The doors to The Hutton House’s courtyard were open wide on a warm May afternoon as the nearly 200 attendees of the second Women in Health Leadership event checked in and began to meet their peers from across healthcare. The sold-out event brought women from all stages of their careers together to hear about new opportunities and to learn from Dr. Genevieve Melton-Meaux, who is both Chief Data and Informatics Officer at Fairview Health and a celebrated colorectal surgeon.
“I wanted to give you a recipe,” Dr. Melton-Meaux began. “But it turns out, the ingredients aren’t always set. So, I will give you something that is directionally correct.” By pulling from her own experience rising through traditionally male-dominated fields, first in computer science and IT and then in surgical medicine, that’s exactly what Dr. Melton-Meaux did.
Attendees took home insights and encouragement from Dr. Melton-Meaux, distilled down into four key action steps to not only improve their careers, but also to make them more resilient in the face of life’s inevitable disruptions:
- Plan, but be open
- Build a support structure
- Grow and learn yourself, grow others, and in turn, grow with others
- Care for yourself
Interwoven through all four steps were two broader themes: the need to be deliberate and the need to be your own best advocate.
Whether she was talking about how critical self-care is to the development of resilience or advising attendees to take a clear-eyed look at whether their current career path was satisfying to them, Dr. Melton-Meaux consistently emphasized the need to be deliberately introspective. Because by asking yourself hard questions, making changes if you don’t like the answers you produce, being planful, and checking in with yourself regularly, you can adapt to changes as necessary while still staying on the course you have set.
Much of the question and answer period after Dr. Melton-Meaux’s talk was spent addressing her second theme: How to be a successful advocate for yourself. This, too, required introspection, she said, because the clearer you are on what you can do and what you need to move forward in your career, the more effectively you can make your case. She also recommended finding good mentors and raising up a community around yourself to provide the support sometimes necessary to rise.
Dr. Melton-Meaux closed with this advice: “Build yourself and build your resiliency. Life will bring you all sorts of things and, if you haven’t taken care of yourself, it’s going to be hard.”
We are proud to have women of distinction like Dr. Melton-Meaux in our community and grateful to her for sharing the hard-won lessons from her career with not only her peers, but also the next generation of Medical Alley women leaders!
Thank you to our sponsors, Fredrikson & Byron, Deloitte, Fang Consulting, Preferred One, and the University of St. Thomas for their support. The next MAA event is “Leading the Conversation: Where are the ‘New and Improved’ outcomes in Health?” We hope to see you all there!