Highlights From the 2019 ACC WIC Section Leadership Workshop

Cardiology Magazine Image

FEATURE | The 2019 ACC Women in Cardiology (WIC) Leadership Workshop was held before the ACC Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. The event served as an educational forum that brought together female cardiologists from around the country – including a large number of Fellows in Training (FITs) – to promote continued professional growth and career advancement.

It was an insightful workshop led by energetic facilitators, making it a great success!

The day began with a welcome address from the ACC WIC Leadership Council Chair Toniya Singh, MD, FACC, followed by the keynote address from Samantha Rudolph, co-founder and CEO of Babyation. Her talk, entitled "Audaciously Optimistic: The Journey of Startup Founders," highlighted her journey as a startup founder developing and manufacturing a discreet, quiet breast pump for busy women.

She encouraged the women in the audience to follow their passion, find courage of conviction in their work and in themselves, and to open doors for other women along the way. Her energetic discussion highlighted the importance of learning from failures, celebrating small victories, and being grateful and optimistic for the future.

Following the keynote address, Nicole Napoli, director of ACC Media Relations, discussed the basics of working with the media. In today's society – which is more connected than ever to print, television, radio and internet news – Napoli provided practical tips on navigating media requests.

One pearl of this discussion was Napoli's advice to select two to three talking points, repeating them often to ensure that they are heard and retained. She galvanized women to leverage their expertise as cardiologists and ACC members to effectively interact with the media, and pointed out that the ACC Media Relations staff is available to help with preparation for any media requests.

After Napoli's talk, there was an excellent panel discussion entitled "Myths and Truths of Career Transitions." Moderated by Toniya Singh, MD, FACC, the panel included Garima Sharma, MD, FACC from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Tina Shah, MBBS, FACC from Kaiser Permanente Washington, and Gina Lundberg, MD, FACC, from Emory University School of Medicine.

Each panelist was at a different stage in her career and had recently undergone a career transition. Sharma discussed tips for career advancement in an academic institution as an early career cardiologist, including:

  • Building a network of multiple mentors
  • Choosing collaborators who have the same values and complement your skills
  • Doing what you care about and maintaining meaning in your work
  • Building a five-year mission statement, and
  • Aiming to be a "fish in a growing pond."

Shah then discussed her recent career transition and pearls and tips around career change after building a profile and reputation at an institution.

Her pearls included:

  • Being prepared for change by developing a broad skill set
  • Taking the time to be introspective about your current career and values
  • Setting aside the time to examine all options to ensure a smooth transition
  • Marketing yourself boldly, and
  • Probing employers to gauge if they value and support your vision.

She highlighted the importance of finding a career that closely aligns with your core values rather than finding the same job you had done before.

Lundberg then closed the session by providing her perspective after transitioning through multiple different practice models during her career. She explained:

  • The myths of transitioning from private practice to an academic setting
  • The importance of being the mentor you wish you had
  • Building networks and a strong support team
  • Finding a higher source that gives purpose and meaning to life, and
  • Realizing that what is "right" changes over time

Following the panel presentations, there was time for questions and discussion, and each panelist provided invaluable advice.

The workshop concluded with a career planning exercise with Garima Sharma, MD, FACC, from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Alison L. Bailey, MD, FACC, from Erlanger Health System and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Prior to the workshop, attendees were provided with several career planning tools.

The first tool was a "values grid," requiring the participants to rank the values most important to them in life and career. The output was a "values visual" that provided a visual representation of the most important values juxtaposed to how those values are lived out in day-to-day life.

The second tool was a career planning worksheet that challenged participants to tap into their "values grid" to develop a career mission statement, vision statement, and list of granular short- and long-term career goals.

Participants prepared these documents in advance of the session and spent time discussing as a group, leaving the session with a concrete career action plan in-hand!

The ACC WIC Leadership Workshop was an exciting opportunity for female cardiologists to network, discuss shared experiences, uplift one another and foster mentoring relationships. The day concluded with a group photograph for all participating members and female leaders.

A big thank you to Lindsey Santamaria, who was instrumental in planning this event.

As a female FIT, the ACC WIC Leadership Workshop was an insightful and motivational day and made me proud to be a woman in cardiology surrounded by such talented female role models.

We hope those who were able to join learned skills that they can apply as they advance in their careers.

We encourage more female cardiologists and FITs to attend upcoming workshops and events to further strengthen the next generations of female cardiologists.

Cardiology Magazine Image

This article was authored by Kaitlyn Ibrahim, MD, Fellow in Training (FIT) at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.