Movin’ on up! Tips for scaling HIT peaks
February 24, 2014 in Medical Technology
When Emma Cartmell worked in Great Britain, she was told that to get promoted, she had to keep her head down for 10 years and wait her turn. For a go-getter like Cartmell, that wasn’t good enough.
In the decade since being told to wait, Cartmell moved to the U.S., started at the bottom of an IT start-up in Austin, Texas, and with amazing speed was made vice president of healthcare advanced programs and director of health solutions business development and strategy at SAIC in Washington, became COO of personalized medicine at Abraxis BioScience in Los Angeles, and then the COO of a billion-dollar private equity fund.
Cartmell shared her career path with HIMSS14 attendees Monday at the Career Services Center, and offered insights to young people looking for opportunities in healthcare IT.
“Sitting and behaving were not options for me,” said Cartmell, who is currently a partner at Exsede, an Austin, Texas-based consulting firm focused on helping HIT companies grow revenue.
“Get involved” was a central theme in Cartmell’s rise, as well as the core of her message to HIMSS14 attendees. Getting involved means diving into the details of your business, taking every opportunity to learn from customers and being an engaged team member at the office.
“Take calculated risks, learn all you can, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty,” she said. “When I started, I was the only woman at my company, and I learned that sometimes it’s easier to work your way up if you become one of the boys and win respect.”
A few years ago, when Cartmell learned that HIMSS had no Austin, Texas chapter, she decided to launch one herself. She also participated in HIMSS National Advocacy efforts while working in Washington. The transition from contributor to leader is hard work, Cartmell acknowledged, but very rewarding.
“To be a good leader, I had to learn that I didn’t need to be the smartest person in the room, but I had to make sure I brought the smartest people into the room,” she said.
While there is no short route to success, Cartmell provides a good three-point template for accomplishment in the business world: “Be determined, always actively learning, and build the right team around you.”