When I first met Lauren Boldizar, she was a writer.
But she evolved. She was also a runner (still is) and adds aspects to her life the way I add toppings to my tacos — with careful consideration, yet unyielding enthusiasm. One day, after she checked in to say happy birthday on LinkedIn, I asked what she’d been up to.
Oh, just went back to school for my MBA, she said, as nonchalant as I would announced I’d gone back to the taco buffet while you blinked. She’s today’s interview for #GirlsRock, and I think you’ll like her. She tells her story much better than I do, so check it out. Give her a warm JAD welcome.
Eli: When you were little, what did you think you’d grow up to be?
Lauren: Growing up as a young girl, I always aspired to be some sort of athlete, in some capacity. I grew up with two brothers, so I was always encouraged from a young age to be outside and to play sports. I grew my talent in both soccer and basketball from a young age, by being encouraged by my father to work hard in sports. I participated in boy’s only soccer and basketball leagues or played with the older kids. It was this drive to compete that enabled me to learn from a very young age that talent alone was never enough to stand out from the crowd.
I learned in elementary school how to out-work and out-smart the boys and the older kids, and that work ethic earned me respect. It was likewise a natural progression for me after high school and college to start running competitively. While running is not my only profession as I am a pediatric nurse by trade, I love the aspects of training and competing to be the very best version of myself. My 5 a.m. training time has become my “me” time to work on being the very best version of myself.
Eli: Run time was once the best time to think. Has it been that way for you?
Lauren: Running has always been my alone time to gather and organize my thoughts from grocery lists to child care obligations, to work tasks and deadlines. I recently wrote my commencement speech for graduate school while running. I guess you could say that running has always been the safe space that allows me to be creative and be the best version of myself.
Eli: When did you develop an interest in nursing?
Lauren: I recall at the age of 8 witnessing my younger brother fall off his bike and suffer a compound fracture of two bones that were sticking straight out from the skin. The scene was a bit intense, but I remember not thinking twice about jumping in there to stop the bleeding, calm my brother down a bit while yelling for a neighbor to call my parents quickly. From that age on, I continued to grow an interest in helping others, especially children. I started my college career as a dual Biology and Chemistry major, but quickly grew a bit bored of the textbook science my freshman year and ended up in nursing school closer to home in New Jersey.
My pediatric nursing clinical rotation was a less-than-stellar experience in my sophomore year, but I ended up with a summer job as an emergency room technician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I loved the high stakes and fast pace of the emergency room and decided to sign on with CHOP as a new nurse in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit post-graduation.
Eli: What was that experience like?
Lauren: It was fun but stressful. As a new nurse, I learned a great deal, and I also enjoyed the energy of the ICU, where the stakes were high, but quickly realized I needed a healthy habit to de-stress after a long-12 hour day. That’s where I found running again. I ran my first marathon in 2009 while working in the Cardiac ICU, and vowed to NEVER run that far EVER again. That first marathon experience was humbling, for sure. However, I trained for that particular Philadelphia marathon with my coworkers. There was a group of us who would run around Philadelphia post-night shift. The miles became more fun while running with friends (although it also could have just been post-night shift delirium).
Eli: So, College of New Jersey for a nursing degree, and Drexel for a Master’s in Business Administration. Why that path?
Lauren: I spent approximately 7 years in the cardiac ICU, then transitioned on to some marketing and PR work for the cardiac center, I subsequently became interested in working on various projects and quality improvement initiatives, so the Master’s in Business Administration seemed like a natural progression to develop both my leadership skills and fine-tune my project management capabilities.
Eli: That gives you quite a unique skill set. What stirred your interest in business administration?
Lauren: It is unique, but I am okay with being different from others and I think I have finally embraced it. Looking back over my career, I have realized that I like working with people and leading from the bottom up, I enjoy working on collaborative projects, and I love using that part of my brain that allows me to think critically to solve problems. The MBA schooling just made sense and I am grateful that I waited to gain some work experience in the healthcare industry before rushing back to graduate school.
My colleagues and cohorts that I completed my schooling with are all so incredibly creative, intelligent, and unique, and I love networking with them and picking their brains regarding various projects. I guess you can say that I finally found “my people.”
Eli: What do you feel is the value of finding your people, to your development, and to theirs?
Lauren: Because there is mutual respect there, I believe that we all motivate, push, and inspire one another. I find it quite impossible to stay in the comfort zone these days knowing I have networked with such amazing people. The networking capabilities have also enabled me to interview for jobs outside of the healthcare industry, and while I am still working on navigating a very volatile job market, I know that I can depend on my core network of my people if and when I am ready to make a career jump outside of healthcare.
Eli: Any ideas what’s next for you?
Lauren: Ha! Pre pandemic, I would have told you that I was going to accept one of two offers back over to the main hospital in either a Nursing Informatics or Data Management position, or accept a third offer as a healthcare administrator role for an outside pediatric healthcare company, but mostly all non-essential job postings in healthcare have either reabsorbed or put on hold at this point. My post-pandemic plan is to continue to expand my NJ outreach capabilities in cardiology for the hospital while continuing to take on speaking engagements at Drexel and hope for the best.
I have stopped stressing about the volatile job market at this point because I realize that, as I continue to expand my network and perfect my public speaking skills, that my ideal job opportunity will present itself.
Eli: That approach is good in life overall, isn’t it? What advice would you give girls or women about a career in healthcare?
Lauren: Very true, Eli! My advice for girls and women for a career in healthcare is to always stay strong (even when it gets tough), lead from your head and your heart, and NEVER compromise on your own values and integrity. In order to lead a culture of change, it’s crucial to lead by example. And at the end of the day, pursue your passion! It will always be evident, if not from your word but your actions, for those leaders that do what they LOVE.
A to Z Challenge
A is for A new name for this blog
B is for B is for Bibster, baseball, and a spot by the birdbath #Gratitudeandshit
D is for Dusting off and writing again
F is for Football questions for Go Ask Daddy
G is for Getting behind a cause
I is for Inspiration