To celebrate Women’s History Month this year, we brought together leaders from across Aspen RxHealth to share their thoughts on leadership, challenges along the way, and how they’ve overcome barriers.
- Audrey Bailey – Manager, Project Management
- Brianna Chandler – Manager, Operations
- Colleen Ly – Manager, Growth Marketing
- Page Ikeda – Vice President, Product
Who or what inspired you to become the leader you are today?
Page: I’ve been fortunate to work with several great leaders and took away aspects of their leadership styles that I found the most inspiring. I’ve always valued transparent and vulnerable leaders. It’s harmful to your team to hide uncertainty or to not offer the opportunity to think out loud and work through issues openly. Learning that your leaders do not always have the answers right away and witnessing how they work though problems can be an invaluable learning experience. There will be good times and tough times in any job, and I have always appreciated leaders who are quick to credit others and not themselves as well as leaders who step up to protect and support their teams. As a leader, it’s important to recognize when your team can handle themselves and when they need support.
Audrey: I had a mentor at my first corporate job that took me under her wing. She was a strong confident leader in her field, an attorney, which is still a male dominated industry. She taught me the value of networking and gave me exposure to leadership—from management up to the board level. She challenged me and cultivated my talents. When she saw there were no growth opportunities for me her department, she helped me get my first job in IT. I entered this new world, directing leaders in all divisions of our company, leading our business continuity and disaster recovery efforts. I am forever grateful to her for taking a chance on me and giving me the nudge I needed to start my IT career.
Brianna: Our SVP of Pharmacy Services, Kim Russo, is my SHERO! I couldn’t ask for a better leader than Kim. She constantly pushes and challenges me in a positive way to develop and grow as a leader. She’s the reason I have the voice that I have today.
Colleen: My parents are the hardest-working people I know. They came to the US with very little, learned a new language, started a business, and raised a family. Witnessing and experiencing their struggles and wins as I grew up instilled in me a desire to succeed and persevere. They’ve always pushed me to do my best and continue to be my biggest supporters today.
How do you think women can support each other as leaders?
Colleen: Women share a diverse and expansive community! When we are open-minded and inclusive, we expand our diversity of thought, resources, and ability to be empathetic and supportive towards one another. At Aspen RxHealth, we believe diversity is a superpower, and I can’t agree more!
Brianna: As women, we can support each other by learning each other’s weaknesses and strengths, providing spaces to express and resolve conflict and encourage others around us. Being a leader can be challenging at times but there is always strength in numbers!
Page: Being a woman in the technology industry has not always been as common as it is today, and I have found that confidence issues can arise when you don’t feel you have a seat at the table. Great leaders always reinforce the notion that “yes, you belong here” and “yes, you know what you are talking about” and I try to do the same. I think it is also important for women to tell each other that it is not expected that they do it all. Having a career and being a mother simultaneously is so challenging. Women leaders need to support each other in not accepting unreasonable standards and communicating that it is ok to make decisions that prioritize family over work.
Audrey: We have to continue to celebrate each other’s successes. Often as women leaders, we may feel we’re in competition with one another, but our strength comes from supporting each other rather than competing for success.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a leader and how did you overcome it?
Brianna: The biggest challenge I’ve faced were the questions that arose when I stepped into my role as Operations Manager. How would I handle conflict? How can I transition to individual contributor to manager? How will I speak for my team? These are only a few of the questions that circulated in my mind. The answer to all these questions is what I’ve always enjoyed about being a part of Aspen RxHealth—support. I support my team in everything and they’ve supported me and cheered me on as I’ve grown into my role.
Audrey: Early on in my IT career, I struggled as a female leader in such a male dominated field. At times, I wasn’t taken seriously and was questioned about my understanding of a particular topic. I overcame this challenge by leaning on my mentors and was blessed with many leaders that saw my talent and continued to give me exposure and invested in my growth. Today I am stronger for it, and I look forward to opportunities to help support and uplift the next generation of women technology leaders.
Colleen: My biggest challenge was overcoming my own fears and doubts. Fear of failure paralyzed my decision making and prevented me from speaking my truth. However, as I grew more comfortable, and with the support of my wonderful coworkers and leaders, I’ve learned that embracing failures has helped me grow more than fear ever could! Learning from mistakes can sometimes be difficult, but it is always rewarding because I know it’s another part of the journey to becoming a better leader. Humility and confidence go hand-in-hand. It’s always a work in progress, but I’m proud that the lessons I’ve learned from my mistakes have led me to where I am today.
Page: Some of my biggest challenges have come at times when decisions must be made in times of poor company performance. The technology industry has had many ups and downs and as leader I have been responsible for having difficult conversations with my team. Empathy, openness, and honesty are always the best way to handle these situations. We are all professionals, and our relationships grow stronger by facing difficult decisions and supporting each other.
Honor and support the women in your life
March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day! Take time this month to recognize and show gratitude for the inspirational women you’ve met along the way.
Follow along with these women leaders and all of the Aspen RxHealth team by following us on LinkedIn!