A plan foiled by COVID-19 became an educational opportunity for the Metropolitan New York Chapter in late 2020.
Two years ago, the Chapter held a program around the theme of women in leadership and brought in SkillPath, a professional development company, to provide training on the topic of personal growth. SkillPath was hired for a 2020 Chapter event that was canceled due to the pandemic, so Catherine Ekbom, CRCR, the Chapter’s vice president of education and an executive vice president at Betz Mitchell, decided to put the funds already paid for that event into a holiday gift for members. Members were treated to a free two-part webinar series (one in November and one in December), provided by SkillPath, on professional development and personal branding.
The subject matter was a welcome change from the pandemic-centric work members had been focusing on all year, Ekbom said.
“It was totally different from everybody’s mindset, which was on COVID and telehealth,” she said.
The sessions focused on how awareness of one’s own tendencies and habits (and understanding the tendencies and habits of others) can improve relationships among colleagues, Ekbom said. For example, some people are introverted and quiet while others are extroverted or more passionate when they speak. Some people might do things like roll their eyes or wave their hands. Each of those things can send signals people might not be aware of, Ekbom said.
“[The session’s focus was] knowing who you are, helping you realize how you are, how other people are affected by your mannerisms, by your tone, and how to [acquire] professional growth and personal development,” she said. The goal was to feel confident enough to accept oneself and grow from the experience, she said.
Attendees were split into groups and asked questions to get to know each other better.
“You learn a lot about other people and other people’s styles,” Ekbom said. “I walked away feeling that everybody could benefit from a session like this. Many people don’t realize the signals they’re sending off.”
The Chapter has made it a priority to hold a variety of programs around different topics. Some are squarely in healthcare finance while others focus on personal growth. Chapter members come from a variety of different types of organizations (e.g., providers and vendors) so it’s important to have something for everyone, Ekbom said.
“Education is what we need to bring to our members. There’s no doubt about it,” she said.
This approach to programming is very well-received, she said. The Chapter currently holds “webinar Wednesdays” and “finance Fridays.” Recently, the Chapter collaborated with two other HFMA Chapters to create a panel series with executive level-only speakers.