Where are they now? Brittany Reese '08, working in the healthcare industry
It's time for our latest installment of "Where are they now?" This series chronicles the amazing things Simmons College women are accomplishing after graduation.
Meet Brittany (Oheim) Reese [right, with Rachel (Shafman) O'Neill, '07, at Brittany's June 2013 wedding], a Chemistry major from the Class of 2008. She currently works as a Associate Account Manager at Dovetail Health, a care management healthcare company that partners with major insurance companies to offer readmission prevention care to recently discharged hospital patients. We had the chance to ask her a few questions about what it's like to work in the healthcare industry.
- What is a typical day like at your job?
- A typical day here really doesn't exist. The culture is so friendly and people oriented that everyone is always willing to wear multiple hats to support others in accomplishing a project or task. Everyone is also focused on a main goal, which is helping people. My regular day to day functions include organizing meetings, interfacing with clients, and doing what I love most - crunching numbers in Excel.
- How was the job application process like for you?
- Like anyone who has graduated in the past four years, I struggled when I was out of school. I lived at home for a bit and it took me a solid six months before I landed my first real job. At Dovetail, the application process was so easy. My husband had actually applied first in the IT department and I followed suit when I saw its openings. We got hired a week apart! He has since moved on to a different company, but it was fun to work together for the time we did. Having tools like LinkedIn for networking are also great; I was able to connect with lots of wonderful people in the industry and got recommend for this job by a former employee. One of the things to really set you apart is creating a unique cover letter for each application. Every company has different styles and you never know what might pique their interest so you don't get lost in the mass pool of candidates. I also love the blog Ask A Manager (askamanager.org), written by Alison Green. It's filled with tons of valuable advice and she answers any questions you could possibly have. I feel like I've learned so much from it, especially questions I thought I knew the answer to already but ended up being totally off base.
- What is your favorite part of your job?
- My favorite part of my job is the results. Ultimately, we are working to provide patients and their caregivers with the ability to be educated about medications and what risks could potentially send a person back to the hospital. Our nurses and pharmacists are absolutely wonderful, caring people and it shows each time we speak to our patients who value them so highly. Just knowing that every single role, no matter how large or small, helps to ensure that these people are happy and healthy at home is extremely rewarding.
- How did you know the organization was a good fit for you?
- Dovetail's unwritten policy is the "No Asshole Rule." It's widely talked about and there is actually a book that is sort of the gospel here. What it basically means is that if everyone is courteous and treats each other with respect, our culture thrives. I loved how open and honest everyone was about this policy in my interview so much that I was sold. Again, I also loved how committed everyone was to patient care, which is something I am very passionate about.
- What was your favorite class you took at Simmons? Why?
- Surprisingly, this is easy - Chem 332 Quantum Mechanics and Molecular Structure with Dr. Leonard Soltzberg. Dr. S was my advisor and I was so excited to have him for a professor for the first time since freshman year Gen Chem. His teaching style is so likable and understanding, plus I loved learned and applying the lessons from Gen Chem in this class. You learn a great deal about how and why things happen and there is a lot of math involved, which I love. Plus, my husband thinks I'm cool for knowing about things like particle in a box and Schrodinger's cat.
- If you could come back and take one class at Simmons what would it be?
- I'm so bummed because so many of the Chemistry electives are different! I heard students were able to take things like forensic chemistry now and I would have been all over that.
- How has it been transitioning into a young professional?
- It's definitely an adjustment. Every company is different. I tend to prefer working at younger start-up companies because the culture is much more laid back as opposed to corporate. I believe in balancing work and play at your job. Thankfully I have lots of wonderful coworkers who are also friends. In general, it definitely takes time to find your path and define your passions. I have a Chemistry degree, and my first job out of school was in a lab. It took me a while before I decided that I didn't want to be doing bench work anymore, something I never thought would happen. Shortly after, I landed a job at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute working as a Clinical Research Coordinator in their breast oncology department. I met some really spectacular physicians, and it helped put me on the healthcare path I follow today. Every position you hold is another stepping stone to finding out what you really want, so don't be scared if you're 25 and still don't know what you want to do with the rest of your life.
- How did Simmons help prepare you for your career?
- Simmons helped me prepare for my career in many ways. I have to credit my laboratory courses for my extreme attention to detail and also my perseverance to succeed. When you're constantly tweaking and trying new experiments to get the desired result, it pushes you to succeed and achieve your end goal. Having smaller classes and more dedicated time also taught me to stand out in a crowd. When you're working for a company with multiple people striving for the same thing, you need to make the effort to be noticeable and a valued team member if you want to further your career. You are very much in charge of your own professional path. I also feel that being exposed to such a diverse population at Simmons prepared me for dealing with lots of different personalities in people, which you will find at any job.
- Where do you see yourself in ten years?
- Well I'm married and living in the 'burbs now, I don't see that changing too much aside from having a family and just being happy and fulfilled.
- What advice would you give to the current Simmons undergraduate students?
- Everyone looks back and wishes that they did better in school, including me. I wish I had studied more and paid more attention to what is important, but that's always hindsight. I would honestly just say enjoy it. Being in college is such a fun time and you might feel like you have a ton of responsibilities, but it only gets more intense when you're out in the real world. I would also advise to really continue to cultivate and cherish the friendships you make. These people are seeing you and helping you through some tough years and if you can grow together while still being close, you will always have the support of someone who cares about you.