Beles Abebe Reflection 7/7

This week, Nancy Schlichting (retired CEO of Henry Ford Health System) shared her personal and professional story, and offered advice for future leaders and changemakers in health care.

  1. Discuss one element of Nancy’s story that resonated with your own, and explore how her example and advice might help you navigate the road ahead.

From her life’s story that she told us, I believe Nancy’s drive to follow her own path and purpose rather than what those around her expected of her is something that heavily resonated with me. No matter what trials or hardships came her way, she seemed to find ways to overcome them by her standards and her standards alone. As I approach 21 years of living on this earth, I can say that I’ve had experiences in which people’s monumentous expectations and unkindness tried to push me away from the things I wanted for myself, luckily to no avail. I found myself having to push past the negative experiences in order to revel in the positive ones that made going through the journey that much better. I distinctly remember Nancy saying something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t go through what I had.” She said it with such resolution, it was quite refreshing for me to hear someone who has done and seen so much in their life have such optimism and confidence in their experiences.

In thinking about my own future, I want to have the same resolution to be accepting of what comes. Life is not always consistent, but I hope to remain consistent in my desire to learn from what I experience and be proud in the person I transition into as a result. On the other hand, I want to always be able to take full responsibility for myself and my actions, while simultaneously making sure my voice is being heard when I feel the time is right. Nancy’s dedication to partnership and human connection are also some things that resonated with me. We often see in the environment around us that individualism gets people to places they want to go, without having other people “hold them back,” so to speak. But the power to connect minds and ideas is clearly so much more beyond this, as we read and heard about the successes the Henry Ford Health System had in their many community ventures. In my own life, I hope I don’t lose sight of the great significance of working with others and making sure everyone on a team feels as connected to the cause as they can.

Beles Abebe, a rising senior from Holly Springs, NC, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Chemistry and Global Health, enjoys taking photographs of loved ones and nature, adores children and working with them, and is interested in research pertaining to social determinants of health and addressing healthcare disparities.

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