"Build yourself, not your resume."
MHA Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Weil
Interview Conducted by Michelle Garrett
What was your childhood like?
I grew up out in the country on our family farm that my dad owned. I was a farm girl and a tomboy, and I was also a 10-year 4H member. From living on the family farm and being a part of 4H, I learned a lot of life lessons. I learned time management and I also learned the importance of being able to take care of the livestock. Along with growing up on the farm I was involved in many sports, in which I was a team captain. From a young age I was able to be molded as a child from not only 4H or sports, but from having a close knit family - which I still value.
What lessons did you learn in college?
For me, I always had a drive and I have always been very competitive. When I first started college I took 18 credit hours the first semester. From this, I learned that it’s okay to take a step back and evaluate a situation. A lesson that I had to take away from that first year of college was that there are times that you truly do have to take a step back and look at what the situation is and really dig into your heart and figure out what you are trying to accomplish. When I got into college it wasn’t just about getting the grade and moving on, it was about building myself up. I had to learn how to build myself and not my resume. I learned that it’s not what my family wants me to do or what society wants, it’s what I want to do and what I’m passionate about.
What was your first management role?
After I had been at Encompass Health for four years, I then transferred into our physical therapy team lead role. Within this role, I still did part patient care half of my day and the other half of my day was doing administrative work. I did payroll, scheduling and performance appraisals for the physical therapy staff. In November 2018 I transitioned into the role that I am currently in now as the Business Development Director. Receiving my MHA degree assisted to open this door of opportunity within our company.
What was an early leadership lesson for you?
When you get into a leadership role, I think that it is important for people to know that it is okay to ask for guidance or help. It is important to utilize the knowledge of what someone else already has (and you don’t have) to carry everything on your shoulders. You have high expectations, but it is okay to ask for guidance so you can understand how you can be better in your role. I learned quickly that it is important to embrace your team and to get to know them so you can leverage their strengths. I also learned the lesson that it is very important to make time for yourself.
How do you overcome difficult situations?
I think that it is important to really be able to understand what the situation is. Taking a step back, understanding what is difficult and diving into it and better understanding it so I can to come to a solution. Relationships and communication are very important. I think that many difficult situations occur in this day and age because of the lack of communication.
It can be hard sometimes to communicate with people through technology because it can be hard to know what they are really trying to communicate back. With this, it is important to understand the situation. Once you understand the situation you can then have very clear communication. Clear communication will allow you to be able to get to a solution and to overcome whatever that solution may be in a fair and professional manner.
Who was your greatest influence throughout your schooling and or your career and why?
I was very close with my parents and grandparents. I still contribute so much of my upbringing to them. My parents were a huge influence and they always encouraged me. They were my cheerleaders. Growing up my dad always said “do good” before a big test or sporting event. This is a phrase that I will always keep with me.
Throughout my transition from high school to college I would always go back to my parents for advice and they were always that guiding force throughout my schooling and they supported me no matter the situation.
When I decided to go back to school for my MHA they were still very supportive and proud. My grandparents were also always an influence to me since I spent so much time with them growing up. I lived very close to my grandparents and they opened up my eyes to healthcare. My parents and grandparents instilled many values within me that I still use to this day.
What advice would you give to current college students?
Relationships matter. Whenever you are in college it is really about building yourself up. When you come to interview, how you interact and speak to someone is much more valuable than a piece of paper. “Build yourself, not your resume.” Get out, be involved and interact. Relationships that you make in college will impact you, especially in a small community. Those relationships are going to stick with you and you never know who you might run back into down the road.
It is important for college students to find what their strengths are, embrace them, run with them and then build passion off of that. When you have passion and you enjoy what you are doing every day it makes a difference. Follow your dreams and don’t give up on them just because things get hard. You will be glad that you pushed through.
How do you hire?
I believe that it is important to call every interview candidate before I conduct a face to face interview. I read the resume in its entirety and I know everything about the candidates before they come in. Communication with the candidates is very important. I dedicate a good amount of time per interview, because I want to hire the right fit.
When I conduct interviews I’m not necessarily asking tons of questions but having an open conversation. I do this to really understand the other person and their communication style and how they are going to fit into our team. Sometimes I utilize team interviews, because I have always thought that it is really important to get perspective of other individuals. I don’t always do a team interview, but I think team interviews are a good way for the candidates to meet multiple people from the department. I don’t want to hire someone just to hire someone. I want to hire someone who will be an asset to our team.