HNL Lab Medicine Celebrates International Women’s Day: Advice to Women in Leadership
HNL Lab Medicine is proud to be a company supported by women. In fact, women are the backbone of our company, accounting for 74% of our employees. And unlike the paltry numbers of other industries- some as low as 10%- our executive committee is 42% female, with women holding almost 70% of our leadership positions overall.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we asked these powerful leaders a simple question: What is your #1 piece of advice for women interested in becoming leaders in the healthcare industry? Read our exclusive interview with 8 industry leaders here at HNL Lab Medicine.
Because of her exceptional performance and leadership, Amy Hoherchak was promoted to Vice President of Clinical Lab ACL Operations in January 2023. She led multiple successful laboratory integrations into local hospital sites, and continues to optimize laboratory operations for our health system partners.
“Surround yourself with truly good people, who innately do the right thing. Create a strong and diverse team with varying skills and talents that complement each other. This is what has helped me succeed in my leadership roles. Leading people means knowing what you don’t know and allowing your team to show off what they excel at! When you bring the right people together, you can accomplish great things.”
Angela Connell is a proven Human Resources professional, with over 19 years of international experience working in manufacturing, media, and healthcare. Angela is a strategic HR leader who focuses on building a great organization, leveraging company capabilities and assets to support an exceptional team.
“Healthcare has been one of the toughest places to be throughout the last three years. Where some industries were able to lean into the integration of work and life caused by the pandemic, the healthcare industry was faced with being on the front lines of the COVID crisis, while managing their home life. This led to short-staffing, burnout, and being quarantined from family due to the fear of exposure. Being a leader in this industry right now calls for prioritization of your people; knowing who they are and what is important to them. This crucial shift in focus is required to ensure our teams have the balance they need. As leaders, we need to make work ‘work’ for the lives our teams want to lead.”
With over 10 years of experience, Jessica Bargilione has leveraged her passion for making meaningful connections to build brand identities that resonate and create memorable user experiences. As the Vice President of Marketing, she pioneers the effort to showcase HNL Lab Medicine’s exceptional capabilities as the company expands into additional markets and locations.
“Healthcare is an industry where your impact resonates far beyond a company's bottom line. Every decision, project, and action can impact the lives of our patients. In an industry dominated by women, there’s still a disparity between the number of men and women that hold leadership positions. My advice to our female leaders; don’t be afraid to take up space. The world we live in holds women to a different standard, expecting us to be yielding and agreeable. Don’t let the perceived fragility of your gender hold you back. Trust your ability. Cultivate courage. Lean in. Speak up. Lead.”
Dr. Jillian Grau is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical pathology. She is published in the areas of gastrointestinal and oncologic pathology and has presented on topics including ulcerative colitis at national meetings. In addition, Dr. Grau is a Clinical Assistant Professor at University of South Florida (USF), Morsani College of Medicine.
“Be empathetic and engage people with different points of view, particularly those that may complement your weaknesses. At the same time, trust in your information gathering process and your experience/knowledge to be decisive. Take the time to show genuine interest in your colleagues’ lives and develop trusting relationships with them to help motivate the team towards a common goal.”
Kelly Frankenfield began her career as a phlebotomist. She leveraged the company’s tuition assistance to attain her B.S. in Laboratory Sciences, and later earned her MBA in Healthcare Management. Kelly's dedication and work ethic quickly allowed her to climb the career ladder at HNL Lab Medicine and, in July 2022, she was promoted to Director of Clinical Operations Pathology.
“Education is foremost. Education provides diverse insights and helps create professional connections in the field. Women should use their education to develop transformative leadership skills that align their individual strengths with their professional goals. When you align your goals to the strategic roadmap of the company you will open opportunities for advancement. Learning should never stop. The healthcare industry and its workforce are constantly changing. Staying abreast of new technologies and fostering growth within your teams will enhance the well-being of our patients while maximizing the company's growth potential.”
Laura Bailey joined HNL in 2009. First beginning as a Blood Bank Technologist, she quickly rose through the company and, in 2021, was promoted to Director of Clinical Operations. Laura coordinates policies and procedures to ensure the highest quality of testing and patient safety across 10 hospital blood banks where transfusions for trauma patients, cancer patients, pediatric and neonatal patients, and inpatients are performed.
“Don’t let anyone bully you or make you second guess yourself. There is definitely a stereotype out there- yes, even today- that women are supposed to be passive and ‘nice.’ When a woman is confident and assertive, she can be labeled as intimidating or confrontational- but that same behavior in a man is seen as confidence and qualities of a leader. Don't be afraid to stand your ground.”
Lisa Anthony has held various progressive leadership positions as HNL Lab Medicine evolved, now holding a position as Senior Executive, Health Systems Partnerships.
Lisa is responsible for continuing the significant growth and geographical expansion of HNL Lab Medicine. She oversees the evaluation of partnership opportunities and strategies which includes establishing joint ventures, laboratory management agreements, and laboratory acquisitions.
“My #1 piece of advice to women interested in becoming a leader in the healthcare industry would be to develop your emotional intelligence. You must:
- read a room quickly;
- show respect and empathy;
- trust your intuition – use your advantage of being a woman!
All of these play an important role in developing this skill.
Developing your emotional intelligence isn’t something that happens overnight. It grows over time and requires continual improvement. Learn how to use it to your advantage.
Another important lesson is: You don’t need to do your job alone. Build a strong team and don’t be afraid to rely on them when their expertise is needed – remember, that’s why you chose them in the first place.”
Dr. Renu Bajaj earned a PhD in cytogenetics from the University of Delhi, India. She completed two fellowships in clinical cytogenetics, and lab genetics and genomics from Yale University School of Medicine and Hartford Hospital, CT. She has served as the Director of Cytogenetics and held faculty positions at multiple institutions.
“Have a passion? Find a mentor! I am fortunate to be a healthcare professional. There is nothing as fulfilling when you wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work and feel contented at the end of the day with the contribution you have made in someone's life. Reflecting on this accomplishment made me inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals and develop their understanding of leadership. However, passion alone cannot guide you to the leadership path. Having a mentor with a wealth of experience and knowledge that can push you to make challenging decisions is key. I have had the opportunity to work with incredible mentors during my path of growth to be a better professional.”
In a time when industries still have a large gender disparity in their leadership, it is more important than ever to step up. Companies have the responsibility of ensuring equal representation in their workforce.
HNL Lab Medicine is fortunate and honored to have these strong female leaders guiding our team. We hope hearing from these powerful leaders inspires you to hire one- or become one- yourself!