Learn how Patty takes a unique approach to her work and how she strives to keep a good work/life balance.
To what do you attribute your success as a leader for Optum Workers’ Comp and Auto No-fault?
My career as a Registered Nurse has always been an excellent spring board for the various roles throughout the rest of my career. As a nurse, you need superb communication skills so that you can share your thoughts clearly. But to communicate, you also need to listen intently to what is being said verbally and to pay attention to all those non-verbal clues as well. For example, a patient may tell you they are, “Fine”, but the pained expression on their face tells you something different. My nursing background taught me to trust my intuition in situations like this so I could react and respond appropriately.
As a nurse, you learn to work with people who may be unsure and a bit fearful of what’s next. With this experience, I have found that encouraging a patient to stand up just a few hours after surgery is not all that different from my work today when I encourage a team member to jump out of their comfort zone and ask a hard question or when I help persuade a customer to try a new service. Sometimes, they just need the support and encouragement to take the first step.
Most importantly, nursing brought me a family of nurses with whom I started my career. This group has proven to be filled with life-long friends. Their support and encouragement though life's ups and downs are what I try to share with my team and customers.
How do you balance work and life responsibilities?
Not very well! I’m blessed to really enjoy my work and the sense of purpose it provides. But, family and friends are a priority for me, so I am working towards adding in little more self-imposed down time just for me, which would be good for my physical and emotional health.
What is your “Secret Sauce” i.e what are the 3 – 5 principles that you have discovered and executed that have contributed to your success?
"A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected."
It only takes a brief moment to say "please and thank you". I believe that by telling someone you appreciate them or that you appreciate their work and how much it means to you, it always comes back 10 fold. That is why I am a huge fan of the Optum Bravo program. It makes a person’s day to be acknowledged and recognized and I do believe that what goes around, comes around.
At the end of each day, I try to find three opportunities to compliment or thank people. I ask myself "Did I take care of my customer?" and "Did I take care of my team?" I obviously don't always complete these, but every day I try to make a difference share my appreciation.
Was there one individual who opened doors for you?
When I worked as an Administrator of a medically complex home care agency, my boss expected me to spend 50% of my time each week trying to secure new cases from State and County agencies, acute care facilities, rehab facilities and managed care programs. While I never considered myself a sales person, my boss took a risk on me but he also put trust in my abilities. He called me every day to review my calls and coach me on how to answer next time or what my follow up might be. Through this, we grew the business significantly and provided an important and rewarding level of care through our agency staff. This was definitely another career "springboard" that helped raised my skill level and allowed me to consider transitioning into supporting customers along the way.
What are you outside interests?
I try to be a "cookie mom" and always have a batch in the freezer for my now adult children and Grandson ‒ and anyone else for that matter.
I am a fairly avid walker. My walks range from 2-6 miles, 4-5 times/week and I use a 15-pound weight vest.
They say you never forget, but I did. So, I relearned how to ride a bike! Now I can't wait for the snow and ice to be gone for a few months so I can get back out there.
I am a Salvation Army Bell Ringer and what a joy that has turned out to be!
Vice President of Optum National Accounts