How can women in health IT succeed? Confidence, persistence and resilience

While the industry is changing at rapid pace, leading HIPAA attorney Pam Hepp says there are plenty of opportunities for women when they push the boundaries of their comfort zones.
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Pam Hepp, shareholder of law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney

Women in health IT face a number of challenges in the industry, from pay disparity to low numbers of women in the boardroom. In fact, a recent Rock Health survey found that more than half of women expect it will take 25 years or more to achieve gender parity.

But it’s not all bad news.

In fact, while one of the bigger challenges facing the sector is the speed of which change and disruption are occurring, that momentum will give women plenty of opportunity to step into those roles, said Pam Hepp, shareholder of law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney.

To get there, women will need “to be nimble and able to adapt to such change,” she said. “Be persistent and resilient, learn from adversity and be a team player.”

In fact, Hepp said that it was her sports background that helped to shape her success in equal to her schoolwork, “as it taught me persistence, how to deal with and overcome defeat, how to work together as a team and instilled confidence.”

Another part of that is to “be true to yourself.” Hepp explained that in her early years as a litigator, she had a colleague a few years her elder that was a “tiger in the courtroom.” Although that colleague had never lost a case at that point, a senior partner warned Hepp not to emulate the associate.

“That was not my nature,” said Hepp. Instead, she was told to “be herself and that genuineness would show through and resonate with the jury. The partner was right. Everyone is different and has different styles. Confidence is the key to success and that confidence comes through when you are yourself.”

“Having said that, do not get complacent,” she continued. “You need to push the boundaries of your comfort zone and always keep challenging yourself. Finally, we all need role models to look up to: Find a mentor and give back by becoming a mentor when you do reach a leadership position.”

Women need to continue encouraging young people to enter the field, explained Hepp. “It starts by encouraging young people, and in particular young women, to pursue studies in STEM-related programs. Young women need to know that they CAN excel in science, technology, engineering and math.”

Twitter: @JF_Davis_
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com

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