A Panel Discussion with Women Leaders at HealthJoy
HealthJoy is proud to recognize and salute the women who inspire, support, and empower us — today and every day.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, HealthJoy brought together a few of the amazing women leaders throughout the company to share their background, experiences, challenges and personal & professional advice.
HealthJoy’s Women’s Employee Resource Group sponsored the panel discussion and Michelle Byrd, Chief People Officer at HealthJoy, hosted the conversation. Michelle was joined by seven other women representing multiple departments across the organization.
Michelle Byrd, Chief People Officer
Lynette Grinter, Vice President, Marketing
Aime Landaburu, Regional Vice President, Sales (West)
Megan Deporter, Vice President, Talent
Patricia Pechter, Chief Medical Officer
Sarina Asher, Vice President, Customer Success
Natalia Fedotova, Director, Finance UA
Varvara Medvedieva, Director, Project Management, Engineering
We are truly honored to have these talented women leading the strategic initiatives and daily work being completed to achieve HealthJoy’s mission to simplify the healthcare and benefits experience of every single member.
Please enjoy this excerpt of the enlightening and inspiring discussion.
Michelle Byrd (MB): Thank you for joining us today to share your stories and experiences. If you could go back to the beginning of your career and give yourself one piece of career advice, what would it be?
Lynette Grinter: One thing that I heard a lot of early in my career was to be confident, but I wasn’t sure how to go about finding that confidence. I read an article about Angela Merkel that discussed how she prepared to speak in front of the European Union. The key takeaway was that she was absolutely prepared every time. That is where my confidence now comes from—knowing the subject matter inside and out, being prepared to answer any question, and thinking through how you’re trying to influence the audience. Being prepared is a key part of how I operate as a leader today. Find what gives you that confidence.
Aime Landaburu: Often in sales you’re the only woman in the room. Being confident and having an executive presence is critical. Never stop advocating for yourself. My brother-in-law is a Navy SEAL; and we talk a lot about his accomplishments. He told me something years ago that's really stuck with me and that is “no one is coming to save you”. I try to teach that to my female leaders. It’s not only critical for me to recognize my own strengths and accomplishments, but also to be able to effectively communicate them to others— to advocate for yourself. Create a brag book to document your accomplishments and be able to relay them to others.
MB: How do you bounce back from a mistake in your work?
Natalia Fedotova: I take mistakes very seriously. When I make mistakes, it’s important to me that I work through my emotions instead of suppressing them. I use a mind-body approach to do so. I do step aerobics for exercise and enjoy massages for relaxation. I also find being alone, even for just 15 minutes a day, is important to be able to re-center. I remind myself that mistakes happen. I also don’t give myself permission to give up when things get hard. It’s important to keep making small steps in the given circumstances and to be thankful for the experiences.
MB: As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
Sarina Asher: I would argue that becoming a mom was the biggest barrier in my career. Before starting a family I really had to think about how my career fit in. Now that I have children, I have to think about how I’m being a mom and in the workplace every day all the time. It’s one thousand decisions, big and small, that I make every day and I didn’t have to do any of that before having kids. I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate it all. The thing I learned from my experience is that I’m not a superhero. I can’t be everything to everyone all of the time. I need my team at work and I need my team at home. Cultivate your team to help you.
Megan Deporter: Nobody prepares you for how hard and challenging returning to work is after parental leave. I had a great support system within HealthJoy and outside of the workplace. It was mentally, emotionally, and physically very hard on me coming back from parental leave. Having that support system in place is what pushed me through. You’re balancing all of these things…how to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, and on top of that how to be an employee and a manager. You have to give yourself grace. Check in with people who are returning to work from parental leave. Give new parents, expecting parents, and all caregivers support. We don’t talk enough about that.
MB: Have you been confronted with gender-related roadblocks in your career?
Patricia Pechter: When you're in a field in which you might not see many people like you in your desired role, it can be very challenging. Being able to have the imagination to see what that next level looks like is really helpful—even if the external world hasn’t been able to progress to that point. Women across many fields have experienced walking into a room where you feel like you’re being judged differently because of your gender. Connecting with other women and allies and creating a strong support system can help you combat that negative self-talk and the feeling that you need to overachieve to prove your value.
Varvara Medvedieva: I have had a lot of interesting experiences in my career with people who didn’t understand how a woman could be a successful leader. At a previous employer, I had to interview a lot of people to fill open positions. When I started to interview candidates, I heard many comments questioning the fact that I was the head of project management. They didn’t understand how they could be directly reporting to me, a woman. One interesting case is someone interviewed with one of my peers asking what he could learn from me. My peer told the candidate that I knew more than him and that he needed to work with me to learn about the company. I am thankful for that peer and felt supported by his comments.
We’re looking for more talented leaders to join our team.
Thank you to all of the women who participated in our International Women’s Day panel discussion. The career advice they shared was incredibly insightful, and we enjoyed learning about the experiences that got them to where they are today.
If you're interested in learning more about what makes HealthJoy a great place to work or any of the current opportunities available, please check out our Careers page. We’re currently hiring for a number of roles in a variety of functions including engineering, marketing, finance, etc.