Jobs in digital technologies, and even more so in leadership positions, are historically filled by men mostly. “Women represent 65% of the workforce and make 80% of purchase and usage decisions,” a report from consulting firm Oliver Wyman explains. “Healthcare does not have a ‘women in healthcare’ problem, it has a ‘women in healthcare leadership’ problem.”
Women like Shannon Woodis are lessening the divide by demonstrating what she and other women have to offer – innovative leadership with a drive to make a significant impact on the lives of health care customers and patients everywhere and to inspire the future of health information and technology.
Throughout her career, Woodis has gravitated toward operational roles. She began in federal contracting as part of a team of subject matter experts assisting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the strategic planning and development of their Emergency Operations Center. This led to several project management roles that increased in scope and complexity over time. Prior to her current role, Woodis served as operations manager, engaging in numerous functions, including capture management, special projects, proposal management and other program execution activities – building on her curiosity and willingness to work outside her comfort zone.
As public health portfolio director for Leidos Health Group, she draws on her previous experience to assemble teams that advance public health programs.
“Be authentic and empower yourself by seeking to understand your strengths and then maximize them.”
Woodis stresses collaboration with mentors to help establish goals. She believes encouragement and constructive feedback are an important part of professional growth, and engaging with experts in your industry also has the added advantage of opening doors.
“Practice the art of resiliency by learning from challenges and maintaining a positive outlook,” says Woodis. She also recommends to navigate through the inevitable changes that come along in your career.
“I am a big believer in showing up with a smile,” says Woodis. Try to infuse a little light-heartedness in a positive way to lighten the mood for the team. Acknowledge a sense of anxiety, but strive to be future focused with the team.
“Focus on what we can control,” she goes on, and work with the team to integrate change and develop a plan that is in alignment.
“Accept that change is inevitable, embrace it and focus on the opportunities that may come with change,” Woodis offers on a personal tip. She recommends reminding yourself of other big changes and how positive impact was seen as a result.
She also suggests finding healthy ways to destress, like exercise — often during exercise, ideas and ways to adjust become clearer.
Woodis also utilizes her trusted mentors and confidants to help brainstorm ideas. “If I waiver in confidence, they remind me I can do hard things.”
“The most important lesson for me has been to remember the sentiment of a quote I heard many years ago – 'Nothing grows in your comfort zone.’”
From early in her career, Woodis endeavored to be actively involved in every project she encountered and always sought to use her curiosity. She made herself available to learn and participate in a variety of activities, often outside of her primary job duties, all of which added to her skillset and ultimately led to growth opportunities and new positions.
“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with incredible professionals that provide me with inspiration every day.”
Woodis and her team leverage their collective perspectives and ideas to add value and make a positive impact on customers’ missions. Leaders like Woodis not only advance in their own careers but help to build a launch pad for others to lead and inspire the health information and technology industry.