Board Member Spotlight

Allison O’Connor
VP, Strategy Execution, Lifesprk

Tell us about your current role.

I started with Lifesprk on April 1, 2020, after consulting with the organization on and off for the past four years. As Vice President, Strategy Execution, my role is to work across the businesses of Lifesprk to provide direction, drive results and connect implementation and execution of the company strategy and goals.

When and why did you join the TRUST?

I joined the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST in 2005 after being sponsored by a dear friend (you needed to be nominated and sponsored for membership at that time). I immediately joined the Programming Committee so I could engage and meet members. To this day, I believe this is one of the best ways to get the most out of your membership – join and engage in committee work. You create bonds that remain as you collaborate and enjoy getting to know each other in a smaller group.

What role(s) do you currently hold with the TRUST?

I have been so fortunate to be a member of many different committees with the TRUST – with more areas still to contribute to! I have been a member of the membership, programming, marketing and sponsorship committees. I had the wonderful opportunity to be a Co-Chair on the Programing committee for three years. I was offered an opportunity to join the Board four years ago – and last year served as the Board Secretary, and therefore part of the Executive Committee. I am very excited to serve as President Elect in 2021 and continue to support the Board and Chris Bent in her year as President.

Do you have a favorite TRUST memory so far?

I fondly remember joining the TRUST and being welcomed into the Programming committee. It was a wonderful group of women with diverse careers, lives and interests led by Robin Carpenter at the time. We met once a month at a local restaurant and pursued the work of the committee, but also found time to laugh, learn and connect with each other. After multiple years being a part of other industry associations/organizations in member, Board and even Board Chair roles, it was a different kind of connection and support. I knew it would become a source of value and inspiration for me personally and professionally.

If you’ve ever had a mentor, how did that experience help you?

I have had several informal and formal mentors over my career, and both types have given me so much more than I could have asked for over the years. I think some of the most valuable help a mentor can provide is to support and expand a mentee’s individual network by connecting you with people in industries, positions and roles you may never have had exposure to.

What is the best career advice you’ve received?

Relationships and the network you build are more valuable than any one job you have. They will grow, expand and deepen through the years and you will find opportunities to give back to the network as well – it’s a 2-way street!

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

I continue to need and value the advice I get from friends and colleagues as the environment around us changes. I have taken on a new internal VP role after 16+ years in advisory services. I am working within an organization with a new lens, and therefore, have new skills to test and develop. There is no end to leadership learning, which create the challenge and the excitement.

How do you support other women in their leadership journeys?

Through the TRUST, other organizations and my job, I hope to create spaces where I’m able to listen and learn about others and their journeys. In many cases, I start with a lot of listening to learn about someone. Then I find joy in making a connection, offering a suggestion or even just sharing my own defeats/successes in the hopes it would offer a positive push or point in the right direction.

What is something not many know about you?

I am often assumed to be an extrovert because I have high energy and excitement when I meet new people or am around a great group of people; however, I’m a “full-blown” introvert who requires recharging and the balance of quiet alone time!

Who inspires you?

My two daughters inspire me. They are a daily reminder that there is so much more to me than the work that can pull me in so many different directions. My daughters are the reminder that there is a whole world available to explore – for my daughters, for me and for all of us. We need to continue to explore and learn!

Any words of wisdom you live by?

I have two favorites. One is a daily reminder to remember to smile and find something silly in this every day chaos! The other I try to recall when opportunities are in front of me or seem far off – sometimes you just have to trust and leap!

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~ Charlie Chaplin

“Leap and the net will appear.” ~ John Burroughs