HerStory™ featuring Tiffany Lahr, Regional Business Manager supporting Southeast Michigan and Sioux City shares her story about how to make it in the clinical world and encourages everyone to take every opportunity available to them, even if it seems small or insignificant it will always teach you something.
My greatest career accomplishment has been. . .
Being a career changer.
It sounds counterintuitive but it’s why I am where I am today.
I started off and got my degree in fine arts. Once I had my kids, I realized I needed something more to support them. I went back to school to get my masters degree in health care administration. At the time, it was difficult to be in healthcare without a clinical license. But I just knew, if I could get my foot in the door, I could prove myself. Once I got my foot in the door through an internship opportunity, I never applied for a single job. I was always referred to a position. I went from a Coordinator to a Regional Business Manager in a matter of 5 years.
My greatest career hurdle has been . . .
Being a health care professional that is so close to direct patient care but not being a clinician.
On my leadership team, I am 1 of 2 people without a clinical license. I’ve worked under some Executive Directors that believe my role as the Regional Business Manager should be a person who has clinical and direct patient care experience. I find sometimes it may be a challenge for me to advance in my career as a businesswoman in health care so close to the direct patient sector. Thinking back on the path that led me here, I remember leaving Arbor Hospice, a job that I loved for a job that I wanted to leave and never go back to. Being there, I thought that I wasted so much time. But, when I interviewed for the position I have now, I realized how much I did learn at that organization. If I had gone back to Arbor like I wanted to…I’d probably still be a coordinator to this day! But God’s way had other plans.
I am most passionate about . . .
A challenge and a win.
In my role, I am metrics driven, and that’s how I define my accomplishments. Metrics are what they are, black and white. You move them each month, or you don’t. We went from 70% to 97% timeliness of care under my leadership and that motivates me even more to improve other metrics.
I am also passionate about the human component of my job. I am in an industry that helps people and I’ve come to realize we all play a part in helping the patient, even if it’s not directly. But, more than that, I love to develop the skills of my colleagues. We have so many amazing, intelligent, motivated people that may never move into leadership roles because they were never given the opportunity. I like to give them those opportunities, to enhance the skills I know they have, and help them develop the skills they want to have. Being in a career that has different buckets of opportunity and wins makes it a passion.
I believe the greatest opportunity for future generations of women leaders is . . .
Take every opportunity even if it seems small or insignificant.
Don’t look at this as more work, or like your leader/colleagues are dumping more work on you. Look at it as an opportunity to learn, ask questions and figure it out! Everything you do day to day is an opportunity to put on your resume and build relationships with leadership and peers. Recognize that you are selling yourself every day and live with integrity in the things you do and say. When you try to understand the role of everyone from the Administrator to the Executive Director, you then get a big picture idea about why you do what you do and the importance it carries for the organization.
The mentor who has the greatest impact on my career has been . . .
She was my ED for a few years. She so interesting because she had a RN degree and an MBA but she would say that she was a businesswoman. She enjoyed the business side of her role, and she was good at it. When she came on board, she could look at the metrics / reports for the month and know how to tweak something to make money. She was hired in August and by November, we were making money. She was a very busy woman but would always make time for someone who wanted to learn. She saw the value in investing in people. She made a huge difference and was pivotal in my career. It reminds me of a child having a good teacher. That child wants to do a good job because they have a good teacher. That’s how I felt towards Brandy. She was an amazing ED and I preformed and did what I needed to do to move the metrics and budget in a way that was good for the organization. She was a huge factor in my career advancement and was an advocate for me from the beginning. I did the work, but she recognized it and make sure others did too.
When I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed at work, my go to, to get to a healthier place is . .
I work out 6 days a week for both my physical and mental health. Staying fit is so important to me because I feel good about myself and in turn, I am a better employee/mom/wife/friend.
The greatest piece of advice I have to give women is…
There is nothing you cannot do.
Realize that there is a reason for everything.
Good things and bad things happen, and they are equally important.
All experience is good experience and the biggest growth years are often the most challenging.
Do the right thing when no one is looking.
Gauge your environment and don’t give value to something that isn’t warranted.
Develop self-confidence and self-awareness.
Most importantly, pay it forward. Allow someone to sit with you and ask questions about your role, give more responsibility to someone who you see is hungry for it, help someone develop skills that could impact their career. With age, comes perspective. The longer you live, the more you realize that everything will work out.