Major: Leadership Management
Year of Graduation: 2012
Current Position: Management Fellow at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you're working.
As a Management Fellow, I have the opportunity to be in a two-year leadership development program designed to enhance business acumen through three-to-four month rotations at each of CTCA's hospitals. While on rotation, I am able to work directly with senior leaders on impactful projects in various departments including finance, strategy, marketing, human resources, new business development, operations, and IT. I am also able to attend board and executive meetings to understand all elements of each hospital and how our company will continue to move forward strategically. Upon the completion of the program, I will enter a leadership position within the company based on business needs and my area of expertise. CTCA delivers personalized, compassionate cancer-care all under one roof to patients wanting an integrated and holistic approach to their treatment. We have hospitals in Chicago, IL, Tulsa, OK, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, and Atlanta, GA.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
During the fall of my senior year at CSB/SJU, I met with my cousin for an information interview about CTCA. She told me about the Management Fellowship program and put me in contact with the manager of the program. After two rounds of interviews, they flew me out to Chicago for a string of interviews with top executives at the company. I was notified before Thanksgiving that I had been extended an offer, which I gladly accepted.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
My primary responsibility is to lead impactful projects which improve patient access and care in order to learn and develop into a future leader of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. My advice to students is to gain as much leadership experience as possible in college because companies, whether they are in healthcare or not, don't want to hire undergraduates for just a year, they want them to be the future leaders of the company. So the more leadership experience you have, the better your chances are when applying for a position with a company. If you're interested in healthcare specifically, medicine is always changing and evolving-so being intellectually curious and always wanting to stay updated with new information will be to your advantage.
What skills are important in your field?
Relationship building skills (including verbal communication skills) are invaluable for a young professional. In order for me to lead teams toward the completion of projects I have to get "buy-in" from top executives. If I have a relationship with them, it is easier to be impactful. Analytical skills are also very important. Being comfortable navigating Microsoft Excel is extremely important, as well as understanding large sets of data without being overwhelmed. Organization is a key element to mastering Excel and is an important skill to have when managing your time and workload.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
I never thought I would have a career in healthcare. But now that I do, I absolutely love it! During the second semester of my junior year I studied abroad in South Africa and had the opportunity to do service work in an impoverished neighborhood. I knew after that experience that I wanted to integrate service into my career. I also knew I wanted to leverage the knowledge I acquired in my business and leadership classes. It just so happened that healthcare was a nice convergence of both sides of my career interests.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
Getting to meet and share stories with patients. If I ever think I am having a bad day, I just take a walk out to the lobby and talk to a few patients. They are some of the strongest people I know! They have been through so much, but still have such a great attitude and spirit. They inspire me to keep working hard to provide the best patient-centered cancer care!