I heard an interesting snippet on NPR the other morning, about women and our ambition. Shankar Vedantam, NPR’s social science correspondent and the host of a podcast I love called the Hidden Brain, discussed a study which found single women as much less likely to express career ambitions compared to married women or men. What is the reason behind this? Are we creating a glass ceiling for ourselves?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the judgment of others and how that plays into our everyday lives – both personally and professionally. Do you write people off because of the way they act or look? Perhaps it’s not consciously done, but are we predisposed to it? I watched a TED talk on the existence of prejudice and bias and how it can help us categorize our lives. In the video Paul Bloom shares stories from research on prejudice including one study that illustrated young children showing an affinity for certain stuffed animal characters over other stuffed animals based on the stuffed animals’ “preference” for foods like green beans vs. graham crackers. Are we wired to like people -and even stuffed animals – based on some subconscious cues that may not make a lot of rational sense? Acknowledging that is a part of being human and may be the first step toward reducing the impact prejudice has on the way we think and act. Take a look if you have a moment.
The first few months in a new leadership role are usually an exciting and challenging time. The hard work of networking, research, applications, and interviewing has finally paid off. You got the job! Congratulations, but now is no time to relax.
Did you know the first 100 days in a new job establish your foundation as a new leader? Many new leaders arrive on Day One “ready to go” but without a plan. Rather than “hitting the ground running,” early messages are off target, relationships are slow to form, and results are unpredictable. In today’s business world there is no such thing as a “honeymoon period.” All eyes are on the new leader to produce results quickly and efficiently.
The key is to develop your transition game plan long before your start the job. Clarify expectations, uncover landmines and avoid missteps that can negatively impact first impressions and your long term success. There are plenty of resources and tools to help with this. One book I found particularly useful is The New Leader’s 100 Day Action Plan by George Bradt, Jayme Check, and John Lawler. In it, the authors present a compelling case for flushing out your onboarding plan even before you have accepted the job. Four main concepts for a successful transition and increased chances of long term success are succinctly detailed: Getting a head start by assessing risks, identifying landmines, jump-starting relationships; Managing the message by creating a strong first impression, opening message and ongoing communication; Setting direction and building your team by co-establishing 30-45-70 day objectives; Sustaining momentum and delivering results by continuing to evolve your leadership and practices. With background information, examples, diagrams and tools this book offers ways to assess your new situation and begin develop an on-boarding plan that gives you more control from Day One.
Just as you diligently prepared for your job interviews, advance planning of your first days and months on the new job should be an integral part of your next career move.
Blog post by WHCM Steering Committee Member MaryGaye Grizwin
Most people have smart phones now, and if they don’t, they probably have a tablet. For instance, my dad, who is 65+, is holding onto his flip phone for dear life but LOVES his iPad / iPod and has many apps he finds useful on them.
I went to a conference a few months ago and as an “ice breaker” in a room of about 30 people, we went around and shared our favorite app and its function. It was interesting to hear what people discovered value in, and what their interests were. Podcast and music apps were especially popular. One of my favorites is SpotHero, an app that uses your location to find the cheapest parking – whether it be in a garage or in the back of a Boston Brownstone – and all currency is exchanged through the phone. Two new ones I learned about are; Cash , a free to download app by Square that instantly transfers money between friends for free as long as you are both signed up and connect your debit cards, and OneNote for iPhone, a virtual notebook you can write memos in, save images and articles from the web and audio files – and it’s completely searchable! I think this question is a great conversation starter and you might just learn something new about the person you are speaking with.
Why did I join Women in Healthcare Management? It was nine years ago – I had been laid off from my public relations agency job as part of a 40% reduction in workforce and was actually happy about it. People were crying and packing up their desks in those pitiful printer paper boxes they give you when you’ve been terminated and I was smiling. I felt awful for my colleagues – for some it was their first job – but happy because it gave me the push to make a change. How to make that change? My public relations clients had been mostly high-tech and some medical device. I knew I wanted to work in medicine, but not in patient care. I wanted to enable those providing care to do what they do best, but without years of experience, it was tough to even get an interview. A friend of a friend’s mom suggested I join Women in Healthcare Management (WHCM). My eyes were open to the different jobs in healthcare – I never realized there were hundreds of jobs with countless skill sets supporting the physicians, nurses and clinicians.
Fast forward to 2017. I am happily employed at Signature Healthcare in the marketing department, doing public relations and web content management. I’m still so impressed by the women I meet at our WHCM events. Just last night I was at one of our 4 yearly informal networking gatherings and met so many interesting women in the two hours – a lady who works at a pharmaceutical company and files papers for clinical trial approvals; a developer and data analyst who saved up so she could quit her job and focus on the “next step” in her career; a nurse manager from Children’s Hospital; consultants; a project manager for a health plan and more. I mused as I remembered our fall networking gathering several months before and how two women at my table discovered they were both breast cancer survivors. We learn from each other, support each other and provide sounding boards. I’ve made friends through the group and career-driven, passionate women who’ve helped me grow – whether they knew it or not. I look forward to meeting more of them in the years to come.
The following is a post from WHCM board member Rachel Labas.
This year WHCM members were treated to a well-moderated (Thanks board member Wendy Weitzner!) “fireside chat” style interview with Ellen Zane, former President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children. She was the first woman to run the hospital in its 215-year history. Interesting female leaders with strong conviction and great advice are a common theme for these Forums, and I make an effort to never miss one. I am guaranteed to learn something, and on a social note, guaranteed to connect with other WHCM members I haven’t seen in a while, or meet new ones sitting at my table during dinner before the main event.
I’d seen Ellen speak before – she’s a guest lecturer in my grad school program at Suffolk University – but this time I found her more relatable as she honestly shared compelling stories about her leadership experience and success. She also shared opinions on the direction of the healthcare industry in Massachusetts, important for the approximately 100 healthcare leaders and future leaders in the room. Ideas around wellness and prevention, the role of health insurance and care coordination were discussed, as Ellen answered audience questions for the last half of the program. Ellen credits part of her success to “hiring people smarter than you – be honest with yourself – what do you do well, and not so well?” I thought this was a wise statement and mark of a true leader. You’ll never be an expert at everything, surrounding yourself with those who can supplement your skills seems like an important key to success.
As a woman, Ellen did not want to change who she was, but her road to success was paved by being an “approachable woman.” Ellen walked that line of approachability and respect while in all her leadership roles, especially when arriving at a struggling Tufts Medical Center. Lastly, she pointed out differences between the non-profit and for-profit worlds; a perspective she sees even more clearly now as a member of several corporate boards. She’s found CEOs at for-profits know when to say “stop” to the input. That CEO takes input, but makes the decisions. Consensus is good, but often paralysis occurs in non-profit healthcare, struggling for buy-in from all parties, and this slows down progress and success of those organizations.
I’m looking forward to the next WHCM event. If you were at the fall forum, what did you think? Did you pick up on other relevant advice?
The Following Is a Post from WHCM Member Rachel Labas, following our Fall Networking Event
Around 15 WHCM friends and new acquaintances joined together for a fun, informal networking event on September 12 at Joe’s American Bar and Grill in Framingham. The night was warm and Joe’s opened the windows in our function room to the sunny night air. As usual, the planning committee put out a great appetizer spread of hot and cold finger foods. After socializing together for the first half hour as ladies arrived one-by-one, we participated in a formal “speed networking” activity, which, like “speed dating” was designed to get us moving between groups.
We had 5 minutes with a partner to introduce ourselves and our professional role, and were asked to choose one question from four to discuss:
- What confounding problem were you asked to resolve today?
- What do you think actually is the best value proposition in healthcare?
- What is the most interesting job in healthcare today?
- Your own question
It was a great way to keep the conversation relevant and interesting. Thank you to the WHCM members who planned this event! I’m looking forward to our Fall Forum in October, which is always an interesting, fun time.
The Following Is a Post from WHCM Member Rachel Labas, following our June 19 Networking Event.
Close to 30 women gathered at Joe’s American Bar and Grill in Dedham to network and enjoy each other’s company along with some delicious heavy appetizers. There were some new members, attending their first WHCM networking event, and some members in between jobs seeking new opportunities. We had a chance to sit around in smaller groups and play a networking “game” – assigning colors to days of the week individually and then discussing in a group why certain colors were associated with certain days. Along with giving us something to “break the ice,” it was interesting to see how each person at the table could interpret something as straightforward as a day of the week so differently. One woman at my table even assigned colors based on how they sounded with the days, rather than the feeling associated with the days. Needless to say, several of us did assign “black” to Monday. I left with several new contacts, but more importantly, I learned how the changing healthcare industry is affecting the varying career paths of our members. And that, after being a member of WHCM for more than three years, is something I value from all of our meetings – learning from others and applying their experiences to my career path. Hope to see you at the next event!
Following is a post from WHCM member Wendy M. Weitzner, FACHE, Vice President of THE INNOVA GROUP about our Spring Forum event on May 9.
The WCHM Spring Forum was a great success. We had many new attendees in addition to long time members. The crowd of about 90 women heard from four terrific ladies who work with social media in four different areas of healthcare: hospital, industry/devices, healthplan, and physician group. We heard about their career paths as well as their thoughts on social media as we dined on some fantastic Cinco de Mayo-themed dinner fare. A few key takeaways include:
- Social media is here to stay, and it is the new way of communication. Social media outlets are becoming similar to how webpages are seen now in society: if you don’t have it, you are invisible;
- Social media is about transparency and connecting with your customers. Many of the comments on social media sites are positive, but negative comments are an opportunity for personalized service recovery;
- If you are doing social media, do it well. Have new and fresh content, monitor the sites for feedback;
- Knowing which social media outlets to use depends on what you are trying to achieve. Develop a strategy and communication goal, and then use the outlets that best support that strategy.
Following is a post from WHCM member Wendy M. Weitzner, FACHE, Vice President of THE INNOVA GROUP about our Spring Networking event on Tuesday April 3.
About 40 women gathered at The Inn at Longwood for our first Boston-based networking event in recent memory. It was a great room, good food, excellent company, and even validated/reduced parking! There were lots of new faces along with some familiar ones. As usual, everyone was very friendly—and the chatting, laughing, and networking began immediately. The great thing about WCHM events is there are never any “wall flowers.” The women are so welcoming and inclusive that no one is left out.
Many sectors of the industry were represented and lots of business cards were exchanged. Thanks to Debbie Zirman for organizing such a successful event. We will be back in Boston soon! Our next event is May 9 at HPHC in Wellesley. It is our Spring Forum: Four women will discuss their experience in Social Media and the value of this important communication tool. Please check the website for details.