Crystal Brown, Executive Director, EPMO and IS&T Service Delivery, CentraCare

What is your current role?

In my current role, I serve CentraCare by leading our Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) and the Information Systems & Technology (IS&T) Service Delivery section. The EPMO supports our organization’s strategic development process via portfolio management, resource allocation and project management efforts. The IS&T Service Delivery section provides support for our organization’s enterprise digital applications, product management, service management, quality & release management, change management and IS&T operations.

My role not only affords me the opportunity to lead a tremendous team of people, but I also get to collaborate with leaders and subject matter experts throughout the organization to drive innovation and enable our business processes through the use of technology. I have also had the honor to serve on several committees/workgroups during my tenure that have offered unique opportunities for both professional and personal growth as well as strong workplace connections.

I “grew up” professionally at CentraCare, starting my career at one of our regional locations (CentraCare – Long Prairie). Throughout my tenure, I have served in several roles, most of which have included leadership responsibilities, ranging from Finance to IS&T to Project Management. I will be celebrating my 24th work anniversary later this year, and I am extremely grateful for the support and encouragement provided by my mentors and colleagues throughout the years.

Why did you join the TRUST?

I was asked to attend a past TRUST Forum event by an existing member/Executive Leader at my organization. After attending the event, I was inspired by the strong presence of women leaders at the event as well as the networking and learning opportunities the TRUST offered. I subsequently joined the TRUST in 2022 and have been a member since.

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

The ability to connect with a plethora of women leaders with varying backgrounds, experiences and roles as well as the educational offerings that support professional and personal growth. The TRUST offers varying opportunities to build connections and isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, which provides a level of comfort regardless of where a member is within their career. One of the development goals I set for myself this year is to become more involved by attending additional TRUST events and be more thoughtful in carving out time in my schedule to gain additional benefits the TRUST community offers to women leaders.

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

Growth. The importance of female mentorship and women supporting women cannot be understated. The TRUST supports a member’s growth mindset through its events, resources and inspirational speakers. As an example, the Executive Keynote Panel from the last TRUST Forum included so many nuggets and insights that I took home with me.

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

I have been blessed to have a few strong women mentors in my life who have positively impacted my career journey. One of the best pieces of advice received from a mentor is to look for the learning moment in every situation because there is always one there. It is something that has stuck with me as I have navigated my career and personal situations and supports my appetite for continuous learning.

How do you support other women in their leadership journey?

I strive to build other women (and men) up whenever I can. This can look different depending on the situation or person, but I aim to provide support for wherever the individual is at in their journey. Sometimes, it is being an ear, and sometimes, it is giving advice. I pride myself on always being authentic and holding people’s confidences close to my vest, so I hope this gives those I have supported and/or mentored a complete sense of trust.

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

The ability to help people, whether that be directly or indirectly, helping patients, team members, colleagues or those in the community. Although I do not provide direct patient care in my current role, I find joy and a connection to my purpose in knowing what I do has the potential to positively impact someone’s health, wellness and ultimately their life. The personal connection the health care industry has with its customers is unmatched by most other industries. I had the opportunity to see this first hand when I was supporting several COVID-19 pandemic response initiatives for my organization.

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

I enjoy outdoor activities, whether that be golfing, hiking, snowmobiling, UTVing, fishing, etc., and I am lucky enough to spend time doing all these things with my husband of 19 years (Steve). I also practice mindfulness to help me focus and maintain my energy, especially when life becomes more chaotic. Ultimately for me (Type A here), it’s a recognition that work-life balance is different for each person, so I strive to carve out the necessary time based on what works for me.

Words of wisdom to live by?

There are two quotes I think every woman should consider regardless of where they are in their journey.