I new from age five that I wanted to devote my life to health care and this passion and commitment has been a driving force in my career. As a child, I contracted a lifethreatening infection in my right tibia and spent several years in and out of the hospital, frequently undergoing surgery. When I was two years old, I underwent one of the first successful bone-grafting operations in history.

This experience sparked a deep seated fascination with medical research and as an adult, I decided to become an RN. I learned many valuable career and life lessons from bedside nursing, where to me, a good day meant no one died on my watch, and where I found many opportunities to give real, meaningful help to those in need.

While I loved nursing, I felt I could only effectively help one person at a time, and I wanted to do more. It was not long before I made the transition to a career in health information technology and data research.

Now, my profession allows me to help whole populations and I feel great about the direction I decided to take. Everyday is an exciting challenge, and by conducting research and working to innovate the way health data and technology are used, I am able to contribute more broadly to help the health care system work more efficiently.

An important piece of career advice is to never try to be something you’re not. I’ve always felt we can each use our own personal interests and experiences to make meaningful contributions, and that we should never feel we must hide or change these unique assets. When in doubt, follow your instincts.

As I’ve grown in my profession, I’ve served as a mentor to others at various stages in their careers, which has been a truly rewarding experience. At Ingenix, I make it a practice to meet with every associate on my team at least once every two weeks. I tell them that people never just get lucky in life; but that the people who can take advantage of “luck” or favorable circumstances are those who are prepared. If you are prepared to be the best you can be, you will be ready to handle interesting challenges and opportunities. Every success will enable you to take advantage of even greater opportunities.