Q: Tell me about your background.
A: Well, I have spent the better part of my career in clinical documentation—with the exception of a short stint in the lighting industry, working with the builder’s association as opposed to AHIMA! I’ve been with Nuance since 2011 when the company I worked for was acquired by them. So, my experience includes more than a little bit of knowledge of the industry and the company, but our new journey as DeliverHealth is exciting.
Q: Have you always been in healthcare? What drew you to the industry?
A: Most of my career has been focused on HIM. But that’s not how it all began. My mother was the Director of Nursing at a small 52-bed hospital, so I grew up in and around healthcare. I worked in the hospital as a teenager and had aspirations of medical school. But there was a different plan for me. I’ve played the piano since I was six years old, which means nothing to my career path except that my dexterity from playing helped my ability to type. And type FAST. So, during college, I worked in the HIM department, and the rest is history. I discovered my aptitude for transcription, and because it was all based on output numbers, I was highly efficient and productive. So productive, in fact, that it prompted the decision to start my own business.
I struck out on my own but soon had employees working out of my house. My little medical transcription enterprise took off. The business flourished, at one point making the Inc. 500 fastest growing companies list, and nine years later I sold it to MedQuist. After working as an SVP at MedQuist for nine years, I took a new path and, for a brief period, went to work in the lighting industry. Healthcare once again beckoned with an opportunity as an SVP for Webmedx, which I jumped on. In 2011, the company was sold to Nuance and that’s where I’ve been ever since. Though it has been a journey with twists and turns, I ultimately adjusted and pivoted when needed. Throughout my career, I’ve followed my talents in a space where I have the most value to share.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to go into a healthcare field?
A: Always remember that there are lots of avenues in healthcare. And as life happens, realize that your skills can transfer to those other areas. Healthcare will always be here. The opportunities are endless. Be creative, explore your options and always be intentional in doing your job.
Q: Has the industry changed for women over the course of your career?
A: I’ve definitely seen an uptick in the number of women in leadership positions, though there continues to be room for women to equalize. I would love to see more women in the vendor space in healthcare, and as a former small business owner, I know there are opportunities that women could capitalize on!
Q: Who/what has been the biggest influence on your career?
A: I have had a variety of role models over the years—my mother, for one, was definitely an inspiration. But I think that the biggest influence on my career was having someone tell me that while I was good enough and capable enough for a management position, I was not getting the job. That had a profound impact on me. Knowing that I was worthy and capable, but not being given the opportunity, motivated me to prove that I could do it, on my own. That negative experience has kept me determined over the years.
Q: Working in HIM/clinical documentation, what are your thoughts about the impact women have had on the industry? How does that influence you?
A: Women play such a critical role in all aspects of healthcare that it is hard to not recognize and take great pride in that fact. I have loved every step of my journey, with all its successes, failures, ups, and downs. However, I also know that all of my achievements have not been because I’m a woman, but because I worked at it—because I could. I was smart enough, savvy enough, confident enough. And that’s my message for everyone. Strive to do great things not just because…but because WE CAN.