1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?
I was inspired to serve in healthcare because of the mission and culture of Avera. Our organization shares a deep passion for caring for those who are most vulnerable. From the very first day of joining Avera, I have felt at home because my personal values align with those of Avera. I remain passionate because of our people – our benefactors and colleagues. Together, we ignite the extraordinary for our patients, residents and their loved ones.
2. Why did you choose to make healthcare philanthropy your career?
This is work that matters. It makes a profound difference around the clock. In healthcare, philanthropy can be felt and seen by those in our care and their loved ones. Our work enriches lives and our benefactors' impact can be seen instantly when you visit one of our locations across Avera’s footprint of 72,000 square miles.
3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.
I was first introduced to the purpose and power of philanthropy as the grateful recipient of a stranger’s generosity. Decades ago, my mother and I escaped a war-torn country. I was raised in poverty; however, a benefactor’s gift changed my life. It allowed me to see firsthand what happens when we serve others. My life’s work was born. I have a commitment to helping people–especially society’s most vulnerable.
4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?
I credit my first job for instilling in me the ability to collaborate with people and build relationships quickly. In my first job, I served as a guest interactor at a local science center.
5. What are your future aspirations?
As I look ahead, I am passionate about growing the impact of philanthropy to advance our health ministry at Avera. I am blessed to serve alongside a passionate and engaged team. We recently unified our philanthropic efforts across the system into a single foundation. With such a dedicated team, many passionate benefactors, and a meaningful mission, the sky is the limit. There is momentum and excitement around philanthropy across our organization.
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