Tauana McDonald

My paternal grandmother was born in 1913 as the youngest of five children and the only girl. She had three sons and no daughters. When I arrived, I was the first girl born into the family in over 50 years. As a result, my grandmother and I developed a very special bond. Although she died in 2021 at 108, she remains the voice in my head, and many of the words I live by come directly from her.

My journey into health care was not a straight path. As a child I wanted to be a doctor and help people. During my senior year in college, I realized that hands-on care delivery was not my calling. As I often did when I reached a crossroad, I called my grandmother for advice. She told me to follow my passion and bloom where I am planted. I have spent my post-college years following my grandmother’s advice.       

For the past 20 years I have worked for Trinity Health. I spent the first 14 years in the corporate office implementing regulatory programs, running the project management office and building the infrastructure for value-based care. In 2017 I moved into operations, and I currently serve as the chief administrative officer of Mount Carmel Health System and the president and chief operating officer of Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital.  

Of the many, many things my grandmother taught me, one saying that has been the most influential on my career has been "bloom where you’re planted." Do your best in whatever circumstances you find yourself and good things will come. Things in my life have not always lined up exactly how I wanted them to, but I always figure out how to learn from my situation and add value. It is in these times that I sharpen my creative spirit, build new skills I never imagined I would need and end up in a place better than I anticipated. As a leader, and more importantly as a mentor (one of the most important roles I play in my life), I work hard to help people bloom where they are planted. 

My grandmother also told me that to whom much is given, much is expected. The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the inequities that exist in our country. As an African-American woman leader in health care, I am committed to ensuring that quality health care is available to all. I also recognize that every day I have the opportunity to uplift or discourage someone with my words and I do not take it lightly. Each night I do a review of the day and think about the words that I shared. My words may not be perfect, but I hope that some of them are worthy of becoming part of someone else’s words to live by.

 

Tauana McDonald is the president and chief operating officer of Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital. Please note that the views of authors do not always reflect the views of AHA. 
 

 

 

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