The ‘Ships’ That Shape Us
by Jessica Muñoz
There are three ‘ships’ that have shaped my career: Mentorship, fellowship and partnership. Each ‘ship’ has helped me to navigate through rough waters, but it has been women-only leadership development opportunities like Leadership Texas that have provided a safe harbor to learn and grow on my leadership journey.
At every stage of my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to have people who invested in my success. But it was my mentor at Methodist Healthcare Ministries who I must give credit to for steering me toward a new direction in my career. She encouraged me to apply to the Leadership Texas program for three years before I finally pursued it. As a single mom, I struggled with wanting to further my education and career with the demands of my home life. She would constantly remind me that we were blessed to work for an organization that offered professional development and, more importantly, would pay for me to participate in this specific program. My organization does indeed support a variety of professional development opportunities for team members at every level. While internal nomination is required for Leadership Texas, it too is paid for by Methodist Healthcare Ministries which made the difference for me personally. To date, the organization has supported 13 women leaders in this program, three of whom also participated in Leadership America. Mentorship made it possible for me to see opportunity and potential instead of barriers and obstacles.
I was one of three women from my organization participating in LT that year (LT2018 – #TheBestClassEver). The fellowship I experienced with them made the experience richer and more impactful. From learning about our individual strengths, to volunteering for a local nonprofit organization together, fellowship was a key ingredient in my LT experience. The exposure to other women leaders from different sectors and regions and the networking that occurs as a result has also been invaluable. Those connections have allowed us as leaders within Methodist Healthcare Ministries to leverage a larger network to advance our mission.
Being a leader in an organization that is demographically 80% female impressed upon me the importance of partnership with programs like Leadership Texas. Research has shown that women who take part in women-only leadership development programs are more likely to aspire to leadership opportunities. Studies also show that women in board and top-management level positions contribute to the success of a company’s organizational and financial performance. Case in point, findings from the 2017 Women Matter report from McKinsey & Company suggest companies with a high share of female leaders are characterized by management practices of the future such as supportive and consultative leadership, creating open and trusting environments and developing talent. That is certainly true of Methodist Healthcare Ministries: Women hold seven out of nine senior leader positions in the organization and include the Chief Operating Officer and the senior leader charged with oversight of the organization’s equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts.
While gender diversity is a critical element of our inclusion goals, we at Methodist Healthcare Ministries are also focused on ensuring we nurture an inclusive culture by developing the policies and processes needed to ensure all employees feel a sense of belonging and ability to be their authentic selves.
I am proud to work for an organization that demonstrates its commitment to the growth of the largest demographic in our workforce at all levels— women who are currently leaders and those who wish to grow into leadership—through its partnership with Leadership Texas.
Jessica Muñoz is the Director of Communications at Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. and a proud alumnae of Leadership Texas.