- How did you get into health care philanthropy?
My first job after college was a resource development associate for our local United Way. I fell in love with the world of philanthropy and the plight of nonprofits to positively impact the world around them. I spent most of my career serving human service charities until I was given the opportunity to apply for the executive director position at my local community hospital. I had spent many years leading a fundraising department and knew the next step for me was an executive director role. It was a major transition for me to jump into health care philanthropy, but it has been an amazing and meaningful experience.
- Why did you choose to make health care philanthropy your career?
When I accepted my first position in healthcare philanthropy, I wasn’t entirely honest about something. I had a secret. Deep down inside me, I was uncomfortable in hospitals. In fact, just walking into a hospital made me anxious. Being in a hospital made me think about the day I lost my grandma.
My grandma was the type of person everyone gravitated toward. She was warm and loving. She would hug you so tight it hurt. She was a beautiful person, and I loved her deeply. I remember my mom meeting me in the INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center lobby with tears in her eyes. I remember the way my grandma looked lying in her hospital bed. She didn’t survive her stroke. And from that day forward, I was uncomfortable in hospitals.
I asked my mom what she remembered about that day. She recounted being so thankful for the nurse who cared for my grandma. He made sure my mom and my grandpa were there with her in her final moments. Mom believes, deep down in her heart, that grandma’s nurse was not a nurse. He was an angel. Hearing mom’s words instantly turned my heartache into passion. Passion for patients whose lives are changed forever by stroke AND passion for the families who love them.
I was wrong about hospitals. They are special places where babies are born, people are healed, lives are saved, and miracles occur. When donors give to the Foundation, they are a part of these miracles. Philanthropy is a very important part of the care we give our patients every day. My mother’s words changed me that day and I’ve been hooked on the power of philanthropy in healthcare ever since.
- What has been the #1 factor in your career success so far?
I think the #1 thing that motivates me is the deep love I have for what we do. I have seen the transformational impact of philanthropy on the way we deliver care to our patients. I am constantly inspired by our patient impact stories. I feel very honored to lead an organization that has such an important piece of elevating the care we give to our patients.
- What is your greatest passion and why?
I have been a big fan of philanthropy all my life. My greatest passion is helping donors creative positive change in our community. It is an honor and privilege to be a part of their philanthropy and to see the joy they experience when they make a meaningful gift and see the amazing impact their gift has on the lives of others. It is the best feeling in the world and the thing I love most about my job.
- What are your future aspirations?
It is hard for me to picture a time in my life where I would not be connected to philanthropy. It is such an amazing and rewarding career. My future aspirations would be to continue to be a part of meaningful work that is truly making a positive impact on the lives of others.