I had never contemplated a career in policy and politics until I went to college. I simply wanted to help people. Then two seminal events shaped my future.
First, I was required to take a social science course—I chose Sociology 101. Interspersed with the discussion of esoteric theories of long-dead thinkers like Durkheim, Montesquieu, and Marx, there were discussions of medicine and ethics, and ultimately, health policy, that caught and held my attention. Second, I was invited to participate in a seminar taught by the university president on leadership. But she didn’t challenge us to become CEOs, she challenged us to consider a career in public service.
In my family, higher education was never a question. My parents never asked if I would go to college, but rather where I would go to college and what I would study. However, it was up to me to make the most of the experience and decide how to use what I learned to my own advantage.
My college experience set me on a course to Congress, the administration, and now the private sector. In each case I married my passion, knowledge, and knack for relating to others to create a successful career in health policy. But my education didn’t stop with school. Rather, for me, college inspired a never-ending pursuit of both learning and teaching.
When one asks me what I do for a living, I tell them that I work every day to educate legislators and policy makers. My staff and I teach members of Congress, their staff, and others about my company, what role we play in the health care system, and how we work every day to improve the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities. In addition, my team educates 37,000 employees about how federal legislators and regulators are proposing to change and modify health policy and the process through which they do it.
When I started my first job on Capitol Hill, I thought I would work there for a few years before I would get bored and go to graduate school. I’ve never gotten bored. I love what I do. There is always more to learn and teach.