Career paths are rarely a straight line, and I am proof of just that. I didn’t grow up knowing I wanted to be a healthcare executive. I didn’t even go to college with that idea. So my career path has had many twists, turns, and changes of mind to get me to where I am today, and I couldn’t be happier with every choice that has brought me here.
I originally went to college majoring in marketing, but I quickly found that I had little interest in the field. I decided to switch it up and get a double major in humanities and religious studies, take a summer to study in Italy, come back to school to get a PhD in humanities and become a professor. Half of that happened. Once I graduated with my BA, I decided to get out in the workforce: I chose to get into management and try out the business world. After a couple of years I realized something was still missing from my life. I dropped everything and went back to school. As risky and scary as it was, it turned out to be the best decision yet.
My sister has always worked in the healthcare field and prompted me to look into it. A master’s degree in health administration seemed to be the perfect mix of all that I loved: I would be able to help people, provide customer service, be part of a rapidly changing environment and build my operational and organizational skills. Upon completing my degree program I accepted the current fellowship I am in today with ACHE.
While here at ACHE, as the Stuart A. Wesbury Jr. Postgraduate Fellow, I have participated in the Chapter Leaders Conference and met with some of the most influential healthcare leaders in the country. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from ACHE President/CEO Thomas C. Dolan, PhD, FACHE, CAE, and Executive Vice President/COO Deborah J. Bowen, FACHE, CAE, the co-preceptors of my fellowship.
This is a time of great change in healthcare, and it is important to be knowledgeable of the new initiatives as well as the impacts those initiatives will have on an organization. One great way to increase your awareness is to get together with other healthcare executives at the 2012 Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago, March 19–22. Congress positions you to learn from early- and mid-careerists and senior-level healthcare executives about the jobs and opportunities available to you upon graduation. During the 2012 Congress, students may participate in the Student Track Congress sessions, networking events, luncheons and other informal opportunities to speak with healthcare executives. Furthermore, ACHE offers those Student Associates who serve as Congress program assistants a tuition reimbursement for their 2012 Congress registration fee.
In addition to attending Congress, I encourage you to get involved with ACHE through your local chapter. Leaders across the country are bringing high-quality programs to your area in an effort to provide education that is more geographically accessible.
Finally, I urge those students looking for a summer internship and those graduating students looking for a fellowship to look into the ACHE Diversity Internship or the Stuart A. Wesbury Jr. Postgraduate Fellowship, respectively. If you have the qualities and work ethic that ACHE staff members strive for–the organization’s Standards of Excellence–I assure you that you will be given opportunities to grow both personally and professionally while at ACHE. If you have any questions about ACHE or these opportunities, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (312) 424-9308. I look forward to speaking with you, and I hope to see you at the 2012 Congress on Healthcare Leadership!