In my first week at WomenHeart I have been lucky enough to meet several WomenHeart Champions and hear their heart stories. Stories are how we make sense of the world, how we connect to each other, how we let each other know that we’re not alone. Stories empower the storytellers.
When I retired 18 months ago, I was excited to spend time traveling the world with my husband, as well as having more time to enjoy and experience life “in the moment” with family and friends. With the increased physical activity, I began to experience severe pain in my hip. After several months of trying to figure out the problem, a physical therapist concluded that the pain had to be coming from torquing my back and hips because my legs were different lengths. I had completely forgotten that my left leg is five eighths of an inch shorter than my right leg, as a result of an injury I sustained in my twenties. The physical therapist recommended shoe lifts, and I was ready to try anything that would alleviate the pain.
After testing a pair of altered shoes for two weeks, I returned to the shoe repair expert with all of my shoes. His simple correction to add a lift to my left shoe had alleviated my pain. As I thanked him for doing such great work, I tried to convey that, although he did not work in healthcare delivery, he had returned my health to me. I was moved to tears as I expressed this gratitude, and he was touched.
To him he had just done a small thing, but I told him, “You took my pain away.” I’m not sure he understood just how powerful what he had done for me really was, but I’m sure you understand. And that’s the power of a story—it forges connection.
A little more about me: Before my retirement, I served as President and CEO of Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), based in Arlington, VA, from 2009-2016. AAMI is primarily known for its development of national and international standards for medical devices, including many used by patients with heart disease.
With a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and a rigorous certification as an association executive (CAE – Certified Association Executive), I have over 30 years of senior management, law, and non-profit board experience. Prior to taking the reins as President and CEO of AAMI in 2009, I served as Chief Operating Officer of the American Dental Association in Chicago, where in earlier years I served as its general counsel. My favorite professional role always has been to bring diverse people together to solve problems, develop a shared future, and do their best work.
Your voices and stories inspire the staff at WomenHeart and make us proud to work for you. Thank you for continuing to give us the momentum from your stories and voices that we need to propel WomenHeart into a strong future.
Please feel free to reach out to us if you have questions, concerns, ideas, or new stories. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.