woman, it was important to hold a strong presence. Decades later, I still come back to this as a reminder I can do hard things and can push myself out of my comfort zone.

How do you support other women in their leadership journey?

I try to offer the kind of support that has helped me in the past – being approachable and present, offering encouragement, and pushing beyond comfort zones.

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

I’ve always been drawn to health care, knowing as early as high school I wanted to work in the field. Almost every job I’ve had in my career has had something to do with health care – from working the reception desk at a pediatric hospital to doing community-based HIV/AIDS education to my current role. I know the work I do matters and has a direct impact on the people I serve each and every day.

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

I love spending time with my kids, Hana and Tashi (even though this doesn’t always lower my stress levels). Seeing the world through the eyes of a 4-year-old and 2-year-old helps me get out of my head and look at things from a perspective of curiosity and wonder.

Words of wisdom to live by?

A fellow TRUST member said this in a recent conversation, and I immediately wrote it down: “I’m doing the best I can, in the moment I’m in, with what I have.” This reminds me to give myself some grace when I feel pulled in multiple directions at once.