Kia ora (Maori greeting from New Zealand). We spent 7 years living in New Zealand, so expect little tid bits of kiwi to come out here and there.
What do you do for a living? Did you go to university? Join the military? Vocational training? Get married and have babies? Travel the world? Start your own company? Today I want to share with you my professional background, and how I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life.
I’ve worked in the health sector for over 10 years. My original plan was to do pre-med and become an opthalmologist, but then I discovered the strategic side of the healthcare system so I changed my major. My undergraduate degree is in public health and political science from the University of Washington in Seattle (Go Huskies!), and I completed my Master of Public Health degree with the University of Auckland in New Zealand. For the past few years, I’ve been an Associate Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Managers.
If you have one, what professional association are you a member of? It’s nice getting industry emails and updates. What did I actually do over the past 10 years? I worked in health research for universities, health promotion, health policy, advocacy, organizational policy development, and most recently in health workforce development. Health service managers strategize, create operational plans, manage budgets, supervise staff, and work together with clinical and executive leaders to achieve goals of the health system. It’s been a fun 10 years and I have been blessed with amazing opportunities. If you ask me what my long-term career aspiration is, I would tell you that I want to be a hospital or health board CEO to influence the healthcare system.
Have you seen Sheryl Sanderg’s famous TED Talk clip where she examines why we have so few women in c-level leadership positions? If not, feel free to check it out. I used to subscribe to her views. She is right – we (women) do need to maintain a seat at the table and turn up and work harder. However, since becoming a mother and returning to the workforce, I just don’t want to be that woman right now. I was stoked when Anne-Marie Slaughter provided an alternate reality for mothers in her piece for The Atlantic called, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” She writes about how she left her position of power in the White House because she wanted to be with her children while they were still at home. While I want to be a top professional in my field, I also want to invest in my children.
Thus, my husband and I made the decision (at the end of 2013) for me to leave the full-time workforce in order to become self-employed. Now I’m a work-at-home-mom, a mompreneur. This was NEVER the plan. Never ever. But now I have the freedom to create my own business where I can thrive professionally and still have time to have fun with my girls and friends in our community. While I still aspire to be a hospital or health system CEO, for now I’m stoked to be the CEO of Mālama Momma helping people reinvent healthcare in their homes… I’ll fix the healthcare system later when my kids are older!
What about you, my friend? Did you change when you had children? What is different in your professional role now?