Hi everyone, welcome to today's career spotlight session. My name is Farwa Arshad, I'm the alumni, fellows and career exploration coordinator for the Calumet and Stong Colleges, and on behalf of the colleges and the faculty of health: welcome to today's career spotlight session. Just to know that this session will be recorded, and the feedback survey will be distributed via email to you after the session ends. So today we have with us Tania Xerri. So, we are just going to get started with the brief introduction of her, and how are you doing today Tania?
I am fine Farwa, thank you. Welcome everyone!
And just to note that if you would like to have any questions for Tania, please feel free to message in the chat or it's more than welcome if you want to unmute yourself and ask her directly
Okay so let's get started with a brief introduction of Tania. Tania Xerri is a passionate educator and leader in Adult Professional Learning Serving Health and the broader Health community locally, nationally and globally and currently heads the Health Leadership & Learning Network (HLLN) in the Faculty of Health at York University. HLLN provides innovative and leading-edge education to working health professionals and health care management and staff. Tania has been instrumental in leading “integrated health” education in Canada, and most notably Health Coaching, where she has led York University to offer the first accredited professional education Health Coaching program in Canada. She is the past board chair of the Conference on Management and Executive Education (CMED) where she served on the board for 5 years. CMED serves the broader Adult Professional Learning industry and serves a community of over 250 Universities and Colleges globally. Tania’s career spans almost 20 years in health care research in the Toronto teaching hospitals before arriving at York University in 2009. Using this experience, she has forged Health education and leadership that is inter-professional, evidence based, informed by the industry, integrated and focused on “keeping people healthier, longer”. Tania is currently spearheading the use of micro-credentials and digital credentials in HLLN towards “connecting our learners to the global job community and getting the career they want”. She believes that the path to leadership is found first and foremost through your own personal ability to self-reflect, and that you use leadership in everything you do, no matter how small.
So that's a really impressive portfolio and again on behalf of the faculty of health and the Calumet and Stong colleges, thank you so much for joining us here today everyone. So just to start off Tania, can you tell us a little bit more about your career journey from undergraduate to where you are right now?
Yes of course and thank you again for having me here today. I hope that what I have to say is helpful for you. So I'm a York graduate in psychology honors BA 1989, I think 1989, and my pathway started in as soon as I graduated. I saw a job posting for a research assistant at Baycrest Center for geriatric care the Rotman Research Institute, so I applied, I got the job. Why? because in my undergraduate I'd done some volunteer experience work working at the CAMH, and those, that skill set, working in that psychogeriatric population actually is what tweaked the director's interest in having me work for him, because I had some experience in working with people with dementia and mental health issues in an aging population. I spent 12 years at Baycrest center, it's a wonderful place to work if you ever want to apply there, and then moved to a small journal for geriatric care where I was its managing director
for a year. I then moved back into research at St. Michael's Hospital. I spent seven years there as the manager and then associate director of operations for the center for research in inner city health, which is still in existence today and actually expanding, and at that point in my career it's been a long career in research I decided I needed a change and I wanted to expand and go into education. We had a grant from CIHR around training students, and I really enjoyed it very much and I wanted more in that education field. So I networked, which will be key for yourself and your careers. I did some networking, people I knew that were at York to see, you know, whether they would talk to me and they did and I found myself filling a maternity leave for a year in the dean's office here in Health, of all places, and I networked with the dean, got to know him, made sure he got to know me, and then he offered me a chance at this role as the founding director of the health leadership and learning network, really solely based on my experience in research, believe it or not, and my understanding of how the health system in Ontario and Canada works, and here I am now.
Thank you, Tania, that's a wonderful journey and just really admiring and inspiring for the rest of us students. I have a question, so did you ever want to pursue a career in the traditional side of healthcare? So for example were you ever pressured to be like "you're in the healthcare field you should become a doctor, a nurse" or did you always want to be in the health management industry?
Well, that's an excellent question, and yes I did feel a lot of in my undergrad to pursue something more formal. I thought I would become a psychologist or at least stay within the area of counseling, but then when I started to do research, I realized there was a big world out there that was closer to what I loved to do, and I wanted to do something I love to do, or else you start to experience, you know, things that you don't want to. You feel a little stressed, you feel unhappy, and I really loved research and especially the area of geriatrics and working with not only clinician scientists, but then policymakers or people who would inform policy when I got into St. Michael's, and I just loved it and I thought this is for me and I want to stay here. So I continue to network and find people that could connect me to new job opportunities or you know to advance my career or even mentor me and coach me, so I could apply for something new.
Thank you, and in terms of networking, what are some of the tips that you applied during that time that helped you land the job that you wanted?
Yeah, so the tips I used and I believe they're still relevant now, because you can see my career spanning a couple of decades, but I believe these networking tips can still apply, if you're currently in a role which I was, say at Baycrest, I was networking with people in the Rotman Research Institute who are at a senior level, who got to know my skills like the vice president research, the administrative officer who was an executive herself, the executive of nursing, I got to know the chief medical officer, Michael Gordon, at the time got to know him very well. Actually it was Michael who helped me get the job for working with the small journal in geriatric care as its managing editor. From an early start, I remember being in a career session at York when I was just starting to apply for jobs and learning that there's a
hidden job market, like only about 10% of the jobs that are posted are actually, it's only 10 percent of the actual job market, the rest are hidden, and you get to know them by networking with anyone in the industry that you're going into, going towards. And so networking with those initial executives really worked out well and then I continue to do that with each job, is remain connected to them, I ask them to coach or mentor me. One of my mentors at one point was the VP of strategic HR at the Ontario Hospital Association. He was my mentor for several years, so he really helped me gain a footing in health care management and how it really functions at a leadership level, and he just sat with me every few weeks for a couple of hours, we chatted, and he knew about my career direction and he wanted to help. I mean I still say that to this day, connect with executives or leaders you see here, get to know them, they will help you.
Thank you, Tania and a good, I guess your point about having like a hidden in job industry, because even now it feels like there's a big disconnect between students and new graduates and the actual industry professionals, so it's easy to find these networking tips that, you know, have like the insider help that would help new graduates find a job where they want, or have like a good mentor opportunity.
Yeah, even faculty members, you may be working with faculty members who are connected into the health industry. I don't know if it's maybe health policy management or if you're in global health, I would suggest talk to your faculty, the faculty member that maybe is overseeing a course you're in, that you really made it, got a good relationship with and ask them if they know anyone in the industry that they would introduce you to or if they recommend somebody you could connect with.
Definitely, yeah that's a really great advice, and we have a question in the chat which is what is the hidden job market and how do you navigate it if it's hidden?
Oh yeah that one is a good question. So in my experience, I found that if you connect with the people who do the hiring, whether it's the manager, or the director, the VP, you're looking to connect someone who is the hiring person, the hiring manager, and they usually have in their mind, because we're in a publicly funded healthcare system, they're always looking to expand. Sustaining our system is all about expanding it and growing it, not about keeping it small, no not at all, so they're always thinking in the back of their mind what's my next strategy in step? And who do I need to acquire to help me do that? That's the hidden job market right there, that manager contemplating who they need for that strategy. You can learn about the strategy on the websites, for example say it's a hospital you're interested in working with, like look at their strategic plan, see what they're planning, what they're doing, and in what areas, it will give you an idea…oh they're doing something around this project in expanding their work in marginalized populations like the underserved who are living on the street, or with newcomers, oh okay what are they doing, are they building a research chair? are they building capacity for nurses?
Maybe I'm in global health and I know how to do some evaluation work, and I should connect in with them, you know you're looking for projects, you're looking for projects that hire a contract person that may eventually turn into a full-time job. That's the hidden job market right there. Other possibilities for hidden job market are, and these are more rare, when they actually have a job and it's all scoped out but they haven't hired anyone in, they usually have someone in mind, so those are harder to get because they have someone in the organization or a colleague in another organization in mind that they're going to second in, so those are harder, but if you go for those projects that you can kind of ascertain by studying them, like through their strategic plan and then connecting maybe with someone that you know, like through a faculty member….do you know someone at, maybe they're in research, maybe they can introduce me. That's a, it's worth a try, and you could even scope this out if you've got a mentor already that is maybe on faculty, or maybe a friend and mentor in the area you want to get into, and they can help you think this through as well, because they may have some inside knowledge too.
Definitely, thank you, and in terms of non-traditional pathways, what are some ways for new graduates to enter the health education and health research industry that doesn't necessarily require additional education, like graduate school or Master’s or PhD?
That's an excellent question, and I can tell you, I did the non-traditional route. I don't have an advanced degree outside of my bachelor’s degree, my honors bachelor's in psychology. I've taken some non-degree non-credit study to upskill and add additional skills for leadership and management, but I would say that I find in health, there is a real appreciation for the professional and that breadth of knowledge, which is that horizontal skill sets, which are soft skills leadership, communication, building trust, planning skills, that are transferable from various industries. So you could be working in a hospital and have x skills, say in evaluation, which are usable in long-term care or in front line services or in policy making, they're very transferable and I bet you already have a lot of those skills already, that you may have acquired from your studies, from group work you may have done projects, you may have done, believe it or not, I bet you already have project management knowledge, you know how to scope out a project and get it done, you know how to do research. Those are these nice soft skills that you can transfer and they're highly valuable in applying to roles that you may not think you're a natural fit for, but perhaps the role is an entry-level position or just above it, and they are looking for someone that they can groom and support and then train, who will learn about the inner workings of the institution, and they've got more of a longer career trajectory ahead of them, that's how you work the non-traditional route.
So you're looking for entry-level roles, you're identifying all of your transferable skills that are softer and can be used across industries, and I'm going to add another pieces, coaching and mentoring, have someone who's a sounding board, maybe it's a family friend or someone in your family, could be your mom or dad or your brother or sister, someone or maybe a prof that you trust, and use them as a sounding board to understand your own skill set that can be applied to a variety of different careers, so you can position yourself for a variety of different careers. That's what I did is I used these skills I learned. Honestly, my parents owned a family business, and I knew a lot about finance that was not learned formally, and I learned a lot about leadership and management that was not learned formally, so I added that into my cv, and when I was in interviewed I talked about that because I didn't really have a lot of experience, so I talked about skills that were gleaned from other areas of my life.
Thank you and that's a very smart approach. That's something I don't think a lot of students recognize and they usually sacrifice their grades to get that experience in their undergraduate careers, just so they could find a job after.
Okay, yeah getting that experience is hard nowadays. Where do you get that experience from? Drawing on your own, if you are a barista, if you've done customer service, those are hard skills, list them on your cv, talk about them. Employers, they will listen, it's hard to recruit. It really is, so an employer, if you list them, you make their job easier, so they don't have to guess, so don't be afraid to list them truly.
Thank you, and you talked about soft skills and soft professional skills, so what is one skill set that students in healthcare, especially, should have today that will help them in their future careers? So for example, looking at some of the students that are working in the HLLN, so something that is applicable today for students?
Again, these are great questions, they're so well thought out. I'm going to say leadership, but not leadership, you don't have to have been a CEO or anybody, but period leadership in the form of being able to self-advocate and advocate for what you're passionate about, to make a case that's it just it, and that's a, I hesitate to call it leadership, but I don't know what else to call it, and we struggle with that in HLLN, but it's leadership to advocate for whatever you're working on and to make a case and do it in a way that is understandable and relatable to the person you're discussing that with, because that is the essence of what is needed in healthcare today, where whatever level you're working at, you could be working right at the front-line serving people in the inner city and your job perhaps is, I don't know, to connect them to services. You're definitely not the CEO but you can still lead in that role by advocating, by acquiring whatever additional knowledge you need to know, by self-teaching, that's leadership too, and by applying perhaps innovation, that's leadership as well, and then maybe building a case where needed to say to your employer "you know what, perhaps we should try it this way because this is what I'm finding our clients really need" and making suggestions showing that taking the initiative and showing that frontline leadership.
Yeah, thank you. I completely understand. Oh, sorry go ahead.
And I know you've got it. I know because in your undergraduate programs there's a thread running through it where you're perhaps in your third- and fourth-year level courses, your professors have set some expectations around some leadership skills and taking some initiative and maybe using critical analysis, so you can draw from that if you're still in your undergraduate. You could even talk to your professors about "so what do you think the leadership skills have been coming out of this particular course, you know we worked on this and did some critical analysis here, can I consider that leadership?" and see what they think. That way you should build your own frame of reference around your own skill set. Sorry I interrupted you Farwa, but just want to slip that in.
Oh, no problem. Thank you for expanding and clarifying, and I completely understand, and this is incredible advice, and leadership is just one word but there are so many aspects that you just listed.
So, it really gives to be mindful of that and I have to be focused on that because that's the way to your graduate career without doing anything, any extra jobs or any extra experience.
Right, even if you're applying, you're right about graduate work, like I've talked to faculty members about what they're looking for in their graduate students, and leadership is a tick box, the independence, the critical thinking, you know the grades definitely, but also showing taking of initiative, and showing just independent personal leadership.
Definitely yes, and going back towards your experience in adult professional learning, I wanted to ask if there are some ways for young healthcare professionals or new graduates to take part in the adult professional learning or in the health education industry, because from the get go, these industries kind of sound like they would require some experience, they would require additional degrees, so would there be some way for new graduates to take part in these initiatives and industries?
There are there are again it's not a direct pathway, but I'm going to make some suggestions and it comes out of our health degrees, if whatever, like we've got some really perfect health degrees that can provide subject matter expertise, for example to health education, whether it's health education for professionals offered through university or college, or could be offered by a private provider of education, or within the health care system itself they usually have professional practice offices or human resources that oversees education, or they have faculty development offices. So, as a graduate in your particular programs, whether you're kinesiology or psychology, you have some skills that you can already bring into building education because you've got some knowledge about that particular industry that you've been educated in, like psychology or global health, that's one way in.
If you'd like to go into health education, perhaps you want to volunteer or take a summer job in a health education provider environment, like with school of continuing studies or with us, we have a student actually in global health that works for us, or with Schulich executive education, they train you in how they deliver that education, the business model of how they provide it, you learn a lot and in a short period of time, and that can go on your CV you know "I have worked in health education", it's a starting point. I have found instructional designers, yes, there's a lot of courses out there that will train you in the technology, but a lot of these people are self-trained and they're very good. We do a lot of marketing and public relations and strategic outreach they require research skills, so if you have research skills already from your undergraduate they're very useful even if you've done like a fourth year independent study that's a good solid foundation for research skills and research is used in marketing so it's another way in, you know, to do oh some quick research work if they've posted a job and you're looking for something in health education, so it's a way in and then you get in and perhaps you get on the job training and then perhaps they want to keep you, or perhaps they want to pay for you to go and take additional education, which can happen when you work with large organizations like a hospital, they will pay for your training.
Any questions about that? because I'm happy to expand if anyone's curious as to or has the questions about specifically.
Okay we'll come back to that okay yeah you can post your question in the chat where I can read it to Tania. So now I have a separate question so some more for the field of health management and global health, so I was wondering is it important for students to have practical health care experience, so for example all the health management and all the global health professionals that we know of has a doctor in front of the title, they're a physician, they're a nurse, and they have practical experience and now they want to move into the health management field. So is it possible for students to find jobs and get that experience after the graduate with just a degree in global health or health management and no prior experience in the practical fields of health care? So for example, in hospitals and clinics so if that's something that the job market has been doing these days?
Right, well we do on its surface, we do appear to have a system that you need these advanced degrees in order to get in, and MDs and RNs do hold a lot of management leadership positions in healthcare, especially in our acute care system, so there are other ways in, and perhaps Toronto and other urban centers are going to be harder to get into say hospitals and work without having those more advanced degrees. So you're going to need to I think, and I educate these people all the time, and they're always asking you know what additionally I can use to get to this career, and I always say to them diversify your options. Perhaps you're living outside of Toronto in more of a community setting, where the layers of the leadership in the organization are a little thinner and they're more open to hiring somebody up through the ranks from a starting position and train them, and or hiring someone who doesn't have those advanced degrees, but they have other skills that they're bringing to the table, like they've got some leadership, maybe project management skill sets. No additional formal education around project management, but they've got some skill sets that they've built and so like if you work in the, perhaps you want to live in the Muskoka area, or maybe in work in more northern areas of York region or in Durham or Peel or maybe across Ontario, if you're going home or other provinces. If you're going home and you live in communities that are not as urbanized, there I have found community hospitals or community settings for healthcare have more opportunities for people who come with skills as opposed to degrees, and I was actually talking to a VP of human resources earlier last year just as COVID-19 hit and asked him, so what's the hiring situation like and he's like well "we're desperate for people, we're transitioning people you know with fewer formal skill sets into jobs then just training them up" because the human resource people aren't available and it's hard to hire the hiring processes longer if you're looking for specific degrees so they're willing to train you.
So I guess what I'm saying is urban centers are tougher, but if you are willing to move out into less urban more community settings, may be much easier, because their skill requirements, not that they're running a higher risk, their organization is just, they just don't have the pool of candidates to recruit, so they're willing to understand that they need to extend that candidate pool to other people who may be just as qualified to do the job. Now I'm going to give you a little Achilles heel of those physicians and nurses who seem to take up those say roles in healthcare management. The Achilles heel, and they will admit to this, is that they don't have any formal leadership training or management training or finance training. Nothing, they go into a cold predominantly. I know I train a lot of them through our programs if we run a clinical leadership program and a director of care certificate and clinical leadership program, they don't have any formal management training whatsoever, but you may have it informally, but you've got it, or you've gotten it in your program, so you may have a leg up on them actually. So know that they do have an Achilles heel. Now experience in healthcare, yes that can be a tipping point for a hiring manager is they're looking for some experience, so be aware of that when you're scouting out jobs in the marketplace, what it's as if you have to comb through a variety of job summaries to see what they're looking for, how what
level years of experience they want, or if they are willing to accept something else like experiential learning you may have had in your undergraduate program, working on projects that you may have had in your undergraduate program, collective projects where you've maybe got data. It's not within an organization but you're still working in a simulated environment, maybe you want to volunteer for a healthcare organization to see if someone would take you on as a volunteer or maybe a coordinator or a assistant role in something small so you get in there. I went in through research because research is actually quite straightforward, to get experience in healthcare is take on a research job research position in a hospital or healthcare environment , and suddenly you're right in the midst of it and you can get some healthcare experience. I hope that's answered that question, again it's a little bit of a twisty windy approach.
Thank you, it definitely did because my follow-up question was: what are some of the leadership things that students can do in their undergraduate career? So you answered that as well, thank you and thank you so much those were some really good points, and especially about the Achilles heel that is so interesting to know. I would never have guessed that.
Yeah, I've even had health care executives absolutely admit to this and they try and acquire the education, but it's hard if you're working as a full-time nurse to then go and you know take a formal leadership program. They're usually looking for something informal or through non-degree non-credit, so this extends to other professions whether it's physical therapists or the allied health professions as well who will be in the same boat no formal leadership experience yeah.
Definitely, and your bio mentions that you're spearheading the use of micro-credentials and digital credentials and the health leadership and learning network, so can you please elaborate on what that could mean for careers and healthcare going forward?
Yes happy to, a micro credential is a new approach to education, whereby the outcome can be a little faster in terms of how you can acquire it, and closer to your career goals because you can develop micro-credentials that become like your own personal constellation of skill sets and knowledge and competencies that are more targeted towards the career you're targeting, and their micro- credentials are easier for an employer to understand. Yes, a degree speaks volumes in terms of basic skills and qualifications, having a degree in x, but when it comes to those for the stem skills, or the hard skills...can this person do quantitative analysis for health services research? That's a hard skill
in that that stem or what I call the vertical part of the T professional, but then there are those softer skills, which are harder to quantify like leadership for example, very hard to quantify.
The micro credential will give a lot of specific detail about that leadership micro-credential skill, and what was done to acquire that skill set, what evaluation was completed, and even how the student did. It declares a little bit in more detail to the employer the specifics of what that student has achieved that person has achieved, so the employer can go "oh I get this, they've got these specific skills and leadership that and I can more easily crosswalk that with the job summary." So micro-credentials, I'm positive you already have some even though they weren't called micro-credentials, but they're little soft skills you've picked up along the way which list in your CV, like if you've got a little bit of project management, a little leadership, list them. But education organizations like York are working to make those micro-credentials a little bit more formal and explicit and provide them to students on a more regular basis, because they're a brand-new way to provide education. Brand new in Canada, we're all still figuring out how to get them to you in a way that's most useful, yet still validated so that whatever employer you show them to, the employer goes "yes I can trust that that is meaningful for me, I'm going to click on the metadata, that's meaningful and I can trust that York University is providing me with information I can use." Yeah that's at least a little bite size, 90 minutes maybe no more than a few weeks of learning, and then you take it away as a possible digital representation like a digital badge which you can then host inside of your social media platform, your LinkedIn platform, your LinkedIn account, or your own wallet that you would share say with an employer to show them all your micro-credentials.
Sorry, Tania I've heard you use this term a couple of times, the "T professional", can you explain that please?
Yes happy too. Sorry if I used this jargon without explaining it. The “T professional” is a term usually used by human resources departments when they are profiling people that they want to hire and they're trying to figure out who they want to hire, or need to hire, and the hiring is usually comes from the manager who says "I need to hire these skills" then the human resources professional says okay, they use a T professional methodology which is the vertical, is the deep skill sets, the hard skills of as I said maybe it's qualitative research methods or maybe it's evaluation, you have expertise in program evaluation for mental health. So, they'll actually list them inside that vertical T and then they apply the horizontal where is all the soft skills are listed, and like leadership, management is in there as a soft skill because it's transferable. These are all the transferable skills: communication, building trust, negotiation, even the basics of finance may be in there because that could be transferable to all these soft skills that you can move around from job to job, because they're not specific to the role, but they're peripheral to it and they support it.
So when you see a job summary you can see all those T skills in there, in the list of qualifications are usually that vertical, but the horizontal is everything else, the longer list represents that horizontal and it's an industry way for for HR professionals to support hiring into health care in a consistent way that they can then go back and collect metrics on how well they did to hire into that position. It's been in use for the last 10 years, so if you can match up to it and you'll see it in the job summaries, you can sort of get your mind into the head of the HR professional who may be interviewing you and it's easy for them to understand how to assess the vertical, but it's hard for them to understand how to assess the horizontal, so if you could position your skills and those soft skills better and more easy for them to understand, the better chances you'll have of perhaps getting an interview or talking to somebody. I'm not saying it's a sure-fire way, but it just gets you perhaps a little bit closer.
Thank you, Tania. I have a follow-up comment or question to your answer, so does that mean that there is a gap in the health education or maybe the career exploration field, where students need to be mentored in having listing these skills and what could be transferable to their job interviews, or whenever they're making like their CV? So, is that something that could be addressed at a university level or maybe in at the level of health education? So, what are your thoughts about on that?
So, are you asking if there is a gap in the industry where human resources are needed in that area, it's like health education, there is an industry gap and more people are needed so build your skills to get hired in because there's a gap, is that what you're asking?
And also like a gap in this mentorship for students where they could develop these skills, so having
resources and having this kind of education where it's just only focusing on their skill sets and what you mentioned before.
Okay, there's definitely a gap in any formal training, this really isn't unless you go to the specific roles of say an instructional designer. I know there's certificate programs around that or if you are trained as a marketer and a public relations person that has a specific skill set, for my role there is no formal training you acquire the skills and depending on what the organization is looking for they may hire you.
There is I think a gap in the number of people currently in health education that are serving professional audiences, a huge gap. We don't have enough professional education centers for health care, we just don't and COVID-19, my goodness, it's created an even larger gap. Healthcare education is usually served by professional practice offices sitting inside of healthcare organizations, usually run by nurses, or the faculty development office is usually overseen by physicians. Their time is really precious right now because they're providing clinical care so there's definitely a gap in their ability to provide education to themselves. So I guess you could say this is a job marketplace that is opening up, but gaining the skills, yes is a sort of windy twisty way to get there. Certainly if you approached it by maybe saying "you know what I'm going to maybe do a summer stint with school of continuing studies maybe at McMaster or wherever you are, whoever want to be, and test out the waters, that's a good way to start to get into this industry or volunteering if they'll let you do that, or using your knowledge from your degree to perhaps support some work that they're doing, maybe again as a student or from some summer work to get in on the groundwork, learn what the business is all about and then perhaps stay in it.
Thank you, Tania. There's a comment from Bayley in the chat, it says "I see that gap and I work with a lot of students who a) don't know how to articulate their accomplishments and b) don't realize that they have transferable skills that they can talk about on their resumes”, and that's exactly what I mean. Like in undergraduate careers it's all about okay you need to get good grades maybe do some group work, but there's not really focus on the skills, so that's something I think could be very useful for students especially in their undergrad careers, and that's something that's definitely going to help them when they want to you know apply for jobs, or if they're not looking for more education but just want to you know get started by working in whatever field they want to enter. Yes, that's what you mentioned in your answer is exactly what a lot of students need to know and thank you for sharing that.
Yeah, and a way to get started again and assessing your own skills, even in your undergraduate, is pull some job summaries. One way is pulling some job summaries in the direction you want to go for your career. Maybe the job you envision as your ideal, pull those summaries off of monster.ca or whatever job search engine you've access to, see what's in there, compare that to what you already have in your degree, but you'll have to sort of go through your memory banks, "have I done that? Have I done collaborative work with people? Have I done some team leadership in the past?" Start to quantify it, I would advise to start to just quantify it, you could even maybe talk to people you trust who are good advisors, it could be your parents, friends, colleagues, brothers, sisters, former employers, current employers, professors, whoever you feel could help you kind of quantify your past experience and get it down on paper, and see how it compares and see where you feel your gaps are, and then help you brainstorm: so where can I acquire these additional little gaps in knowledge or experience.
Definitely, self-reflection piece is so key right, I think a lot of students who maybe haven't had the opportunity to work or volunteer yet may think like "oh I'm just a student, like what skills do I have" but you know if you've ever like worked hard and diligently on a project, like that shows strong work ethic right, if you've worked on a team project and maybe you kind of led that project, like you've got project management skills, if you've written a research essay, you've got some research skills. So, I think it's really getting students to think about the things that they have done and how that can transfer and translate into work experience as well.
Right, it can it maybe get you in the door because you'll list it. I've had this in my undergrad experience, I worked in a group, I led the group. You definitely have critical analysis skills, hands down if you're graduating three year or four-year degree, but that's just one of many skills you probably already have, even if you worked as a barista or you serve tables, you probably got the basics of finance skills too, because you've had to calculate, you know prices and work with dollars and cents, you definitely have customer service skills, you know, how to work with customers or you've had training say from that employer, maybe Starbucks gave you some training that you can then list in your CV, I've got customer service training, it's very valid and then you can pick and choose what you want to present to whichever employer when you submit your CV as an application or to graduate school what you want to show them as well.
Yeah definitely, sorry sort of cutting you off there Tania. Yeah, definitely and especially it's so important for students to actually articulate their skills and like they release that self-reflection, it's so important.
Yeah, and thank you for expanding on that and thank you for explaining that. The next question I have is kind of a fun question for you maybe, so what advice would you give to your 20-year-old-self?
Oh yes, oh boy it's a long list but let's see. I know it sounds a little high level but follow your passion, stick with it, be true to your passion, what you're passionate about because it will take you into good places, and don't be afraid of uncertainty, when you embark on your career to get where you want to get it's daunting, don't be afraid, stay in the moment and be true to what you're passionate about. That passion, they don't list it on a a job summary when they're posting a job, but when you're in front of someone within getting a job interview, or perhaps talking to a potential coach and mentor or someone you're just networking with, that passion or aliveness you feel about what the subject matter is or what you want to do is a tick box on "will I work with this person" because they see in you that you're bringing to the table your commitment and that they can trust you in what they're going to work with you on, that you are committed and you're going to put your mind to it and move it forward, whatever they're going to work with you on, and that's something that's not easy to quantify on a job summary. They'll usually just say works well in teams, is independent. Well that's what they mean, you're bringing your passion to the table but we could say it does go a long way, I've seen a lot of people you know who didn't necessarily have the expertise, but the hiring manager saw a lot of passion in them and said your passion and innovation I can you know this is good, tick box up to the top of the list, then again it's not a guarantee.
You've got to temper this with the reality of our economic situation that's around us, but your passion I would say to my 20-year-old self "let your passion buoy you up and keep you motivated and don't lose sight of what you really want, because you need to be happy in your life you need to have contentment and happiness. You know it's because your job isn't the only thing in your life, so you really need to be happy about it and because you take that into other aspects of your life.
Exactly, yeah thank you so much for this wonderful advice, it's something that sticks with us as students and especially like as 20 years old. It does stick with us that we need to think about longer term and not just you know "what I'm going to do after graduating? what I'm going to do next semester?" Yeah, thank you for that, and just before we wrap up if you could leave students with some advice concerning their professional development, so who want to be future leaders in health, what would it be?
Again this will sound really high level, if you're staying in healthcare lead with your passion and your heart, you can't go wrong with them, I know you've got a lot of knowledge and you want to apply it, but if you're leading with your heart you're leading with a sense of commitment to keeping people healthier and doing what's right and there's you know, you carry with you sort of your morals and ethics and your values in the back of your mind at all times, and in healthcare values are so important especially right now with dealing with the pandemic. So, if you're going to stay in healthcare keep them solid in your mind: your sense of values, what you value, what you're passionate about and what your heart says it wants to do. It will take you a long way there, really will. This value system underlies everything in health care, I know they talk about policy and systems, and everybody worries about how health care is funded, but you there's an underlying value system which is deeply strong and connect into it, and make sure it connects to what you value, and it will help you make good decisions for your career and for what you do in your job as well, wherever you land.
One hundred percent, having values and having that kind of self-reflection is so important when you're basically planning your life. Yeah thank you for that and we don't have any more questions in the audience. I'm just going to give two to three minutes if you want to share any comments or any questions for Tania.
Yes please, anyone.
Hi Tania, thank you so much for that. My notes are like all over the place but I can probably come up with some questions, did you say you run a clinical leadership program at York? Can you tell me more about that?
Yes definitely, we believe clinical leadership on the clinical side, these are healthcare professionals, or they're trained in health, it doesn't have to mean they're licensed professional, they could be healthcare management, that they perform management and leadership on a daily basis and they may be lacking
in training, so we've come up with a clinical leadership program that can address their needs when they're right at the front line working with patients, or perhaps they're managing some aspects of a clinical team, or if it's an administration and perhaps they're managing systems around a clinical service. The clinical leader, it's key that they understand how to communicate, build trust, negotiate, advocate, find their own voice amongst voices that may be more of corporate and fiscal in nature, and so that they can advocate for the needs of their various clinical programs that they may be overseeing. So that's the gap it fills, the program doesn't speak to any specific management theory, we focus a lot on understanding complexity and that our health care system exists in a very deeply complex environment and that one answer isn't necessarily good for all situations. We recognize that risk, a quality of care, and patient safety factor into our decisions, so as clinical leaders we've included that in our program where, you know, you're assessing your data, you know, what is my quality data saying to me? How do I interpret that? And how do I add on maybe also other factors like the human factors onto that to make a decision?
It's not always you know X decision, could be variety of decisions which are good, and then advocating for that variety in the kinds of decision making you need to make, because the corporate services side of the healthcare business, and it is a business truly at its heart it works on checks and balances, it's
always X versus yes or no, whereas on the clinical side you're going to say it's no we need a "maybe". We need a "maybe" as clinical leaders. So that's what we train you to do, and we usually work with people who have are on a succession plan to get into a clinical leadership role, or people who are already clinical leaders, but we are working on a program for new graduates or people who are about to graduate to sort of give them some foundational knowledge, an understanding of clinical leadership and how to build their clinical leadership skill set.
Thank you. I can think of like more questions, so the research position that you first had at BayCrest, how did you find that position and was it like a volunteer thing or was it paid and what were you like researching about um geriatrics?
So, I found that position through the Career Center at York University, it was listed there amongst others. I applied to a bunch of jobs list that I got through the Career Center. I was in my fourth year just graduating and I had access to the Career Center, so they helped me write a resume and submit my first applications, and I was hired because I had done some specialized work in statistics in my psychology undergraduate degree. I was a stats TA, Paul Herzberg was running a course many years ago, where he had undergraduate TAs, so I was one of them because I focused in on stats, it was one of my favorite subjects and then so I found the job and they were looking for geriatric experience which I'd gotten as a volunteer, and the statistics because they needed someone who could run programs in SAS and SPSS. So, they were a good match, and it was not a volunteer position, it was paid. I was a coordinator hired on a short-term contract for like 12 months. it was funded through a research project. this system still exists today, researchers who are who have soft money who will hire research assistance on soft money for you know 12-to-18-month contracts in research, if you come in with some basic research skills and some basic knowledge of perhaps the area, they're in. It's a good way to get into health industry too, if there are clinician scientists they appointed at hospitals or other organizations.
Thank you, that's really good to know about the career center. And when you're doing the research for all these years, like how do you know that you wanted to go into like what you're doing like with the leadership and stuff?
Oh I was exposed to other departments at BayCrest, like education and in psychiatry, social work, I had a bird's eye view of a lot of other departments in BayCrest and just helped me figure out "oh well I like that that's really neat" like I decided I really liked health services research and I wanted to give that a try and get a job in that area, and I really liked health education. I liked setting up conferences which we would do, so I was just experimenting and getting to know, and I was in my twenties and then when I was ready to move, I connected to a few people that were like, I made some friends in medicine at BayCrest and said could you introduce me to your friend who's over here at St. Michael's and see if they would talk to me because I think they've got a they've got a job posting? So that's another way to network. Yeah and also figure out if that's for you, if you just have an informal discussion with somebody in the industry like maybe they're the chair in, I don't know, infant mental health at Sick Kids and just have a discussion with them about what you know the area is like, and what goes on and you know what the career is like, and people give you that information and maybe it helps you figure out is this really for me, maybe I'll take another path.
You're welcome. I hope that helped you. Can I ask Alexa what program you're in at York or have you graduated?
I'm in my first year of kinesiology.
Wonderful, well all the best for you in Kinesiology, it's a great program. My daughter just graduated out of it and she had a wonderful experience.
What is she doing now?
She's applied to graduate school at York and Queens and Windsor, and she wants to pursue research in high performance athletes, and then she wants to go back and get a job in the industry working for like organizations, like associations organizations, that oversee particular sports, like hockey, and to see if she can advise them on high.
Okay. Thank you, Alexa, for the questions, and thank you Tania so much for your time and staying back and your incredible advice, and for sharing your experiences. Yeah, thank you so much everyone for staying back and I hope you found this such section useful and again it will be recorded, and I'll put it on the website in case you want to revisit it later and yeah thank you so much for joining and thank you so much for listening, and I hope you have a great rest of your day, great weekend. We'll see you next week or happy reading week too.
Thank you everyone. Thank you. Bye-bye now.