Leadership Delaware County '20
Name: Lauren Contino
Hometown: Ridley Township, PA
Position: Sr. Manager, Corporate Communications
Company: Crozer-Keystone Health System
Length of time you have with your company: 2.5 years
Briefly describe your journey, noting both personal milestones and obstacles you may have faced along the way.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with people and their stories. My gift for turning strangers into friends with my genuine interest in who they are, where they come from and where they want to go, has always been at the core of who I am. In 2008 I graduated from East Stroudsburg University with a bachelor's degree in speech communication. At the time, I was kind of all over the place in terms of what “type” of public relations I wanted to pursue — Was I more agency or in-house? Was I consumer or corporate, crisis, or internal comms? The beauty of public relations is that it spans so many different sectors, and it encompasses far more than media relations. My career first began in the world of government and politics. Through various roles and responsibilities, I became an image shaper, preparing me for my first state-level role in 2013 as the Public Relations Manager for a local elected official in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. It was my responsibility to generate positive publicity for the group or individual I was working for and enhance their overall image and reputation.
From there, I morphed into managing political campaigns, coordinating fundraising efforts, and improving volunteer recruitment — I LOVED the thrill of the chase. But I soon found myself on the hunt for opportunities in the private sector. In June 2017, I accepted a position as Corporate Communications Manager for Crozer-Keystone Health System — one of the best decisions I’ve made to date. I love the history and foundation of Crozer-Keystone. There are a lot of people who keep that culture alive and make the organization feel like home. Our leadership team strives for engaged employees, not just satisfied employees. You can have a satisfied employee who is happy doing nothing, but an engaged employee feels an emotional connection to the organization and/or its goals. That’s what attracted me to Crozer-Keystone, and one of the main reasons I look forward to coming to work each day.
How did you hear about LDC and why did you sign up to take part in it?
A former colleague, Sue Smith, first introduced me to the program and encouraged me to apply. I decided to pursue this opportunity because I felt this particular program — not just a “check-the-box” training, but an intensive, personalized leadership development experience — could offer me the chance to step back and understand the shifting demands placed on myself and my team. It has helped me to set aside time to identify how to become more effective in driving change and to start to build new, needed competencies.
What inspires you? How does that inspiration play into your professional life?
The power of words inspires me. The right words shared at the right time, give hope and purpose. Words create an expectation of reality, anticipation for what is promised, and a desire for what’s to come. Choose your words well, and they will motivate people to follow, advocate, and believe in your cause.
Briefly, describe a transformative moment that helped to shift your approach to your career.
Healthcare is changing and our organization is in the midst of a structural shift. And during that shift, employees constantly wonder, “How will this affect me?” or assume, “Oh, this won’t be good! How am I going to get my work done?” But what I’ve come to learn is that even when businesses are doing well, organizational and structural change is to be expected and often times a good thing. There is always something valuable that can be derived out of difficulty, adversity, or change — we just have to look for it with open minds. I now choose to embrace change as an opportunity, not a burden.
What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most? Why?
Generally, I admire courageous and innovative thinkers that take their knowledge, experiences, and abilities and put them to use in bettering their communities. We see this in all industries. There are so many excellent role models — people of color and strong women — who have made great strides and impacts and paved the way for others to do the same.
What has been the most valuable professional advice and/or lesson you’ve received.
An essential part of being a leader is acknowledging that you may not have all of the answers, but knowing the right questions to ask. There have been countless times throughout my time at Crozer-Keystone when I have had to stretch outside my comfort zone, but I have never been in a situation where I felt completely unprepared or out of my league. Having an awareness of what I don’t know, asking the right questions, and gathering information allows me to venture into new areas that are important to me and/or the success of the health system.
Photo by: Active Image Media
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