5 health leaders share moments of allyship that changed them

Whether it's mentoring younger colleagues or dishing out life and career advice, having strong allies in the workplace has helped these healthcare leaders feel safe and supported at work, pushed them to improve their skills and reach the next level in their careers. 

To understand how allies can shape the career trajectories of healthcare leaders and to give inspiration to others who wish to serve as good allies, Becker's asked five leaders about their experiences with allyship at work and how it affected them for the better. 

Here are are their responses, in alphabetical order: 

Maxine Carrington. Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer of Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.). Someone who immediately comes to mind is my predecessor and one of our leaders at Northwell, Joseph Moscola, currently our executive vice president, enterprise services. Joe prioritizes equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging and is intentional about advocating for the inclusion and advancement of women and historically underrepresented people. Personally, he has sponsored me for career and stretch assignment opportunities and has been thoughtful in consistently soliciting my input, providing candid feedback, and ensuring that I am included in strategic conversations. 

John Charitable, MD. Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at NYU Langone Health's NYU Grossman School of Medicine (New York City). An ally that made a difference to me was a colleague that invited me to present at the diversity section of one of our surgical society’s annual meetings. I was able to use that platform to both share my own story as well as discuss the LGBTQIA issues of underrepresentation and discrimination in surgery. Having the opportunity to discuss these issues in a public forum from my own personal perspective was an incredible way to increase the visibility of our community in a way that, to my knowledge, hadn't been done before.

Emily Chase, PhD, RN. Senior Vice President and CNO of University of Chicago Medicine. As I was growing in my leadership roles, I had a mentor, a senior female leader at the organization, who put my name forward for development opportunities that I would not have known about otherwise. She asked me to lead on a large organizational initiative, which gave me visibility with other senior leaders at the organization. She would frequently check-in with me to see how she could continue to support my career growth.

Amy Compton-Phillips, MD. President of Clinical Care at Providence (Renton, Wash.). I've been blessed with truly kind, smart, wise and committed colleagues, friends, mentors and allies across my career – they have been the lights that have guided my path. One example that may sound small in the telling but was incredibly helpful and grounding for me in the moment was a time I had to decline an opportunity. I was in a regional role, and got tapped on the shoulder to consider a national one, requiring a move across the country. My husband had just gotten a big promotion, we had just gutted our kitchen in phase one of a remodel, and our son was six months into middle school. The timing felt wrong for my family, but for my career it felt like I was passing up the brass ring. My ally's advice? 'Your family comes first, Amy. And don’t worry. Once they know your name, they’ll be back.' It was great advice. Life is about the journey, not a career sprint. The wisdom of colleagues helped avoid trading the important for the urgent. Now that is real support.

Deke Jones. Director of Media Relations at Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas). Culture matters in any organization, but more importantly the leaders tasked to execute the culture. Healthcare communications is complex and complicated, but my direct supervisor creates an environment where all thoughts and ideas matter. Very early in my career at Baylor Scott & White, I presented an idea to my leader and I wanted to pursue an opportunity that I believe would be of benefit to our team and the organization. Without hesitation, she said go for it and it turns out it has and continues to be one of my greatest professional accomplishments within the organization. Her words of encouragement and continued guidance contributes to the overall success of our department and the organization. Even now, I am in the midst of a new opportunity and while the journey has yet to be foreseen, the confidence and support my leader continuously provides me and others is all the fuel we need to continue forward.  

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