Fail, Survive, or Thrive

October 17, 2022 @ 12:00am

As leaders we should always be up to something big, reaching to obtain our why. Leaders are not lane fillers or worker bees. Now don’t get me wrong, those are important positions within an organization, as they help the wheel move. But there needs to be a driving force to inspire greatness, impact, performance, and outcomes. Those individuals are leaders.


Working in the non-profit world as a leader is one of the strangest, yet most satisfying gifts I have been afforded. Not only do I have the opportunity to inspire greatness daily, but I also have the opportunity to help make impact, every single day. Not just impact on my life, or the lives of my staff, but for every person who walks through the door by pushing quality not quantity.

My healthcare staff had heard this a million times from me, but quality is what drives the revenues in our organization, not quantity. I have not set quotas to meet for our providers and staff. I instead, encourage them to see and treat the person in front of them. Holistic comprehensive care cannot be achieved when you only have 10-15 minutes to jump from person to person.

Once the base of quality care is established though, quantity is driven up as well. Why? Word of mouth! People are satisfied with the services and care they were provided, so they return. And they tell their family and friends, who then become patients. Because we treated them as an individual rather than a number.

Similarly, my staff are individuals as well, not numbers. I have taken the time to establish rapport and relationships with each one of them. I know about their families and their hobbies. I take time during my day to make purposeful and meaningful connections with each of them. Because that is what great leaders do. That is why each one of them has my personal cell phone number and can call day or night. Because I need to be as accessible and responsive to them if I expect them to be to me. Leadership by example.

So, what is my why? Choice is my why.

Serving individuals and providing access to free and reduced cost healthcare, specifically reproductive health, supports every single one of our clients in achieving their fullest potential by allowing them to choose-when, if, and how they plan to grow their families. By leading this charge at Healthfirst and in Wisconsin, I am helping every individual to achieve their personal and professional goals by affording them choice.

Through the avenue of choice that I have created, fostered, and grown- individuals in the Healthfirst service area are more likely to achieve aspirational life goals, including increased likelihood of completing education, while decreasing adverse economic consequences. The network and clinics of Healthfirst have and continue to empower individuals to leave abusive relationships, while mitigating the disproportionate health inequities that individuals-who do not have a choice of when they get pregnant-face.

About the author: Jessica Scharfenberg
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