What’s your role at Ursa Health, and what do you do?
I am the operational project manager and the first person at Ursa Health fully dedicated to the Project Management Office, which we hope to grow over time. I am helping systematize what we do via project plans, templates, things of that nature, because so much of what it takes to onboard and service clients can be repeated. And it helps our internal teams to have a better understanding of which tasks are due today, this week, and so on. Right now, I’m participating in a lot of client meetings to better understand how Ursa works and how different projects play out so I can design the right templates.
I’m also tasked with managing internal projects, such as software releases and certifications. For example, I’ll work with Ryan [Ursa Health’s director of knowledge and primary client trainer] to create a training manual for new hires to help them get up to speed on Ursa Studio. Anything with a due date, you can create a template for managing!
Can you share a little about your background?
I worked in consulting at a boutique firm, which, like Ursa Health, was relatively small. So I got to wear many hats. And out of all the projects I worked on, I really liked being in a project management position. It’s a bit of a jack-of-all trades role, where you need to know a little bit about everything but you don’t actually have to do those things. I love that you get to interact with a wide group of people every day, and a lot of that is one-on-one time. That really meshes well with my personality.
What makes a good project manager?
Well, the obvious thing is being organized, but also it’s someone who can motivate other people. You need to be kind of a chameleon because one person may respond to gentle coaxing, whereas another may need you to be firm and push them harder. Also, a good PM is always thinking about the bigger picture, not necessarily the piece right in front of the team. The pieces are important, but the PM needs to understand how they fit together and form something new.
Why did you decide to work for Ursa Health?
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of negatives, but one of its positives was how much went online, both professionally and socially. I ended up getting closer to people who I hadn’t talked to in a long time, or even who I didn’t know at all, by playing games online. One night, a friend of a friend came online to play, Aaron Mock [Ursa Health’s senior vice president of operations], and asked, “Does anyone know any good business analysts?” And I said, “I’m looking for a job right now!” One thing led to another, and here I am.
The biggest draw for me when I was interviewing was that every person I talked to was just a delight—so brilliant. You are the company you keep. I knew that I could learn so much here, and I’d be a good asset because the team needed PM support. But all in all, the people closed the deal. Everyone says that here, that the people are the greatest, but it’s really true. It’s like a family. Every single person counts, and you don’t get that at a Fortune 500 company.
What do you find to be the best part about working with Ursa Health?
The flexibility. My last job was very much like “You must work 9-6. If I message you, you must respond immediately.” Even if I stepped out for lunch briefly to run an errand, I’d be frantic. What if someone messaged me while I was out?
I appreciate that Ursa is very understanding that we all have lives outside of work. We need work to survive, but it’s not our entire lives. It’s refreshing to be part of a company that recognizes that fact.
What is the one thing your colleagues would be surprised to know about you?
I’m an outdoorsy person, even though I hate bugs. I love being outdoors, hiking, skiing, fishing—I became an avid fisherman during the pandemic. That’s one of the reasons my husband and I are relocating to the Northwest. I’m from Texas, and he’s from upstate New York. This year, we’ve harped on this idea of finding discomfort. Loving the outdoors, it’s always been a dream of ours to live in one of the most beautiful natural places in the country, so this year we’re doing it, even though it means leaving family behind.
And then one other fun fact. I began playing the piano at the age of five and am classically trained. In middle school, my parents wanted me to play our church, so I start playing in the church band, and that led to me being the backup singer and keyboardist, and then I became the lead singer and band leader in high school. We even did a music video and came out with an album! We raised money to donate to a charity fund that helps provide clean water to kids in Africa, Blood:Water.