The history of International Women’s Day originated in the 1900s by a group of women representing the Socialist Party of America – who marched and advocated for themselves by demanding better working hours, pay, and the right to vote. A year later, the group declared the first National Women’s Day. Formal recognition began in 1910 when women’s advocate Clara Zetkin suggested a special day of recognition at the International Conference of Working Women in Denmark. In 1911, Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland celebrated what is regarded as the first International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day is a celebration and a day that recognizes and upholds the achievements of women. It is a time to commemorate and come together to collectively celebrate the courageous acts and determination of women who have played a significant role in paving the way and creating opportunities for others.
Now is our moment to elevate and uplift women, it is a time to improve equality, empower women’s choices, and forge women’s empowerment worldwide.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s Month at MedPro Healthcare Staffing, we are posting a series this month highlighting our Women in Leadership who play an integral part in our organization. We are honored to introduce Patty Jeffrey, Executive Vice President, International Operations, and President of the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment. Please read on to see what she has shared about her journey throughout her career.
Question: Can you provide a brief bio on your background and how it all started?
I started as a licensed practical nurse and then became a registered nurse and I worked in various hospital settings and worked my way up through management in the hospital. Some twenty years ago Liz Tonkin contacted me to do some international recruitment and here we are.
Question: Do you have any suggestions for up-and-coming women who are looking to become leaders? What advice would you give? What inspiration can you provide to women in the workforce?
Pursue your dream. Women tend to step back a little bit. Pursue your dream. The best thing to do is start, learn leadership styles, and embrace leadership education. Start off a bit small and continue to work off that goal. Never give up on it. Some people lose their patience. Do not give up on that.
Question: Have you encountered any challenges in your career along the way from working in the hospitals to your current role?
Everything has challenges. You are always faced with challenges. The biggest challenges often factor outside of your control. Some challenges would be growing and building a team, a team that embraces the business’s culture and business objectives and key results, and being extremely focused on that. Sometimes the challenges are making some mistakes and sometimes they are not always aligned. So sometimes that can be an issue. There are always business challenges in the business we are in. We are highly regulated. We peak. We go up and down. We always stay focused on our end goal, and we adjust where we need to. So, I would say the one biggest challenge is the ability to continue.
Question: Is there anything you want to share with women that you wish could have been shared with you along your journey?
Do not be afraid to ask for what’s important to you. Someone times women are afraid to ask whether that’s in the financial piece or career piece or progressing in a company, sometimes women are hesitant to speak up. Do not be hesitant. Ask for what’s important to you and ask how you can get there. Ask your mentor and leader what will it take for you to continue to progress and have a career ladder.
Question: What are the most valuable lessons you have learned throughout your career?
Patience. I am still not good at it. It is a lesson I have had to learn. Be patient and be realistic. Set clear realistic goals for the teams that you work with so that you are all on the same page and adapt. One of the biggest things is adapting, especially when you are in a regulated environment. The other piece of it is recognizing the balance and the importance of creating a culture that recognizes that truly these individuals are the ones that make it happen every day and never lose sight of that. It is never the “I” it’s always the “us” and the “we”.
Question: What has you most excited about in the future?
The future…while I am saddened by the nursing shortage and healthcare shortage in the U.S., obviously I worry about that from a U.S. perspective, but what makes me excited is the opportunity to help in that area. As a nurse, my background is a subject I’m very passionate about giving back and finding a way to find solutions that can help with the existing critical issues out there related to staffing shortages.
Patty exemplifies hard work, resilience, and selflessness. As a leader, she believes teams grow when they evolve together. Self-advocacy is something she highly encourages. True leadership is when leaders recognize they are serving the people they lead.
To the strong, brave, and courageous, this is for you.
To the women creating opportunities for others, this is for you.
To the women who advocate for themselves, she’s standing up for all women. This is for you.
To our female healthcare nurses, putting their lives on the line every single day, this is for you.
You are all leaders. We see you. We hear you. We salute you. Keep leading. Keep going.
Let us continue to support and uplift one another. Let’s continue to break barriers, and lead by example. Today, MedPro celebrates International Women’s Day by honoring unity, hope, and strength.