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 Laura Bennett, Director, Healthcare Solutions with Ventech Solutions about relationship building, volunteerism, and finding the right fit to meet your particular business goals.

Bennett has been involved with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society National Capital Area (HIMSS NCA) chapter for almost seven years and was just named association President. Through her business development position at Ventech within the Federal Healthcare Marketplace and in her new position as HIMSS NCA President, Bennett will continue to build and evolve her network of industry partners and government contacts.

It’s all about the team

Throughout her career, Bennett has focused on making connections with partners in order to develop the right solutions to meet her customers’ needs. “More than ever, “she says, “finding solutions today is not about going after a project or trying to solve a problem on your own, but rather, focusing and collaborating with the right team.”

Networking events and trade associations are great places to begin building connections and relationships.
Through her extensive network, she is able to leverage and build a team, and diligently works to maintain those contacts.  Key to her long lasting relationships is that she always open to a new conversation.

Networking solutions

Bennett says networking events and trade associations are great places to begin building connections and relationships. “Attending or volunteering at events every month builds trusted connections and demonstrates loyalty and support.”

She says volunteering fosters more meaningful relationships because as friendships develop, you and others become more engaged, involved, and passionate about the mission and function of the association as a team.

Her own involvement with HIMSS began as a volunteer on the programs committee and evolved to her newest role at the pinnacle of the association. “For me involvement is all about learning, about the industry, the association, and yourself. For instance, I discovered that I have a great radio voice.”

Finding a fit

Bennett came to HIMSS at the recommendation of a friend but previously was involved with other organizations. “Finding the right fit, and understanding that your needs may change over time, is important. Key to your success and the satisfaction you get from what you are doing is looking at your job demands and volunteer work, such as associations, that fit within your available time. Different associations are suited to different end goals – your level of involvement may continue, increase or decrease dependent on time availability and/or your interest in the activities of the association.”

Following her own path of growing involvement, Bennett recommends being involved with an organization for at least a year before committing to a board position to ensure you are comfortable in your knowledge of the organization and what is involved. That year is also an opportunity to build rapport and trust with current volunteers and board members.

For those who do not have the time to volunteer, she says attending meetings, showing up to participate, is also valuable. “It’s a great support to organizations when people show up, when they attend events and sponsor events, because this is the money that goes into education to support the industry, and into the charity initiatives that give back.

With just a year ahead in her new role as President of HIMSS, Bennett hopes to lead the chapter with grace and to continue the thread of organizational excellence that has developed over time. “I want to ensure there is a sustainable plan in place, for the association’s growth and path to excellence to continue after I have moved on.”





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