RelateCare have always been fiercely proud of the essential role that our female leaders have played in our success.
From day one RelateCare has been lucky to count many strong and talented women among our leadership, and that hasn’t changed!
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are featuring some of those courageous and capable women. #IWD2020
Our feature starts with one of the originals: Dana Cameron!
Having spent over 30 years at Cleveland Clinic, Dana has a wealth of experience in bringing technology into healthcare.
Speaking onIWD2020, Dana said,
“I started my career at Cleveland Clinic in the late 70’s when they had just begun to introduce computers for scheduling and registering patients for outpatient services. I was there at the start to support the needs of bringing Cleveland Clinic into the age of computers.
The last 5 years there, I was part of a team that was dedicated to designing intelligence for their front-end scheduling for their Call Center. During that time, Rigney Dolphin joined forces with Cleveland Clinic and developed a joint venture called RelateCare to support the call center needs for the clinic as well as marketing their services to other healthcare organizations. I joined and became employee number 4.”
Next up is one of the most qualified people in our ranks, our Chief Medical Officer Jenny Schmidt, MD.
While providing RelateCare with clinical guidance and oversight from a physician perspective, Jenny also finds time to serve as the Primary Care Residency Program Director and Medical Director of General Internal Medicine faculty practice at Washington University School of Medicine, and have a family!
Speaking on #IWD2020, Jenny told us of her journey:
“I always knew I wanted to be a doctor. I loved problem solving and helping others. And now I get to do that, while also improving structures and systems and acting as a kind of translator between RelateCare’s expert consultants and our client physicians.
I think everyone has faced obstacles to get where they are. I am often singled out for being “too young”. As a woman, I have been called “bossy” and “too direct”—terms that many of my female, but not male, colleagues can relate too. I struggle with work-life balance and am terrible at taking my work home with me.
But, In many ways, I am incredibly lucky—I grew up with parents who put me and my sister first and emphasized education. As an adult, I have an incredible husband (and two hilarious daughters) who are my biggest fans. These people are a huge part of what keeps me going every day.”
Next in our feature on RelateCare’s women leaders, we have Carmel Carlin!
Carmel is Support Services Manager for RelateCare and Rigneydolphin.
Having worked her way up from a customer service representative, Carmel is now responsible for the facilities and HR departments.
Ahead of #IWD2020, Carmel, spoke about her role and how she progressed in Rigneydolphin and RelateCare.
“I started in Rigneydolphin in 2008 after completing my degree in WIT as a customer service representative. My role progressed quite quickly to a team leader position when Airtricity was being on boarded in 2009 and I then moved into a management position in 2013. I believe I got to where I am today due to hard work and a willingness to learn in order to help me progress within the company. RelateCare has always supported those – male or female – who work hard are open to learning.
Knowing that you are contributing in some way to the success of the company motivates me. We work in a fast paced environment and direction can change quite quickly so an ability to be able to adapt to this is required in order to met the business needs. Team work is something Rigneydolphin & RelateCare do very well and knowing that you can lean on your colleagues when you need support makes facing challenges much easier.”
Next up is the youngest member of our leadership team, Valerie O ‘Brien. Valerie is our Director of Business Development and has led the charge recently in introducing and promoting RelateCare’s solutions to healthcare organizations that face challenges in patient access and patient communication.
Speaking ahead of #IWD2020:
“I started with RelateCare as a wide eyed, eager nineteen year old given the unbelievable opportunity to live and work in Boston. Initially, I played the typical intern role and was exposed to various areas of our business; in hindsight this was the best education I could have got when starting a new role. Over the years, I have been extremely lucky to work under some fantastic mentors from within our organization, on our advisory board but also with our client partners.
Undoubtedly, I have faced a lot of obstacles along the way. But, what I have lacked in experience I have attempted to compensate with hard work and preparation. I am genuinely very passionate about the work we do and the impact we have on our partners patients. As a Waterford woman I am super proud to be part of global company with roots in my hometown. It’s certainly very gratifying to be able support our local community and fly the Waterford flag internationally!”
Having spent 37 years working a University health system, and occupying many diverse roles – from oncology nurse, to revenue cycle director, all the way to Chief Operating Officer – RelateCare were delighted to welcome Kathy Merlo to our team as Director of US Operations last year.
With such a range of experience, Kathy has much wisdom to share on this #IWD2020:
“One of the biggest obstacles I faced was to be a female non-physician in a male dominated medical school environment. I sought out other women and built a network of support and collaboration. Throughout my career I created opportunities for other women and actively encouraged them through mentoring. One of the most important skills I learned was how to negotiate and advocate for myself, others and projects I believe in.
This experience provided me with so many tools I still use in my job at RelateCare. As a nurse I used my intellect, empathy, work ethic and kindness to provide top tier care to my patients. I’ve held on to those values throughout my career.”
Kari is not only our Director of Nursing, Clinical and Wellness Programs, she also was instrumental in the creation of our entire clinical service offering. A former Nurse of the Year, Kari joined RelateCare and has since worked tirelessly with our clients to provide patients with high quality care, whether that is through building triage protocols, escalation pathways, or discharge scripting.
Ahead of #IWD2020, Kari says,
“Facing challenges is a requirement in healthcare/nursing and my motivation always comes back to the patients: putting patients first is ever-present. Patients motivate me, as when patients are not well (sick) they just want and need people they can trust and know they will be taken care of when they are vulnerable. That is what RelateCare’s Registered Nurses and caregivers do, provide reassurance. Nursing is one of the greatest fields to be involved in – I get the opportunity to work with all genders, races, cultures, and people (internationally directly in this role), that inspire, challenge, and innovate nursing and healthcare.
Teamwork, innovation, collaboration, and integrity – and knowing that hard work pays off. Having a great mentor is key, and RelateCare is full of them. We always know we can do better and improve, and that is important.”
To continue the celebration of the fierce and fearless female leaders in RelateCare, we now go to Sladjana Vukovic, our Director of Revenue Cycle!
Sladjana, another former Cleveland Clinic employee, is responsible for overseeing all revenue cycle engagements for current and new business, which is an integral aspect of RelateCare’s multi-faceted patient access services.
Speaking to us on #IWD2020 Sladjana tells her story:
“Having completed my Bachelors in Health Service Administration, I began work for Cleveland Clinic, where I worked in the Patient Access department. That’s exposed me to all areas of Revenue Cycle. That experience, and my Masters in Science Management program, I utilize at RelateCare – helping and supporting healthcare organizations throughout the states.
My biggest obstacle throughout my career was, and sometimes still is, finding the balance between work, school and home life. But, with hard work, dedication, great support from my family, friends and mentors from Cleveland Clinic and RelateCare, I have got to where I am today.
While the work we do in Revenue Cycle isn’t patient facing, we have an opportunity to make an impact to patient care every day and that is why I chose healthcare and genuinely love what I do!”
And last but not least, a person who seamlessly blends warmth, humor, humility, and tenacity into her leadership style, our Head of Quality Assurance, Mary May.
Mary leads a team of 20 QA Analysts in both Ireland and Cleveland, as well as consulting for our healthcare partners, but the common theme is always ensuring our services are aligned with Best Practice Industry Standards.
Speaking on #IWD Mary says, “As one of RelateCare’s ‘originals’, we were away from home for long periods in the early days and frequently, we would be consulting on-site with clients and when the day was over, there was another day’s work to be done. In RelateCare, my colleagues and I supported each other – sometimes through brainstorming and other times through humor – to ensure that we were achieving our goals. I am happy to say that this has continued.
I truly believe that our work reflects the individual passion we each bring to our roles every day. We are constantly looking at ways to better facilitate patients seeking access to care and to make them feel acknowledged and valued at a time when either they themselves or their families, are ill.Having implemented many client QA Programs, my greatest joy is in reviewing calls. You can verify compliance and scheduling adherence and also hear how QA enhances the engagement between representatives and patients / families. What can I tell you? It’s my ‘raison d’être’.”