I recently enrolled as a member of HFMA as part of my final course in my MBA program at Northeastern University, Healthcare Finance. Professor Carl Nelson had us utilize this membership throughout the course and it served as a great resource by providing current healthcare financial information, analysis, and opinion.
For the final project in the course, we were tasked with interviewing an HFMA Officer from the local chapter. The goal of this assignment was to make connections with people currently working in the industry and increase our knowledge of the latest news, information, and developments in the field of healthcare financial management. As a working professional, I was hesitant about occupying the time of an important and busy HFMA officer, however, Karen Kinsella, the President of the MA/RI HFMA Chapter, was more than willing to meet with me and answer any questions I had about the membership and the healthcare finance field. In her role as SVP, Sr. Relationship Manager for Bank of America, with a focus on Healthcare, Education, and Not for Profit Organizations, Karen interacts with a variety of organizations and, as a result, she was able to provide some great insights into the industry.
Some interesting topics Karen and I discussed were how healthcare organizations’ banking needs were impacted by the pandemic and government stimulus packages, as well as how a bank would assess the financial health of a healthcare organization and then determine which banking products would be a fit for the organization. I appreciated this conversation and these examples because I was able to see how the Healthcare Finance course concepts are directly applicable in the real world.
In addition to her field related knowledge and expertise, Karen provided me with her personal background and the career journey that led her to where she is today. Karen received an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry but later determined that working in science was not the right fit. This led her to complete her MBA, which resulted in a transition to banking. While working in banking, Karen has experienced multiple acquisitions and mergers. Karen stated that her experience has taught her that it is important to be flexible with how work is performed and that it is necessary to be willing to change. She shared that she believes flexibility and adaptability are essential and will help you learn new skills. These characteristics will also provide opportunities to grow within the organization. Karen’s sound career advice is applicable in any industry.
Overall, this course pointed out two important uses of HFMA– professional networking and educational opportunities. Currently, I am a CPA and work for Manulife/John Hancock as Sr. Manager in Audit Services. Prior to this, I worked in public accounting and had some experience auditing healthcare organizations. Now that I have completed my MBA program, if I look to transition my career back to a financial role in healthcare, I will be sure to utilize all HFMA has to offer. I am grateful for the opportunity to be introduced to HFMA and to have experienced the networking benefits firsthand.