Tell us about your background.
I was born in England and spent a lot of my formative years in London and Yorkshire. I have also lived and went to school for a few years in Ghana, West Africa. My father was in the Navy so we were fortunate to experience and travel to many places. After undergrad, I went college in Washington DC and once I graduated, got a job and stayed in that area for many years. We moved to Texas at the end of 2017. I have been married to a wonderful husband for 17 years and I have a 7-year-old daughter.
What led you into healthcare?
That is actually an interesting story. Growing up, my dad told me he knew I would be in healthcare. From an early age, I excelled in math and science. He wanted me to be a medical doctor but I had the notion that I would be a chemist. More specifically a chemist who developed perfume. In the meantime, I needed volunteer credits for school, so I volunteered in the physical therapy department at Guy’s hospital in London. I was sent to the pharmacy routinely to pick up topical medications or DME and I always noticed a man in the back of the pharmacy mixing what I imagined were potions. I was intrigued and was told he was the chemist. When I told my dad about it, he put me in touch with a professor of pharmacy he knew at Howard University and the rest is history. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy at Howard and my Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Shenandoah University. I have worked most of my career in hospital pharmacy. I have been fortunate to work for wonderful organizations including the one I work for now.
What are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love all kinds of music, with jazz being my favorite and more so when I can listen to it live. My daughter loves music too, so my best times are when we get to listen, sing and dance to great music. I also love to cook (again with music in the background) although I don’t do it as often as I would like. Finally, I have a big, loving family so anytime I get to spend quality time with any of them, some of whom live locally, I consider it a blessing and joy.
What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
My parents always told me to “beware of the company you keep” because, essentially, they are a reflection of who you are or want to be. And then later in my first supervisory role, my boss at the time, told me to surround myself with people who challenge me but also those who inspire and motivate me. It is the same message based on the application and I have made every effort to follow that in my life and my career.
What do you think is the most valuable part of the FACHE journey?
I would have to say the commitment to be a lifelong learner for our own benefit, but also for the benefit of the communities we serve and the people we work with and lead. The resources provided by ACHE to do exactly that have been so helpful. Also, learning more about my role as a member and now a fellow and having the opportunity to meet and connect with other members in the local chapter have been valuable.
What do you think is the most important skill to have as a healthcare leader today?
It is hard to focus on just one. I would say empathy, gratitude and humility have become more important to me after this last year and a half. The way I see it, we can hit our targets and make margin, all while doing the things we do as successful healthcare leaders, but without continuing to hone in on these skills with our teams and each other, the rest does not mean much.
-Interview by Laura Gomez