A Journey with Passion and Purpose - Eneida Roldan
Adapted from Chapter 13 in the new, updated “Lessons Learned: Stories from Women in Medical Management”
Ten years ago, I wrote a chapter for Lessons Learned: Stories from Women in Medical Management. In revisiting the chapter for the release of the new, updated version of the book (published February 28, 2022), I had the opportunity to reflect on the many things that have happened in the interim. From fulfilling professional goals; to stepping up to serve in the COVID-19 pandemic; to becoming a grandmother four times; to the tremendous loss of my mother; to visiting my homeland for the first time; and finally the culmination to give back through an endowment and life-long mentoring. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel.
The drive to know more, give more and make a difference has been my primary motivator. My first mentor, my maternal grandmother, taught me never to accept the status quo. During my residency program, I found another mentor who taught me that without passion there can be no progress. My mantra became: “In the face of change, conviction, purpose, and passion provide the drive to accept a transition in pursuit of a different direction and opportunities.”
My path has not been straightforward, but rather I have followed my mantra. Even though I was considered a “people person,” I became a Pathologist. I then moved into Administrative Medicine. I took on the role of CEO for a Miami community hospital that had recently filed for bankruptcy protection because the facility was the first Hispanic hospital, opened in the city at the beginning of the Cuban exile in 1963 — and I am of Cuban descent. Saving the hospital helped prevent the loss of services to that community.
Some choices were not as successful for me. When I became CEO of the Jackson Health System, I faced a dilemma familiar to many administrators: what to do when personal ethics conflict with policies and politics of those who have ultimate control? In the end, I had to move on.
Traveling to Cuba, my homeland, was an emotional experience. My family came to the U.S. when I was two years old, leaving behind everything but their passion, their education, and an urgency to serve and give back. These are my core values and I have passed them on to my children. To honor my family, I created a scholarship at the College of Medicine for a minority, passionate, life-learner, and leader.
I continue to mentor students and faculty. Here is my advice to those physicians who wish to be successful in the world of medical management; a world that may not be comfortable at first, but where there is much to gain:
- Never negotiate your values. Keep them firmly grounded.
- Never shortchange your quest for knowledge. Formal education and experience are key to success.
- Never accept the status quo even if it means going against the mainstream.
- Learn from others. There are many mentors. Grow your network.
- Keep your options open. Every opportunity is a learning experience. Choose the right “fit” for you.
- Never take family for granted. Their love and support is unconditional.
- Enjoy the journey. It is not a destination. Keep the passion!
About Eneida Roldan: Eneida is a dynamic physician leader, a vibrant teacher and mentor, and a dedicated board member with service on an array of for-profit and not-for-profit boards. She has held executive positions in a full range of healthcare settings, including private and public hospitals, academic medical centers, and entrepreneurial medicine in the field of wellness and health promotion. She is passionate about advocating for diverse women in leadership positions and providing strategic solutions to improve business efficiency and effectiveness, while ensuring inclusive healthcare to all. Her most recent accomplishment has been providing crisis management throughout the pandemic to the Miami community.
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