Laramie Reproductive Health
What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?
Born and raised in Wyoming makes you appreciate the state for what it is and what it has to offer, a big part of that is the people that live here. My biggest accomplishment is finding and accelerating in a career that allows me to give back to those people, in doing so helping to make Wyoming a great place to live. Healthcare has always been my passion, it is a great feeling knowing the work I do breaks down the barriers to accessing healthcare and providing the people of Laramie/Wyoming with a service we all desperately need.
What is your primary personal development goal/business goal for the next 5 years?
In the U.S. healthcare has been and will continue to be a major issue, access and affordability being key. Knowing the cost to even receive some of the most basic levels of healthcare, as well as the cost to get insurance not only in the U.S. but Wyoming specifically is a major concern. It affects all generations, parents and their children falling in the gap of not being able to be on Medicaid or getting help with insurance premiums leaves them vulnerable. People who have worked their whole life planning to retire have to consider how they will continue to have insurance post retirement until they become Medicare eligible due to extremely high premium costs. Employers struggle to find and maintain quality employees, as they cannot afford to offer insurance as a benefit. Working in healthcare you daily see the struggles this causes individuals and families. My love for Laramie/Wyoming and my passion for healthcare combine my personal and business goals. I want to work towards eliminating the daily struggles many have by providing a greater access to affordable healthcare for both insured and noninsured patients. Reaching beyond the basic levels of care and into the more invasive and continuing case management concerns that drive up health care costs. I do not believe the answer is cutting costs or reducing compensation to any of those working within the healthcare field, we have all worked hard to get to the positions we are in. I believe there is a balance that can be created within the systems and providers of healthcare to benefit all providers/organizations while also providing greater access and affordability. I prove this to be possible in my current role as the Executive Director of a non-profit health clinic within Laramie. It is my goal to continue to grow and break down the barriers that healthcare creates to ensure the people of Wyoming are given a chance to continue to enjoy life to the fullest.
What is your biggest philanthropic achievement?
Working for a non-profit, I would have to say my biggest philanthropic event would be that of my job. Yes, we put on fundraisers to raise money for the clinic and to help the people of Laramie. However, for me, it goes far beyond those events to ensure the success of our clinic. For the past few years we have experienced extreme uncertainty in our federal funding dollars. What used to be a three-year grant has become at times only guaranteed for three months at a time. Over the last two years we have had to re-create who we are in a way to ensure that if we do receive notice of our federal grant being defunded we can continue to serve the people of Laramie. I am proud to say we have accomplished this to a point that if defunded our service to the community would remain consistent. While we continue to rely on our federal funds for support, and the outlook of those funds continuing is positive, we are in a position to continue to provide for the people of Laramie in the event that they are no longer available.
What action or event that you’ve been a part of do you believe has made the biggest difference in Laramie? Or, which action or event are you most proud of?
My position as Executive Director of a non-profit clinic in Laramie is much more than just that. I not only work with my staff to ensure we are providing access to high quality healthcare, but the non-profit safety nets of Laramie work together to ensure we are doing everything within our power to provide services that are not currently available. It is an incredible experience to get to experience and learn from others within the community looking to make a difference. I believe all of us working together to improve and increase access to needed services make the biggest difference within Laramie.
What excites you most about the future of Laramie?
Living in Laramie going on eight years I have gotten a chance to really get immersed into the community. There are so many organizations within Laramie that are looking to improve upon the town and make a better quality of life for our residents. This goes far beyond the larger organizations that donate time and money to provide opportunities in Laramie, although greatly appreciated. There is an abundance of small organizations looking to get people involved, looking to help the people of Laramie find a passion, to find friends, whatever it is you are looking for the chances are someone within the community will be willing to help you get involved or to take action into creating a new opportunity. What excites me about Laramie is the people, we are a small community but we are a community that cares about one another, and has a passion for living a high quality of life that extends beyond wanting it for oneself, but to extend that to others as well. Having the University here allows many from around Wyoming and surrounding states an opportunity to experience this and many make the choice to stay, and or take what they have learned from this community to the place they decide to call home. The people of Laramie make our community what it is, and those same people will be the ones to continue to make Laramie a great place to live.
What do you think has helped make you successful in your endeavors?
The success I have experienced so far in life is due to three things, hard work, dedication, and being able to persevere and look towards the future and not just the current. My workweek is Monday through Friday 40hr/week, however having goals and ambitions to make a difference requires work beyond what’s required. When your career becomes your passion it’s as though your office is extended everywhere, always looking for ways to improve, others to learn from, seeking out new opportunities and putting in the time necessary to make it all possible. To achieve the goals I have set for myself and the organization I am involved with requires hard work and dedication to make it possible. I have inherited these qualities from my parents and it is because of this I have been successful at such a young age. I have always considered myself as a forward thinker, in that I not only look at how my actions and decisions will impact today, but also a month, a year, many years from now. Ensuring that what I do will not only work today but for years to come. We all know in life there are setbacks, but being able to persevere and turn those situations into life lessons and make tomorrow better is a huge part of what has gotten me to where I am today. My current position requires this daily. I do not dwell on what has happened rather look to what I can do to make tomorrow better.
What advice would you give to other young professionals in Laramie?
Being a recent college grad I feel I have a good idea of what most college students are feeling as they first make the transition from High School to College and throughout each year pursuing their degree. My biggest piece of advice is to be open to new challenges and opportunities. Many of you will feel as though you have to have it all figured out before you enroll in that first semester, through self-pressure, pressure from those around you, or from society in general. It’s great to have a plan and a sense of direction, however never be afraid to pursue something simply because it does not follow the plan. It’s also alright to not have a direct plan, being open to all possibilities will allow you to pursue your education in a direction that is right for you, and it will reveal itself in time. I myself was one who had my major decided on before even graduating high school. I wanted to become a Physical Therapist. Entering my senior year of college I knew this was no longer what I wanted to do in life. Without any other plan I continued to pursue my degree in Kinesiology and performed an internship at the clinic in which I now run as the Executive Director. It was through that internship and taking on an opportunity that years before I would not have imagined myself doing, that I found a new passion within healthcare, being on the Administrative side to ensure access to healthcare is possible for all. Be open to new opportunities, and never stop learning from those around you. I have completed my Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration, yet I learn more from others in similar roles and even in general conversations from those whom you might not expect. Everyone has a story, everyone has different experiences, and really listening to what others have to say will only continue to make you more successful. Especially in a leadership role as those whom you are listening to are the same people you will most likely serve in the future. Being a leader does not mean you are the most knowledgeable person in the room, it means you know how to bring the best out in everyone around you and put it together to really make a difference.
Optional: If you have anything else you’d like to share along with the answers you've provided through this selection process feel free to add any additional statements.
It is an honor in itself to be nominated to be part of the Laramie’s 20 under 40 Class of 2018. As I had mentioned above, Laramie is full of organizations that work towards giving people opportunities to excel and enjoy life. I would just like to add that “Laramie Young Professionals” is the perfect example of this. Bringing together those of all ages that have a passion for the community and want to continue to improve Laramie is what will ensure a successful future. Being a part of this community for the last eight years, I have had the opportunity to meet several individuals that are well deserved of this recognition. I can imagine the process to narrow them all down to 20 will be difficult, best of luck. Thank you for the work you do for the community, and thank you for the opportunity.