After only two years in Arizona, my husband and I are making the journey back east. But for COVID-19 and everything that came with it, we may have made this our forever home. But alas, with family being “a plane ride away” now more complicated than ever, we decided to move closer to home.
We’re so happy!
As we end this chapter, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my reason for being here. Nine years ago, while part of a rotational leadership development program (LDP), I had the chance to commute out to Phoenix monthly to work on integrating behavioral health benefits into a Medicaid plan. That experience and community left an impression on me and so I vowed to one day return in a full-time permanent capacity. I did, joining that very same Medicaid plan in February of 2019.
As I reflected on how great it was to fulfill that intention, I realized this experience was one of three intentions I set during my LDP experience. The other two were:
1. Work in my company’s Behavioral Health business unit. I fulfilled that intention upon completing my LDP. This role wasn’t a given. I actually had to approach the then Head of Behavioral Health and ask if she would consider bringing me back to her organization full-time. She did, creating a role for me to work on strategy, thought leadership and culture change. I went on to create an emotional wellbeing resource center for managers and colleagues to promote emotional health and well-being. I also had the opportunity to support partnerships with Give-An- Hour and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
2. Secure a role in our International business unit by 2018. During an immersion trip to London, I got my first taste of our International business and I was hooked. It was my first ever trip out of the U.S. and the possibility of one day working abroad intrigued me. As I networked with leaders in London, I set an intention of returning to that business unit in 2018. By that time my daughters would be off to college and I would have the freedom to travel abroad. I exceeded my 2018 date, joining International in May of 2017. Four weeks later, I was in our London office where I learned I would be leading the development of a new program in Dubai. A few weeks after that, I was stepping off of a plane in the U.A.E. I would round out my experience with program management in Thailand.
All three experiences, while varied in business unit, impact and scope all had something in common. They were things I chose for myself. They were vehicles through which I intentionally grew.
I am so grateful for those leaders who took a chance on me. But more importantly, I am so glad I took a chance on myself.
Don’t grow without purpose. Set intentions. Position yourself to fulfill them. Choose your experiences don’t let experiences choose you.