Member Spotlight – Maria Mikhataykina, FACHE

Please tell us a little about your background and how you got into healthcare.

I was raised in a small town in Russia. Curiosity and opportunity for learning brought me to Houston, where I met my husband, Yuriy. I always loved the adventure and excitement, so I became a paramedic. It was the closest I could afford while I was dreaming about med school. Fortunately, I became a nurse in the process, and life steered me away from med school. I satisfied all my desires for becoming a surgeon by working in ED and CV ICU as a nurse.


What do you like to do in your free time?

Yuriy and I have two small kids, Alexandra (7) and Alexey (4). I love spending time with them traveling, learning new cultures, and trying diverse food. I love adventures and meeting new people. My goal is to visit 100 countries and learn five languages. I find it fascinating to see cultural differences.

What was the best piece of advice you received from mentor during your career?

The most recent one was to look around and find my best performers. Get to know them better. They are not your competition. They are here to show you what’s possible. They are your friends and future colleagues. Soon, you will solve problems, collaborate, and discuss opportunities. It is easier to join forces with friends. So, make friends. Build long-lasting relations.

My favorite from the past was to listen and look at the big picture. We should listen more for intentions, meanings, emotions. We often get lost in the weeds and get caught in the moment. The best way to describe it is to step away from the painting and look from five meters out at the whole canvas.

You just recently passed the Board of Governors’ Exam after taking the prep course through ACHE-SETC. Can you tell us some about how you prepped for the exam?

I set a goal to learn more about healthcare in the process of preparing for the exam. I wanted to understand the structure, details, and in/outs. So, I have taken several prep courses as I love to listen and learn from speakers. It was an excellent opportunity to meet people and network. I enjoyed my last course at ACHE-SETC as speakers provided real-life experience and described processes by the book to contrast. I love the fact that all sessions are available on the website to go back to and review. The exam was as nerve-racking as any exam I have taken, but it did not last long. Fortunately, the friends I created along the way are still with me.

What is your favorite thing about being a leader in healthcare in Houston?

I love the complexity and inner mobility of healthcare. I enjoy Houston’s network. This constantly changing and active career matches well with my personality. My family is far, so I rely on everyone I meet on my path. It’s a large family here, and support is unlimited. I enjoy working with people to mold the best version of myself.



Other than the advice mentioned above, what is one piece of advice you would give to an early careerist?

1. Take care of yourself. You cannot take care of others if you cannot take care of yourself. Caring for yourself is extremely important for people with children. Our responsibility is to eat healthy, exercise, and be mindful as we project it on our children.

2. Build a network by building relations. You may know people, but your wealth will be defined by how many people feel comfortable reaching to you for help and offer the shoulder when you need it.

3. There are no limits except the ones you place yourself. Stop looking for excuses. Just do it.

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Phil Jackson

-Interview by Laura Gomez

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