As a leader in the community, Jennifer Paroly, President and Chief Development Officer for Tri-City Hospital Foundation, reflects on the importance of International Women’s Day (March 8) – a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as accelerate their equality.
“I grew up in an environment of giving back before I even knew what that meant. My father, stepfather and grandfather were ministers so I was constantly watching them put others and service before themselves. I learned through ‘osmosis’ the importance of being selfless. When I was eight, my parents would not let my sister and I get new Easter dresses because they wanted us to understand that not everyone in the world can afford them. This was a hard lesson to learn at such a young age, but I have leaned on that lesson all of my life. It taught me to be aware of others and put them first. Today, I look back on that life-changing lesson and feel grateful.
Giving back brings me joy and is something that I treasure. Let’s face it – we can’t all be a Mother Teresa, but we can do simple things that show kindness and empathy to others, like a smile, a compliment and a helping hand. At the end of the day, we all want others to succeed in life and to feel like we’ve helped fill their souls in a meaningful way through our kind words and actions.”
Following Your Calling
“I believe that my upbringing of giving back is what led me to become involved in the community, non-profit work and now with the Foundation. I feel that I was called to do this work. Early on, I volunteered for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and managed Tri-City Medical Center’s (TCMC) cancer accreditation program. I was so impressed with the care and compassion shown by TCMC staff and physicians, that I knew I wanted to do more for the hospital. I remember just walking into the Foundation’s office and saying, ‘I’m here. How, how can I help?’
I’ve been with the Foundation for more than 12 years and am so proud of its accomplishments. With the support of generous donors, we have funded millions of dollars in programs, services and capital needs for the hospital. Most recently, we raised more than $4.75M for the redesign of the Emergency Department to help change healthcare for our North County community. This project will upgrade the waiting room, triage and one of the large treatment areas with new, fresh colors, lighting and furnishings, and is expected to improve wait times and patient experience.”
Empowering Women Leaders and Embracing Equity
“Women in leadership are like oxygen – they are essential to make whatever you are working on successful. Women bring a unique skill set and different leadership style to the workplace that should be valued and celebrated. Their voices should be a part of the conversation. The goal is for all of us, regardless of our backgrounds, to bring our gifts and talents to the table for the good of others and the organization.
I am a servant leader who treats others the way I want to be treated and believes in empowering those around me to do their best so they can give their best. Whether they are having a good or bad day, I want to rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep. If people feel seen and heard, then they will want to rise to the occasion.
Creating an environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive, a place where everyone feels like they belong and can speak up, is something we believe in strongly at the Foundation. Every day, we walk the walk and talk the talk as we engage with our community members, donors, elected officials, hospital staff and physicians and others.
International Women’s Day is just one day, but there are so many diverse and wonderful women in our world that are making a positive difference every day by giving back. Let’s celebrate the women who have kicked doors open and paved the way for other women, not just those in the workforce, but those holding down the fort at home too. Our future depends on it.”
To learn how you can celebrate women’s achievements, visit International Women’s Day.
To learn more about how you can make a difference, visit Tri-City Hospital Foundation.