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“I used to be ‘5 minutes’ late for everything, until I realized how disrespectful it was” With Donna Greene

“Get good at time management — I used to be “5 minutes” late for everything, until I realized how offensive and disrespectful it was to…


“Get good at time management — I used to be “5 minutes” late for everything, until I realized how offensive and disrespectful it was to the people I was meeting with.”


I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna Greene, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, NextGen Healthcare. Donna has more than 20 years of human resources experience and has focused on employee services for physicians and healthcare workers in recent years. She is a 2018 Women of Influence “Women’s Advocate of the Year” honoree.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I began my career in retail operations within the entertainment industry, focusing strictly on the “bottom line” — which ironically happened to be name of the consulting company I started right out of college. I’d work with failing businesses to help turn them around. Not too long afterwards, I was recruited by Target, which was the turning point for where my career shifted from operations and managing a P&L to managing people and understanding the impact people have on a business. From Target, I spring boarded into various industries including car rental, real estate and then ultimately, healthcare. In all of these industries I gained wonderful experience in understanding the people factorand the influence talent can have on a business. I gained diversity of thought, experience and influence. All of these experiences have proven extremely valuable to me in my current role.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Come on, I’m in HR! Everything is either funny or interesting. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

My team and I have built a foundation for career development, building a career framework so our employees could begin to create their individualized career pathways. Now, our employees can own their career trajectory. I believe a job is something you do; a career is something you own. We are at the beginning stages of fostering a culture of ownership. We want the development at NextGen to be owned, not rented by our employees. This allows us to invest in our talent and grow as our business evolves.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are many people who have helped me achieve success along the way in my career. I have had several leaders in HR who have cast an excellent leadership shadow over me. I have had the great fortune of never having a “bad boss”. I would have to say that there is not one particular person because I am grateful to all of my leaders, but I have to say that I am most grateful to my HR team with whom I have worked with for the last 5 to 7 years. They helped get me to where I am and I would not be here without them. They are my successors as they are the reason for my success. They have exemplified the meaning of the word “team” in every situation. I am grateful for them. Thanks Julie Baker, Vicki Dierker, and Jeff Carroll.

Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?

In this book, Gladwell asks the question: What makes high achievers different? This book gave me inspiration to be better or strive to become the best at things I love to do. As an example, I wanted to get my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. This book focuses on what it takes to be great and one of the things it focuses on is practicing and experience. I read that it took practicing each kick in Tae Kwon Do 1000 times a day to become proficient. I started practicing my kicks 1000 times, three days a week from the time I started as a white belt until I had my green belt testing. I practiced 5 kicks 1000 times (5000) for 3 days a week (15000) for 48 weeks (720,000) at which time I was asked to teach other students because I had become proficient.

This, for me, was the key to success. How we do things, how we commit to what we want, and our experiences make the difference in why we are successful.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I think I bring goodness to the world by being an advocate for women, by being a teacher to employees and my martial art students and through leading by example.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

● Get good at time management — I used to be “5 minutes” late for everything, until I realized how offensive and disrespectful it was to the people I was meeting with.

● Always take a partner — Don’t assume you say, know or hear everything the way it was intended. Taking a partner creates a more level playing field and helps build credibility.

● You always have a chance to make things right — If you are wrong or if you wrong someone, you can always try to correct the wrong or apologize. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

● People make up what they don’t know — You must communicate frequently, otherwise, people will make up what they think is going on. They will fill in gaps to the story with their own conclusions.

● Be kind — Don’t get caught up in drama, don’t listen or participate in gossip and when you speak about others, be kind. You never know what someone else is going through.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant to your life?

“As a leader, you have to touch someone’s heart before you can ask for their hand” — John Maxwell

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would inspire a wellness movement. Exercise, good food, laughter and fun!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would like to have breakfast or lunch with Donald Trump and ask him why he says and does some of the things he does.

Originally published at medium.com

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