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Strong, Determined Women are a Powerful Force

Posted By Monica Engel, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Wednesday, October 9, 2019

At the 2019 Emmy Awards a few weeks back, there was a powerful moment when award-winning actress Alex Borstein dedicated her win to the strength of women and told the story of her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor.

“My grandmother turned to a guard. She was in line to be shot into a pit and she said, ‘What happens if I step out of line,’ and he said, ‘I don’t have the heart to shoot you, but somebody will,’ and she stepped out of line, and for that I am here, and my children are here, so step out of line, ladies. Step out of line.”

There was incredible strength in that story. Her grandmother knew the answer to the question, ‘What happens if I stay in line?’ The question of ‘What happens if I step out of line’ brought apprehension, but it also brought hope. Her determination brought the opportunity to forge a new path, whatever the consequences.

Stepping out of line
At some point in our lives, we find ourselves on a line we don’t want to be on, though the stakes are rarely as high as they were in Alex’s story. Maybe we chased the unfulfilled dreams of family members rather than our own. Perhaps we followed in the footsteps of friends because it was a comfortable path. Or we lost our way and are unsure how to return to the road we were originally on.

Stepping out of line can be frightening; however, so is staying in a line that aims to defeat you instead of elevate you. Are you taking advantage of opportunities to step out of line, either collectively with other women or singularly? What will happen if you step out of line? What happens if you don’t?

You're not alone
It’s important to know you’re not alone. If you’re a member of the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST, you know you’re a member of a strong group of women creating opportunities to enhance and advance each other. The TRUST and other groups like us are determined to elevate other women throughout their leadership journeys and to help women step out of line to confidently forge their new paths. We believe passionately in this mission and are joining with TeamWomen and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women’s Leadership Council to share our commitment to embolden women as influential forces for change and for each other. We hope you will join us October 29 at the TRUST Annual Meeting for this engaging discussion.

There is strength in numbers and determined women are a powerful force. Imagine what we can accomplish if we all step out of line and challenge the status quo.

Monica Engel currently serves as TRUST President, Senior Vice President and President of Government Markets at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and board member for MN Council of Health Plans. Engel holds a degree in business management and has completed the Minnesota Management Institute program from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. She is a 2019 Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business Honoree and in 2017 received the “Women of Excellence” award from the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Tags:  Alex Borstein  step out of line  TRUST Annual Meeting  Women's Health Leadership TRUST 

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Seasons of Reflection

Posted By Monica Engel, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Wednesday, September 11, 2019

There’s something about the transition from season to season that invites reflection. Is it because we can see, hear, feel, smell and taste the changes around us? The calendar shifted to September, and seemingly overnight, the days are crisper, the leaves have more hues and pumpkin spice lattes are once again the order at the coffee shop.

The natural flow of seasons
There is a natural flow of the seasons as they tell the story of the year. Summer’s chapter focuses a great deal on warmth and abundance, which invites reflections of gratitude. Fall’s chapter is mellower as life slows in anticipation of winter’s quiet. I find fall’s reflections to be grounding as we plan ahead for the next year.

Just as September brings the end of summer and the start of fall, I find myself giving thanks for the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST and how it has inspired me for many years, and I envision the TRUST’s future.

Reflections of gratitude
So many members of the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST have reflected on their gratitude for the organization and its members during its 40 years. I read back through a few of the TRUST’s Member Spotlights and wanted to highlight some of their reflections:

  • My intention is to gain self-confidence and develop as a leader through the role models in the TRUST.
  • I have been so grateful for the openness of others to offer their counsel and camaraderie.
  • I’d never have had the life and career I have had if it weren’t for a number of amazing people along the way who gave me the confidence and often courage to forge my own path.
  • Many organizations want you to volunteer — the TRUST wants you to engage by sharing your time, talent and treasures.
  • I look forward to learning from other women leaders in health care who are passionate about making a difference in the health and lives of patients.

I personally find a great deal of value in shared expressions like these as a way to learn more about my fellow TRUST members and as a means of measuring the TRUST’s impact. I also appreciate personal reflection, the kind that isn’t necessarily shared, but is deep, special and markedly meaningful. The TRUST’s Your Journey to Well-Being Retreat in October promises ample time for personal contemplation, which fits well with all seasons of reflection.

Looking ahead
And for others like me who are also looking ahead, I hope to see you at the TRUST’s Annual Meeting on October 29 as we take a look at the organization’s plans for 2020, revisit what we accomplished in 2019 and hear from an outstanding panel of women leaders. May you see your world with fresh eyes during this season’s reflections and find growth personally and professionally.

Monica Engel currently serves as TRUST President, Senior Vice President and President of Government Markets at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and board member for MN Council of Health Plans. Engel holds a degree in business management and has completed the Minnesota Management Institute program from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. She is a 2019 Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business Honoree and in 2017 received the “Women of Excellence” award from the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Tags:  reflections of gratitude  TRUST Annual Meeting  TRUST Well-being Retreat Event  Women's Health Leadership TRUST 

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How Are You Spending Your Choices?

Posted By Connie Delaney, U of M School of Nursing, Tuesday, September 4, 2018

There are many quotes about the passage of time; how it goes by, how it passes, how it flies, how it is a measure of life. Time, a human convention to help us place order and prioritize, does indeed go by each and every day. The one constant through each minute, hour, month and year is we all have a choice in being intentional in how we use our time.

As I reflect on this past year as President of the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST, I’m grateful for choices we have made and our shared time with bold, like-minded women committed to creating a transformative impact in health care and lifting up the collaborative force of dynamic women aligned to share insights, trusted expert knowledge, and wisdom to lead within the industry.

The TRUST has made great strides in supporting women leaders in health care. Our recognition by Modern Healthcare earlier this summer as an organization boldly making a difference in the lives of people and health care organizations through visionary and empowered women leaders was an honorable moment showcasing our successes. We remain committed to the choices necessary to continue to open pathways for women in health care leadership and increasing opportunities for inclusivity and diversity.

As we start a new TRUST program year, I’m exceedingly grateful to fellow board members, volunteers and members — more than 500 women — who made thoughtful choices to devote their time, energy and strength to give life to the organization’s mission. I have all-embracing confidence that TRUST members will continue to use their voices and abilities to make bold impacts in the health care industry through collaboration, innovation and a courageous spirit with intentionality.

I look forward to continuing my service to the TRUST as Immediate Past President working alongside the deeply talented Monica Engel who will assume the role of TRUST President at the Annual Meeting on September 27. Be sure to register for this event. We will celebrate accomplishments, hear the direction of the TRUST in the coming year and welcome Cindy Kent who will share her inspiring stories of authenticity as the foundation for being fearless. Cindy sees fearlessness as the bold synchronicity at the intersection between authenticity, confidence and capabilities. Cindy is indeed an audacious, brave, fearless leader.

As I share my final TRUST blog, I invite you to remember that when we collectively lead with courage, strength and wise intentional choices we can build a better future for health care and the women committed to transformations in the industry.

Connie White Delaney currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Delaney holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Delaney’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.

Tags:  Cindy Kent  Monica Engel  TRUST Annual Meeting  Women's Health Leadership TRUST 

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The Definition of a Strong Woman

Posted By Theresa Pesch, RN, Hennepin Healthcare Foundation, Friday, September 1, 2017
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This is my last blog post as Women’s Health Leadership TRUST President and I can’t begin to tell you all how much I appreciated serving in this role for the past year. I’m especially thankful for the nearly 500 women in health care who make up our membership.

You are the strength of the TRUST. The TRUST exists for and because of strong women like you. Melinda Gates has frequently spoken about what makes a woman strong1:

“How does she grow into a strong woman? It begins with a step that sounds simple, but isn’t. She finds her voice. A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult. …
“It’s not easy to bring a new idea into existence. It’s not easy even to stand up and talk about why things need to change. I know that from my own experience as a young adolescent searching for my own voice. It’s a long and difficult process, and I think it’s fair to say that it’s never finished. At least I hope it’s never finished. I think a voice is always a work in progress.”

Thank you all for contributing to the success and strength of the TRUST. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as President and truly hope you have become stronger through your TRUST experience. I often hear from members who share how their involvement with the TRUST has positively impacted their lives whether through volunteer service, one of our professional advancement programs, Accelerate! Mentoring or someone met during a TRUST networking opportunity.

I hope you continue to use the TRUST to find or enhance your voice and strength. You will soon be in the very capable hands of Dr. Connie Delaney who will take over as TRUST President at the Annual Meeting on September 28 and I know Connie will carry on the enduring mission of the TRUST. I look forward to staying on the board as Immediate Past President and continuing to serve you all.

I’ve used this blog several times to talk about one’s True North — who you are based on your values. My final words of advice are to find your True North and authentic voice if you haven’t yet done so, and then stay true to it. You’ll find when you’re true to your internal compass of values and true to your voice it becomes much easier to be a strong, courageous leader.

1 GatesFoundation.org, Melinda Gates Powerful Voices Luncheon, October 16, 2003

Theresa currently serves as TRUST President, and President, Children’s Minnesota Foundation. Originally trained in nursing, Pesch has 25 years of health care administration experience and is a sought-after presenter for national philanthropy conferences. She was recognized as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business honoree in 2012.

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Tags:  authentic voice  strong women  TRUST Annual Meeting 

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Your Career Doesn't Take the Summer Off

Posted By Theresa Pesch, RN, Hennepin Healthcare Foundation, Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Remember when summer meant three months away from teachers and homework? As adults, our careers do not take the summer off. We need to continually nurture our careers through further education, which includes gaining experience, knowledge and skills. Summer is a great time to review your education strategy and identify any gaps you may have.

Here are a few ways the TRUST can assist with your ongoing education needs:

  • Professional and Personal Development – The TRUST offers many opportunities throughout the year for professional and personal development learning that will engage participants in the latest topics of importance to women leaders in health care. Make sure to review our Event Calendar regularly to map out upcoming programs of interest such as our Monthly Programs and Pinnacle Leader Dinners.
  • Accelerate! Mentoring – This annual mentoring program from the TRUST continues to grow and we’ll start accepting applications for the next calendar year in the fall, which makes summer an ideal time to consider this program. Mentor and mentee partner matches occur late in the fall, and the program begins in January.
  • TRUST Talks – Our TRUST Talks webinar series showcases the expertise of TRUST members and invited guests in fulfillment of the TRUST’s mission of promoting development of health care leaders. Recent TRUST Talks included Sarah Keenan, RN, RSN, Chief Clinical Officer and President at Bluestone Physician Services, sharing how to lead in a high-growth environment, and Laura Gandrud, MD, pediatric endocrinologist at Children's McNeely Pediatric Diabetes Center explaining the importance of core goals to help young patients and their families overcome barriers presented by diabetes. These are truly unique learning opportunities!
  • Annual Meeting – Save the date for the TRUST Annual Meeting on September 28. This is a wonderful time to network and receive wisdom from fellow women leaders in health care. In addition, we’ll take a look back at accomplishments of the past year and learn what is coming in the year ahead.
  • Social Media Sharing – We realize many of our members actively use social media to learn about new skills and stay on top of trends. As such, we routinely share relevant content from reputable news sites on the TRUST LinkedIn “company” page, LinkedIn group page, Facebook @TheWHLTrust and Twitter @WHLTrust accounts. Be sure to follow us and stay connected for additional opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills.

We believe strongly in our role to help members continue to learn through a variety of programs and initiatives. In fact, sharing insights, expertise and trusted knowledge is part of the TRUST Vision. This summer, remember to prepare for your ongoing education needs in addition to prepping for long weekends at the lake and campfires at the cabin.

Theresa currently serves as TRUST President, and President, Children’s Minnesota Foundation. Originally trained in nursing, Pesch has 25 years of health care administration experience and is a sought-after presenter for national philanthropy conferences. She was recognized as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business honoree in 2012.



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Tags:  Accelerate Mentor Program  lifelong learning  TRUST Annual Meeting  TRUST Talks 

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Women's Health Leadership TRUST

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