Morgan Skugrud, MS

What is your current role?

After my role was eliminated in a reduction in force this February, I will be transitioning to a new role in late May. I am excited to contribute my expertise to a dynamic team and organization committed to improving access to health care.

As a dynamic and seasoned health care strategist with over 13 years of experience, I excel in pioneering innovative solutions and fostering cross-functional collaboration to achieve organizational objectives. My expertise extends to optimizing product portfolios, cultivating strategic partnerships and leading initiatives to enhance operational efficiency and affordability. I consistently deliver tangible results through strategic thinking and effective execution. With a keen focus on driving positive outcomes, I am looking forward to bringing operational excellence and visionary servant leadership to my new role.

Why did you join the TRUST?

I joined the TRUST in July 2022 seeking a supportive community of health professionals to grow as a first-time people leader, surrounded by women who could challenge, inspire and support me both professionally and personally.

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

As a working parent with young children, I was surprised at the amount of support and camaraderie I’ve found from other women who are in the trenches with young kids as well or who have lived it in a former season of life. The TRUST has been a place where I bring my whole self, and the support I get for my career is holistic, encompassing all aspects of my life. It has inspired me to aim high and prioritize culture in my next best thing.

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

Resilience. Women have navigated countless obstacles and celebrated many wins over the last century — whether in direct patient care or behind the scenes, as health care practitioners. Being surrounded by 400+ women who possess grit, passion and resilience inspires me to ensure better health access becomes a reality in Minnesota and beyond.

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

I am forever grateful for the mentorship of my former leader, Teri Kaslow. Teri afforded me the incredible opportunity to work part-time as a Data Scientist role on her team at Optum from 2017-2018 while I was completing my Master of Science coursework. Representation of women in fields typically dominated by men is incredibly important, and Teri prioritized that.

As part of my graduate program, I designed a mobile app with an intervention to support veterans with a PTSD diagnosis. For this project, I was awarded a scholarship to attend the Facebook Developers Conference through LeanIn Computer Science & Engineering. With Teri’s support, I was able to travel to San Jose and seize this incredible opportunity.  Meeting with and sharing my product design with Facebook’s product leaders was invaluable. Teri consistently leverages her leadership and resources to help me develop mine. Through experiences like these, I’ve learned the importance of women supporting women. I’m lucky to have an incredible mentor who has motivated me to pay it forward. Thank you for all that you’ve done to support me, Teri. Grateful to call you a friend all these years later.

How do you support other women in their leadership journey?

I aim to meet people where they are and support them in getting to where they want to be. For some, that may mean forging connections, while for others, it may mean relying on one another as a support system with regular check-ins.

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

The health care industry is remarkable, filled with individuals dedicated to improving access and enabling people to live their healthiest lives. Each role – from facilities to strategy to product to direct care to research – contributes to making that a reality, and I’m passionate about being part of the solution.

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

I stay active through yoga, family adventures and trail running. I’m currently training for my first trail marathon on the Superior Hiking Trail. Since experiencing postpartum preeclampsia after my daughter was born, I’ve embraced preventative cardiology through the care of an amazing cardiologist and lifestyle changes such as following a mostly heart-healthy diet, exploring NA beverages and prioritizing sleep as much as I’m able to with kids. I keep it realistic and know that balance is key. I am also a huge advocate for mental health and pursuing the care you need to be your best self. Therapy is a great tool to navigate life and develop healthier ways of being, especially in those big life transitions like unemployment.

Who inspires you? My two beautiful kids. I am the luckiest to be their mom. They inspire me to do my part in making this world a better place.