By Heather Seftel-Kirk, FedHealthIT Contributing Author

Earlier this year, FedHealthIT announced its Top 100. Nominated and chosen by peers, these individuals have been recognized for driving change and advancement, for their willingness to challenge conventional wisdom, and for giving back to the larger Federal Health IT and Consulting community.

This week, we spoke with Andrea Wright, Health IT Account Manager with AMERICAN SYSTEMS about the importance of maintaining a pulse on the industry, outside of the scope of day to day business.

Wright is a former member of the leadership committee for the ACT IAC Acquisition Management Special Interest Group (SIG), member of the Junior League of Northern Virginia, and Chair of the WashingtonExec Millennial Leadership Development Council.

Taking advice

You have nothing to lose by taking someone’s advice and sometimes it’s all about trying different things to figure out what fits, or what doesn’t.
Wright says her early career involved working for a small business that worked in many different areas. When she made the decision that she was more interested in specializing, and decided her focus would be healthcare, she got involved with a variety of groups and organizations as a way to better understand the healthcare space, its challenges, and opportunities. She was also interested in finding connections that aligned with her own interests.

She says anytime anyone advised her to try something, she would. “It’s one thing to say you want to know something or do something but it’s another to actually do it. You have nothing to lose by taking someone’s advice and sometimes it’s all about trying different things to figure out what fits, or what doesn’t.”

The Millennial Challenge

Wright says she has always been eager to learn. Despite this, as much preparation and research as she did before attending events or conferences, there was often a gap in the early days between what she understood and what was being presented. One of the reasons behind her current role with WashingtonExec, and her push to create it, was her understanding that it was important not to take for granted that younger generations understand all they need to in order to benefit from many of these industry events.

“There is so much history in military health, so much that those who have been involved for a while know and assume others know. You have to know where you have been to know where you are going. This is both the challenge and opportunity in working with millennials.”

Maintaining a pulse on the industry

While Wright is certainly tuned into the industry, she is also aware this is something she will need to maintain for the long term. “It is important first of all to maintain a network of trust. Quite simply, people like to team up with people they know and like. That means meeting people and working with people outside the role of ‘getting the contract.’”

Beyond that though, she says no matter your level of experience and no matter the amount of history within an industry, maintaining a pulse on changes, new developments, and new challenges is critical to really being engaged in the space. Whether you are new to the industry or have been working in healthcare for decades, she says you cannot be truly engaged unless you are actively involved.

She says while juggling multiple roles can be challenging, people should understand that there are ebbs and flows in everything; times in which one role ramps up and another slows down. This means managing time and finding balance between work, life, and volunteering, can be easier than many imagine. “It helps as well that American Systems is a strong advocate for industry involvement. That buy-in changes things because I know I have the support of the company in all that I do.”





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