Build Reputation, Build Character: Notes From an Address by Nanette Wenger, MD, MACC, at ACC.22

The WIC Lounge at ACC.22 had a stimulating start with an interactive session titled, “Building Reputation (and Leadership)” by the legendary Nanette Wenger, MD, MACC. Hosted by the dynamic ACC WIC ex-chair, Toniya Singh, MBBS, FACC, Wenger shared her experience and addressed key elements to help women build a credible name for themselves. She started off with a mantra, “Listen, learn, decide, act,” and shared simple steps to help women explore any situation effectively. Her master class shared important virtues which would help a woman grow upward, inward and inspire growth in others to become admirable leaders.

Grow upward

  • Earn faith among patients by being empathic, nonjudgmental, and compassionate. Invest in understanding different cultures.
  • Establish trust by being honest, respectful, and committed. Strive to maintain consistency in conversations.
  • Achieve excellence by keeping a mindset of lifelong learning. Set high standards for yourself.
  • Look at problems from a different lens; emphasize on solving by simplifying.
  • Build relationships by being collaborative. Participate in professional societies like ACC.
  • Communicate ideas and values in a clear and effective manner and do not let your passion go unnoticed.

Grow inward

  • Be mindful of personal strengths and weaknesses.
  • Maintain self-respect and dignity. Value yourself.
  • Try to identify and eliminate unconscious biases towards people and situations.
  • Be ethical while maintaining civic responsibility.
  • Develop work-life synergy by assuring time with family and self. Enjoy life in general!

Inspire growth

  • Have a vision and inspire others by motivating and mentoring when possible. Articulate your aspirations.
  • Always be open to change; encourage strategic thinking and innovation.
  • Compete well. Enjoy the challenge, fight fair with dignity and win well.
  • Convey appreciation when due.
  • Encourage inclusiveness and cross-cultural communication.

The talk was followed by a refreshing Q&A where women in the audience, ranging from medical students to late-career cardiologists, interacted directly with Dr Wenger. She gave valuable advice on various relatable problems, be it balancing parenthood with a successful career or facing gender-based exclusion and microaggressions at work.

After attending my very first ACC Scientific Session as an IM resident and an aspiring cardiologist, I gained perspective into what it means to be a woman in cardiology. I realized I am looking forward to a lifetime of growth and experience beyond academic success by choosing a career in cardiology. By spending time and interacting with my role models, I understood that to build a great reputation, a woman needs to build great character. The WIC lounge at ACC.22 instilled a sense of belonging in women like myself and provided a unique opportunity for them to seek guidance and feel supported. I left the talk feeling confident, inspired, and empowered.



This article was authored by Sanskriti Shrivastava, MBBS, an internal medicine resident at the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education.

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