Summer 2014 - Health IT Career Roundtable Event: A Hit for Students and Executives

by Bella Zaghi

As evening set on April 30, 2014 and most people in the LA traffic began the route home, over two dozen students and five executives headed to Westwood for SoCal HIMSS Academic Alliance Committee’s Health IT Career Roundtable. The event took place in the Marisa Lief conference room at UCLA’s Medical Plaza. As the students and executives rolled in, they enjoyed refreshments and time to network and meet each other. The program officially began with Bella Zaghi explaining the services and programs in the Academic Alliance Committee and how the roundtable would work.

There were five roundtables set around the room with one volunteer health IT executive at each table. The health executives and topics they led were:
Surviving the Political Atmosphere - Jim Brady, PhD, FHIMSS, Area Chief Information Officer, Kaiser Permanente and Incoming President for SoCal HIMSS
Interviewing - Angela Rivera, Client Partner, CTG HealthCare Solutions and Past President for SoCal HIMSS
Networking - Jean Shahdadpuri, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Coast Healthcare Management, with Tenet Health
Secret to a Successful Career - Sajjad Yacoob, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at USC Keck School of Medicine
Resume - Joy Kuhl, Business Development Executive at Perficient
About five students were assigned to each table and once Bella started the time clock, the executives and students had 11 minutes to discuss the designated topic. At 11 minutes, Bella called time and all of the students rotated to the next table in the series to discuss the next topic with a different executive.

During the 11 minutes, students asked personal questions and executives gave golden advice from their experience. For instance, Angela Rivera at the interviewing table said “when you are asked what your weakness is on an interview, be prepared to actually give a weakness, and explain what you are doing to work on it.” In James Brady’s discussion on surviving the political atmosphere he mentioned “having a great boss and building great relationships at the organization you are working at are a few key components to being an influential leader.” Sajjad Yacoob told the students “focus on the value you bring to the organization. What makes you different?”

All in all, it was a great night for everyone involved. Students had a unique opportunity to receive direct advice from industry leaders, and our volunteer executives connected with potential candidates for internship and employment opportunities.

Special thanks to the AAC volunteers who organized and hosted the event and to the SoCal HIMSS executives who donated their time and expertise.

 career roundtable

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