Advancing Women in Health Care Professions

The Women's Health Leadership TRUST was founded with a commitment to advancing women in health care professions, influencing policy and contributing to health care in our communities. The organization recognized and celebrated influential women in during their 2015 Forum last month. Danielle St. Mane, MS, OTR/L attended with the Opus College of Business and shared these thoughts on the event.

As a young professional recently accepted for admission into UST’s Health Care MBA, I was honored to be invited to attend the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST forum as a guest of the program. The forum was comprised of a networking hour, followed by a keynote speech from a significantly accomplished and well-experienced businesswoman, and concluded with awards.

I must first say that as a young woman fairly new to the health care profession, it was somewhat intimidating walking into a networking hour with several hundreds of women already successful in this field. While attempting to exude some confidence, I began interacting with women who I realized are going to be my peers as I transition into the business side of health care.

As an occupational therapist, I am frequently interacting with physicians, nurses, social workers, and other therapists, but rarely am I interacting with the business professionals that are responsible for running the hospital. It was an eye-opening experience to hear from other women how effective they are in managing teams, making change for patient care, and creating the very hospital programs I am currently a part of on the clinical side. As I made my way through the remainder of the networking hour, I found myself making contacts with women I would have only aspired to meet had I not had the opportunity to attend the forum.

As I made my way to my assigned table, I found myself sitting with others who will be joining me in the fall, in addition to a few prospective students. While sitting at this table, I was able to touch base with the director of the program, as well as the dean of the Opus College of Business. It was empowering to be surrounded by women who have accomplished so much and also have the same goals as I do to further ourselves in the health care profession.

I was able to hear one of the most inspiring speeches that was flooded with tips on how to be a successful business woman in today’s ever-changing society, presented by Cynthia Lesher. Cynthia gave expert advice through a rather comical delivery on how to demand success within your field while staying humble and loyal to those that help you succeed. She stated that while you may not always be the most popular person within your field, you can still command respect by presenting yourself as a confident yet accepting woman. The invaluable information that I received during this speech is sure to carry on through the time it takes me to earn my MBA, and I also have no doubt that Cynthia’s words will be ringing true for several years to come. I cannot thank UST enough for introducing me to a powerful group of women that comprise the TRUST, and I look forward to the coming ventures as I join my cohorts this fall.