About the organization: Bakersfield Heart Hospital specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular disease as well as a wide range of other medical and surgical procedures. For 2017, Bakersfield Heart Hospital has been ranked by CareChex as being in the top 10 percent in the Nation for cardiac care. The hospital is also an accredited chest pain center.

What I do: As the president and CEO of Bakersfield Heart Hospital, I am responsible for all aspects of hospital operations and quality patient care. I provide strategic leadership, work closely with the hospital’s physician partners to further align and integrate the care the hospital provides, as well as implement initiatives that will improve the health and wellness of the community.

Where I grew up: I was born and raised in Bakersfield.

Education: I received my Bachelors of Arts in psychology from CSUB and a master’s in business administration from Western Governors University.

Family: I have been married to my husband, Scott, for 15 years. We have a son, Evan, who is 13years old and a daughter, Kendall, who is 8 years old.

Hobbies: I like staying active; running and participating in circuit training. I love spending time with family and friends and enjoy learning and reading about new things.

What was your very first job and what did you learn from it? My very first job was too long ago to remember but I would say of all my jobs, I learned that I love to excel at whatever I do. I am most happy when I am learning and challenging myself to set new goals and attain them.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career? I would say my husband and my family have influenced me to pursue my goals. Hospitals are 24/7 and as CEO, I am always thinking about work or actually working, even when I am at home, on weekends or on vacation. The long hours and work done during off-hours can be a lot for any family to bear, but my family has been most encouraging and I wouldn’t be as successful without their support.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received? “If something gets crazy, be a duck — calm on the surface but swimming like heck underneath.”

What is the most challenging part of your job? My passion for the work I do can sometimes make it difficult to shift from work mode to personal mode so I make a conscious effort to blend the two so I can enjoy both.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? Celebrating the accomplishments of the people I work with, for me, is very gratifying. Seeing our hospital grow and improve and hearing the stories where we saved or improved a life is extremely rewarding.

What is the most memorable accomplishment of your career? Being the visionary and lead in opening the Women’s Heart Center that screens women (and now men) for heart disease has been one of my major accomplishments. We are providing a valuable service to our community and there is not another center like it in town. Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of Americans, but at least 200,000 deaths each year are preventable. Our goal is to save lives by bringing awareness and providing the tools necessary to improve the cardiovascular health of Bakersfield and Kern County residents.