The Northern California Chapter’s annual women’s conferences have always been popular events. And this year’s conference, which took place May 5 at the Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville, California, was especially celebratory. That’s because the Chapter marked the event’s 10th anniversary by introducing a new award recognizing women leaders.
“Our Chapter wanted to develop a unique recognition opportunity that honored the incredible contributions of women leaders in healthcare financial management roles,” said Lisa Stark, senior director of revenue cycle operations and technology at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California, and a member of the event planning committee. “We wanted to highlight amazing women playing pivotal roles in their organizations and our healthcare community — the individuals who help develop future leaders, mentor their peers and give back in ways that impact us all.”
There are two categories of the Chapter’s new award. The Emerging Leader: Woman of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding contributions of women leaders in healthcare financial management roles. The Legacy Leader: Woman of the Year Award honors women healthcare financial management leaders who’ve made a career of exceptional contributions and had a lasting impact on the healthcare community through decades of dedication. An independent, non-HFMA professional review committee evaluated nominees in both categories. All applications were anonymous, with key information redacted to ensure the nominees couldn’t be found in an online search.
Jana Maynard, vice president of sales with Jzanus, which sponsored the award, announced the winners and presented them with trophies. Aja Dright, MHA, was named as the Emerging Leader: Woman of the Year, and Ramona Hernandez, CRCR, received the Legacy Leader: Woman of the Year Award.
As the director of patient access and financial counseling services at Stanford Health Care, Dright is passionate about ensuring healthcare is accessible for all, and she works with her team to find and fill the gaps in her community. She also is a bold advocate for community involvement and seeks out opportunities to help others.
“It is a privilege to be recognized as the Emerging Leader, Woman of the Year,” said Dright. “This award fills my heart and, for me, represents woman empowerment, dedication and follow-through, not just from me but from those I work with.”
Hernandez is the senior vice president, revenue cycle, for Knowtion Health. She has 30-plus years of healthcare experience and has been an ardent HFMA volunteer throughout her career, including serving the past four years as the regional executive for HFMA’s Region 11. Hernandez has received all three of HFMA’s merit awards as well as the Founders Medal of Honor.
“I’ve been blessed to have had many mentors who’ve encouraged and pushed me to be better and do better,” said Hernandez. “Some great advice I received and would share is, ‘Take risks. Be bold. Don’t wait decades to believe in yourselves. Don’t be afraid to use your voice and question those who say “no.” Keep your mind open, be generous of heart and spirit and don’t apologize for any of it. Remember, when one wins, we all win!’”