Tell us about your responsibilities.
I have two functional teams that report to me, the strategic planning team, and the sustainability team. The strategic planning team assists clients with capital planning; anything that's going to result in a capital project flows through that team. It’s our job to have visibility into what they’re anticipating in terms of capital expenditures, and then I work with our Planning Design & Construction (PDC) team to line up resources that will be needed when the projects are approved and move to our PDC team to execute.
I also have responsibility for the sustainability team which has really been growing. We are currently partnering with a client, helping them to achieve their sustainability goal commitments. For instance, the United Nations has challenged organizations to achieve net zero carbon by 2040, a pledge called Race to Zero. Our client is also working with the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on health equity goals. The idea is that each hospital system is an important member of the community it serves, sometimes with an environmental impact that decreases the quality of life for everyone in that community. We are advocating for health systems to improve the overall health of their community through environmental sustainability measures.
A great deal of my time is spent coordinating and understanding the activities our teams are involved in and partnering with other departments within Medxcel as well as our client organizations. We strive to ensure that we are aligned to deliver work in a way that is thoughtful and comprehensive, and that doesn’t create unintended challenges for others.
Describe the path you took to arrive in your current role.
I have an MBA with a focus on strategy and management, but I never dreamed I’d be working in sustainability. I started my career in the utility industry where I had some exposure to energy efficiency as part of my work. When I moved into healthcare, I noticed that there was a significant underinvestment in areas of energy efficiency and sustainability, and it became a growth opportunity. It’s been a really interesting journey over the years and it’s constantly evolving.
How has Medxcel supported you in advancing your career and knowledge base and how do you help those on your team reach their goals?
Throughout my career, I have had leaders who encouraged my passion for sustainability, even when it wasn’t always directly aligned with the work I was formally tasked with. Along the way I’ve had support to take the next steps in my career through formal training and on-the-job learning experiences. I’m very thankful for that and it’s really defined my career. I try to take those learnings and provide those same kinds of experiences for my team. I remind myself that letting someone pitch a new idea or develop a business case that’s a little bit outside the norm is an incredible opportunity. It’s one of the great things about our culture at Medxcel.
What types of training and development does Medxcel offer to you and your team?
Medxcel offers a lot of opportunities for training and development, including access to Medxcel University. One of the exciting things about sustainability is that it’s a fast-growing area, so there are always new technologies to learn about and new things to explore. We really try to understand what each of our associates is interested in and then we help them pursue that through education, books, online training programs, and conferences. We leverage a wide range of resources that Medxcel offers to help our associates move along their career path and achieve their long-term goals.
Are you involved in any industry and trade organizations?
On the sustainability side, I’m a member of several industry and trade organizations and I’ve had the privilege of participating in programs for the US Department of Energy. I’m currently involved with a National Academy of Medicine sustainability program and I’m a member of the steering committee for Health Care Without Harm’s climate council. On the capital planning side, I sit on a review board for the Facility Guideline Institute. That group writes the facility guidelines for healthcare construction used in most states. I’m currently on the outpatient guidelines committee because the healthcare industry is moving more care to the outpatient environment to try and control costs and to make it more convenient for patients to access care. Mirroring the inpatient standards in an outpatient setting is very expensive and what we’re finding is that many of the standards required to keep patients safe in the hospital are not necessary in an outpatient setting. Putting thought around what is necessary to keep patients safe in the outpatient environment results in savings for everyone and it’s giving Medxcel a voice in the discussion and positioning us as an industry leader.
How do Medxcel and our customers benefit from your industry involvement?
These organizations provide me with ways to see things in a different light, to see what some of this work looks like outside of the environment we’re currently engaged in, and it helps expand my thinking. I love it when we are able to collaborate with other organizations who are doing sustainability work outside of healthcare, because often they are pursuing things in a different way than we are, and it helps to get new ideas flowing, challenging the status quo, and pushing the envelope to see what we can do differently or better than we have in the past. Medxcel supports this work which has been great for me personally, and it provides additional expertise to Medxcel, as we gain credentials and knowledge that also benefit our customers.
How would you describe the culture at Medxcel?
The best way to describe the culture at Medxcel is that we have a positive, can-do work environment. We attract a wide variety of individuals with different talents, and we work together to solve complex interconnected challenges every day. The most meaningful part of our culture is that we are surrounded by people who care about their work and care about one another. I think that people are a true differentiator within Medxcel and really define our inclusive culture.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is when I get to report out on our accomplishments. I tend to get pretty wrapped up in day-to-day activities, but when I pause and take a moment to gather information from our teams on all the things we’re doing across a wide variety of projects, and then I digest that and report it out, it’s really impressive. When we start talking about the millions of carbon dioxide equivalents that have been avoided or the tons of trash that we haven’t sent to a landfill, it’s eye-opening. When we start to add up our wins and think about what that means at scale, it’s incredible. At the end of the day I sit down and think, ‘Wow, we’re really doing some pretty amazing things here and we’re making a real impact on the world.’ I feel like sometimes we lose perspective of what we’re accomplishing when we’re engaged in the day-to-day shuffle of our project work. It’s always those moments when I look at the overall picture of what our team is accomplishing that help me reset and make me so proud to be part of this organization.
I think creativity and wisdom are the Core Values that impact our work the most. Wisdom because we hire experts in a variety of areas and bring that collective wisdom to address complex issues. And creativity because that’s really the starting point for where the planning and sustainability teams shine. We do some of our best work when we layer creativity on top of that wisdom, and we bring something new to the work and develop an entirely new approach. It’s not enough for us to just know about planning or sustainability, we need to have the ability to innovate, to develop new ways to achieve goals.
Which of Medxcel’s Core Values speaks to you the most?
I am constantly amazed by the complexity and interconnectedness within the healthcare environment. As healthcare planning and sustainability experts, we pull in ideas from other industries and then when we go to implement them within the healthcare environment, we’re constantly reminded of just how important the work is that happens in the hospital every day, and how thoughtful we need to be about potential implications impacting patients. I’m proud of the way our team tackles that every single day. We must always be mindful that our work impacts not only the hospitals we serve, but the larger community as well. A lot of resources are consumed in delivering healthcare and so from a sustainability standpoint we have a huge impact on the community. We’re learning more and more every day about the social determinants of health, and that means it’s not just about receiving care when you’re sick, but also understanding that the environment in the communities we live in impacts every single person who is a part of that community.
Is there anything you’ve learned in your role that you didn’t expect?