Choose the health content that’s right for you, and get it delivered right in your inbox.
Claudia Colache Klein is no stranger to managing change. Born in Uruguay, she vividly remembers the first significant transition in her life when she, at just nine years old, moved from her home there to New York – along with her mom, two siblings and paternal grandmother.
“It was a culture shock,” said Claudia. “It was really difficult to adapt initially in school because we didn't speak the language.”
Despite the initial language barrier, Claudia began to feel more comfortable in her new environment once she was able to connect with Spanish-speaking teachers and residents in her Queens, New York, neighborhood, enabling her to socialize and engage with others.
At 18, she moved to Florida and began working as a receptionist at a small doctor’s office. One day, representatives from AdventHealth (then Florida Hospital), visited the office to talk to the provider about joining its network. That visit set in motion a series of events that would shape the next three decades of Claudia’s life.
“I admired their professionalism and the way they were dressed,” she said. “They brought a jar of Jellybeans with a wooden top that said, ‘Florida Hospital’ and I recall thinking, “I'm going to work there one day.”
True to her word, she soon landed a position at Centra Care in Azalea Park. The new work was both exciting and challenging and Claudia was soon managing multiple urgent care centers and their services. Her next growth opportunity came when she joined the organization’s information systems team, where she oversaw companywide clinical and network operations for third-party solutions. After building and establishing a highly proficient and engaged solutions team, she was elevated to director of analytics operations with the Florida Hospital HealthCare System team, now known as the Population Health Services Organization (PHSO), in 2015.
Over the course of three decades with AdventHealth, she has held myriad roles and led over a dozen clinical and technical teams in support of hundreds of team members who serve thousands of patients. While dealing with so much change can be uncomfortable for many, Claudia embraces change and even uses it as a conduit to help others grow.
“I have a passion for growing people. It's very rewarding,” she said. “It's not just the work that I'm doing, but the difference that I can make in people's lives. I just thrive on coming in every day to make sure that my team’s okay.”
Like everyone else, Claudia, a mother of five children, two of whom were adopted, had to adapt to a new way of living during the COVID-19 pandemic. Residing in downtown Orlando with her husband, Adam, and their youngest daughter, Samantha, Claudia knew that she had to find ways to maintain a sense of normalcy for her family. This was especially true for Samantha, just five years old at the time, whose participation in dance, ballet and theatre was completely halted. That’s when she discovered diamond art, the process of placing diamond jewels onto a pattern to create an image. What was intended to help keep her young daughter connected to the arts, turned into a passion and an outlet for Claudia, herself.
“It's incredibly relaxing. I can just shut down and focus on the sections of the painting,” she said. “It’s very detailed work and requires precision. There's also an efficiency factor to the method and I thrive in figuring out the best way to complete each section.”
Claudia draws inspiration from places she visits, pictures she sees or just moments in time such as the pandemic. In all, she has completed more than 20 diamond portraits, created custom images and told new stories, one diamond at a time. One of her favorite pieces, which is inspired by the time that ushered in her diamond artistry, depicts two doctors who had been completely overwhelmed by the pandemic – authentically encapsulating the mood of that time.
With all the changes Claudia has experienced, AdventHealth has remained a constant. More than 30 years since she first saw that jar of Jellybeans, Claudia now serves as executive director of clinical operations for the PHSO. She leads teams of clinical and technical professionals on key initiatives and projects for medical and health management – including member engagement, post-acute care, episodic and home environment transitions of care in support of clinical models that advance population health strategies.
“Being part of this organization and being able to lead change for our team members and patients, it’s just a calling,” she added.