I believe that it is easy for people to become frustrated and give in to a challenging situation, but the true test of an effective leader is having the determination to take action and create a solution.
When I first started working as a nurse in the psychiatric facility of a hospital, I realized the role I could play in impacting the health of individual patients. It was a tremendous feeling, and I was driven to do more—to lead. With greater responsibility, I could do more than help individuals—I could make an impact on an entire care unit. So I applied for my first manager’s position. My hard work was rewarded, and I spent nearly a decade working for that same hospital, progressing to various levels of leadership, while increasing my scope of responsibility over the years.
Education helped me further my career and increase my potential impact. I earned my master’s degree and became passionate about healthcare policy because I felt that it was the key to improving the health of entire communities. Joining WellCare Health Plans gave me a role in impacting the health of millions of members across the nation who relied on government-sponsored healthcare programs. Then my next leadership move came when I was selected by WellCare to go to Hawaii to help launch the company’s subsidiary, ‘Ohana Health Plan, a plan selected by the state to support a new model of care across Hawaii. This opportunity became the most challenging and rewarding experience of my career.
I was appointed state president of ‘Ohana and tasked with effectively leading more than one hundred employees. This responsibility made me think of a quote from business author Peter Drucker: “Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.”
I learned early on in my career that you cannot change your employees. Spending time trying to rid someone of an undesirable behavior is time that could have been more productively spent increasing their positive contributions. This helped me became a more effective leader; I surrounded myself with a team of diverse individuals with different skillsets who could work together to achieve a common goal.
My team today shares my passion and determination to make a difference in society. Because of this shared drive, we are creating positive change in our communities.
What does it take to succeed and stay competitive in your position/field?
With the rapid changes occurring in today’s healthcare system, it is vital that I stay on top of policy changes and understand their impacts to help my company stay competitive. It is also important to acknowledge that at the core of everything I do, my efforts impact thousands of lives each and every day—people who live in my community, people who depend on the care provided by my company, and even people who are personal friends and family. It takes the help of a committed team and passion to succeed in helping these people improve their lives.