Working to Make the Impossible Possible

As noted by Atul Gawande, “Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.” These words have influenced my professional passion to positively impact the people I serve, whether my family, coworkers, or the Upstate New York community. For 20 years of my career, I’ve had the privilege to apply my passion to make our health care system better. Whether in a hospital, nursing home, or payer setting, the passion remains the same—to improve the quality of health care and to do so with an enthusiastic focus on excellence.

This passion was ignited long before I was mature enough to recognize it. I’ve had a life experience of loving a younger sister physically challenged with cerebral palsy. I’ve personally witnessed the enormous trials, miraculous wins, and the opportunities to celebrate both. My sister won the gold medal in the downhill slalom at the Lake Placid Special Olympics. She also earned a master’s degree in special education and was successful in having a family of her own, proving the impossible is possible.

My sister brought diversity to our family; she had special needs that often surpassed others’ needs or desires. When we were in middle school, I vividly recall her desire to run with my friends and me in our backyard. I recall my personal struggle of deciding whether to run ahead with my friends to be included or stay behind to be with her. Although I feared I’d be perceived as slow and uninterested, my friends quickly recognized my sister needed me more at that moment. It was clear that others already appreciated her diversity—her disability was obvious to everyone—and the critical importance of her inclusion over my own. I learned at a young age that it doesn’t matter what “outsiders” think; what matters are the people who need you to love and accept them for who they are in the moment they require it.

I’m fortunate to apply this life experience and fuel my passion in an organization that has empowered me to engage others in a quest to improve the quality of health care across 39 Upstate New York counties. I’m now privileged to serve many, encourage diversity and inclusion, influence cross-functional collaboration, and make the impossible possible.