Let me introduce you to Marie Stangl, a businesswoman, who through thoughtful approach and her willingness to say yes to opportunities has earned her way to serve as Associate Vice President with the largest non-profit Catholic healthcare organization in the country. Her approach to career development is a roadmap that other young women can use when beginning their careers. Stangl entered the workforce as a Health Information Manager at University of New Mexico Hospital after earning a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Administration from The College of St. Scholastica and a Master of Business Administration from University of St. Thomas—Minnesota. From the beginning of her career, she has always known that she wanted to climb and become a director, however she lacked experience coming out of college. Her strategy to remedy this was multi-step. Stangl would take positions that came with several problems that needed solving, attack the role until satisfied with the outcomes, then write what she learned on her resume and apply for the next level. Stangl credits her openness and curiosity as the traits that have allowed her to grow into the person she is today. Over her career she has learned to make herself available and to say yes to opportunities that come her way, as this allows her to grow in her career and as a person. And, when given free time in the day, she ensures she fills it with something worthwhile, which has led to her success in business and her constantly growing mind. For example, she starts every day by reading for 30 minutes in order to stay relevant. Continuous learning is one of the most important priorities to Marie Stangl, proven by her multiple degrees and certificates. Stangl’s rise to leadership wasn’t without obstacles, but she quickly learned how to overcome them, making her a stronger and more resilient leader. She knew that as a young woman in business, people wouldn’t take her word for anything, so she always made sure to have data to back herself up. She was constantly underestimated, but she dedicated herself to creating positive outcomes and used her reputation of achievement to compel her coworkers to have faith in her. Because of this she gained credibility and relevant experience, allowing her to get a position at Ascension Technologies, where she has worked for fourteen years. Stangl had never held a role in technology before, but in keeping with her mantra to say yes to possibilities, she has learned the most during her time with Ascension than at any other point in her career. Staying present in the moment, listening, and maintaining a perpetual beginner’s mindset have been, and continue to be, the best decisions she’s made in her career. By acknowledging that she always has more to learn, she is able to remain humble and take advice from others. Many girls are dissuaded from pursuing careers in male dominated fields because it has historically been harder for women to break into leadership roles or simply be taken seriously. While she had to deal with misogyny in her career, she believes that women entering the workforce today don’t have to experience the same sexism. Her advice for girls wanting to pursue a career in a male-dominated field is to “go for it. What’s stopping you?” Because of diversity programs, girls have more opportunities than ever before. There are several scholarships available to women because people are trying to diversify the workplace, and Stangl encourages girls to pursue them. She also recommends finding female mentors early. While Stangl believes that every challenge and hurdle she’s experienced have had their roles in shaping her into the leader she is today, if she were to change one thing she wouldn’t have focused on perfection, rather, she would have focused on progress. Women tend to focus on perfectionism, but this often keeps them behind. She has learned that success comes when people hold themselves to the standard of constantly growing and doing better every time, rather than devoting themselves to one thing until it is perfect. So, in the words of Marie Stangl - “go for it!” Put perfectionism aside and focus on each step leading in your journey of progress.
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