Be Innovative!

Engage with the West Michigan Woman Community!

What does it take to change the world around you for the better? That's what the third annual Women in Healthcare Leadership event seeks to explore.

Hosted by the Western Michigan Healthcare Financial Management Association on January 17, 2019, at Eberhard Center on the Grand Valley State University downtown Grand Rapids campus, the gathering specifically brings together women who are connected to healthcare through law, finance, insurance, clinical experience and more.


Nancy Smith, West Michigan HFMA Secretary, Program Committee Member and former Program Chair, notes the goal of the 2019 event is to serve as an avenue for women in healthcare to invest in themselves, so they may learn from each other and better serve others in their respective areas of work.

"Going into our third year, we want to continue to inspire with this unique opportunity to connect with other women in the field," said Smith.

Keynote speakers for the event include Nancy Schlichting, former CEO of Henry Ford Health System, and Sara Moylan, inventor and founder of SHEFIT.

This year's event theme is "Be Innovative!"—a statement both women are quite familiar with.

Sara Moylan had tried all the best sports bras on the market, but was flooded with disappointment over and over again when they didn't live up to the hype; she knew she needed to find a solution. So, armed with a maternity bra and a glue gun, she created the first SHEFIT sports bra prototype. Since then, Moylan has gone on to change the face of the sports bra industry, in addition to seeing her bras used in post-op situations and for nursing.

"We have an amazing partnership with Dr. Bengtson and he's a huge advocate of the entire line of SHEFIT bras," said Moylan. "Our Ultimate Sports Bra and Real Support Seamless Bras are recommended and utilized by multiple plastic surgery offices. Due to the ability to set your own level of comfort and support, women are able to safely wear our Real Support Seamless Bra immediately after surgery and later can transition to our other bras."

Nancy Schlichting knows well what it takes to successfully lead. When faced with complex problems others may deem too "sticky" or difficult, Schlichting embraces the challenge and turns tradition on its head.

"I believe it is critical to mentor and be a role model for all up and coming leaders," said Schlichting. "I never had a female mentor, so I have felt a strong responsibility to serve in that role for women during my entire career."

Schlichting has also been a mentor for many men and has focused on supporting people of color and others who may have experienced discrimination.

"We all need help in our careers, and those of us who have had the privilege of serving as a leader need to open doors, provide opportunities and take risk on people who are working hard to move up," said Schlichting.

"Women often have the best ideas, ask the best questions and have the strongest skills, but lack the self-confidence to jump in—it's critical to be the CEO of your career and go for it!"

New for this year is a gift basket raffle, through which attendees can enter to win a variety of gifts and prizes. Proceeds from the raffle and from event tickets will benefit Women's Resource Center.

West Michigan HFMA is one chapter of a large national organization that aims to educate healthcare finance professionals, with a membership covering a variety of people, from controllers at health systems to large consulting firms, from banks and investment firms to collection agency personnel. The organization comes together several times a year to learn how to best collaborate and work together in the complicated world of healthcare finance.

Learn more and register for the event by visiting Western Michigan HFMA.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.

Photos courtesy of Nancy Smith.

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