I learned at a very young age that I had a knack for assessing the needs in others. I’m the baby in my family, and my three siblings are 8, 10, and 13 years older than me. My sisters both had waitressing jobs, and I can remember them complaining about their aching backs and feet when they’d come home from their long shifts. At 9 years old, I naturally decided to capitalize on their suffering by hanging up a “Masseuse” sign (spelled “Masooze” with perhaps some backwards letters) on my bedroom door and charging them $1 for 15 minutes. Half the time they’d actually pay me, but almost all of the time I just wanted my sisters to feel better.
I applied this mentality to the rest of my life. I was the neighborhood therapist without a matching degree. I was drawn to behavioral health, and spent five years working inpatient and outpatient at a Psychiatric Hospital. I worked in medical records, handled the front desk and initial intake, and eventually became a Human Rights Officer. Listening to the struggles and needs of the patients changed my perspective on just about everything I had previously known. I continued my career in Healthcare, helping patients navigate the ever-complex healthcare system and access care from high-quality providers.
I met Christine Miles at my employer’s annual Company Meeting, where she hosted workshops that resonated with me long after we left and went back to work. I knew that I had to connect with her to learn anything and everything she could teach me about listening, empathy, and people. I immediately felt the importance and urgency to apply these skills to how I interact with my co-workers, my loved ones, and myself (because, let’s face it, I have needs too).