One of the many ways AdventHealth invests in growing leaders is by inviting recent graduates to begin dynamic careers in health care through competitive and rigorous leadership residency programs. These two- or three-year programs provide residents with opportunities to coordinate special projects and interact with leaders on all levels of the organization. Residents often cite how mentorship from diverse leaders and peers at AdventHealth positively influence their experiences. For this Women’s History Month feature, a few of our women residents spent some time reflecting specifically on what women mentors have meant for their leadership development. Included here are their responses to two of the six questions they were asked: 1. Who are some women in your life who inspired you? And 2. Why do you think it is important for women to have strong female leaders to look up to?
Brittany Zill, leadership resident
1. I’m constantly inspired by the female leaders I’ve been able to work with throughout my time at AdventHealth. We are truly so blessed as an organization to have as many incredible women in leadership as we do. But I also find myself inspired by my friends and fellow residents. I think it’s so beneficial to surround yourself with peers who challenge you and push you to be your best, and who also inspire you to grow and do better. These women that I get to interact with on a daily basis, both in and outside of the workplace, make me want to be my best self.
2. I think having female leaders to look up to allows women to really put themselves in others’ shoes and imagine, if they can do it, so can I. I also think female leaders are able to preemptively think through the challenges and tendencies that may impact women in the workplace. Women are likely to understand other women in unique ways, and I think getting to a certain level of understanding is really important when advocating for the people around you. Women in leadership have a special opportunity to not only be aware of these things and extend a helping hand to other women, but also to educate others. Representation of all kinds is so important for exactly this reason. The more representation we have in leadership, the more we can educate and inspire others.
Arielle Powell, leadership resident
1. Once I joined AdventHealth, I had the opportunity to learn from Penny Johnson, the CEO of the Southwest Region. Penny has shown me the importance of kindness and honesty. Penny has been an example of how to pioneer change by creating an environment that strives for excellence. Throughout my entire residency, Penny has invested time in me and helped me understand the region. Sheila Rankin, the CEO of AdventHealth Kissimmee, is also an incredible mentor of mine. In my short time of being her mentee, she has instilled within me the importance of being able to work with anyone. Sheila has emphasized the value of always being prepared and managing expectations. I am also privileged to have an informal mentor in Carine Moura, the director of business development at Texas Health Mansfield. She has taken the time to help me navigate the waters of my residency and provide support and guidance. Prior to my time at AdventHealth, I had an amazing mentor, Ana Patterson, who is now the president of Southwestern Adventist University. She has pushed me to follow my goals and to always put my trust in God's plan. Each of my mentors has also pushed me to develop the skills to advocate for myself and others.
2. I believe providing women with strong female leaders to look up to plays a critical role in women advancing in the workplace. Women representation empowers other women to have a seat at the table.
Leah Wooten, management resident
1. Some women who inspire me are Cathy Stankiewicz [chief nursing officer, AdventHealth Orlando], Grace Lai [director, safety and high reliability, Central Florida Division], Megan Satterwhite [program director, AdventHealth Orlando operations], Jessica Brazier [chief diversity and inclusion officer], Jennifer Wandersleben [CEO, West Florida Division – Heartland Region] and Vanessa Johnson [executive assistant, AdventHealth Orlando]. All of these women have not only communicated what great leadership truly is, but they have shown me it through their everyday commitment, strength and wisdom within the organization. I have the utmost respect for each of these women both personally and professionally.
2. Being a young woman and navigating the nuances of both professional and personal situations can be difficult, so gaining that insight and advice from strong women who have faced similar experiences can be incredibly impactful. It gives me a sense of peace knowing I can ask questions, engage in dialogue and problem-solve with women who are committed to my growth and development.
Addison Murray, human resources resident
1. My most recent rotation preceptor, Faye Peraza [HR business partner, AdventHealth Ocala], has been a true inspiration to me. She skillfully demonstrates how to care for the individual, and she provides hope to her team when work and life become difficult. Through the pandemic, she taught me to focus on doing the next right thing. When things seemed overwhelming or unstable, she helped me to keep an open mind and an eagerness to move forward with a positive outlook. While we don’t always know what the future will look like, we can stay strong in our mission and do what we believe is right in each situation. I am so thankful to Faye for being an example of strong and kind leadership. Alinka Johnson [executive director, HR talent strategy and operations] and Sarah Escue [senior manager, HR strategic planning and operations] have also been a great inspiration to me. Through my three years of residency, they have continued to care for me as a person and help me grow. While I’m often impressed with their ability to lead HR strategy at an enterprise level, I’m also grateful for the amount of time they take to teach those around them. My greatest lesson in residency has been to lead with the goal of helping others be successful. Sarah and Alinka have provided clear examples of how to do this in every interaction.
2. Working alongside so many strong women has helped me gain confidence in my own leadership style. As a woman, I’ve often questioned if I need to modify my language and behavior to fit certain expectations. However, when you see women with diverse backgrounds and leadership styles in an organization, it demonstrates that we do not need to fit a mold in order to be successful.
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