Kim Howard is Vice President of Workforce Solutions at AMN Healthcare. Keep reading to learn more about how Kim got started in the healthcare industry, as well as how AMN manages healthcare's constantly changing landscape. *Note: This article was originally published in the May 2018 edition of the Women Business Leaders (WBL) member newsletter.
WBL: Six Questions to Kim Howard
- How did you become an executive in the health care industry? Did you always have an interest in health care?
I have been in the staffing and recruitment industry for more than 20 years, and I have focused on everything from engineering to IT to clerical. Our youngest daughter had a pretty significant health crisis as a toddler, and my husband and I witnessed firsthand the heart, passion, and expertise of a medical staff that would (and did) do anything for the good of our child. It stuck with me and I wanted to be part of it. I have always been someone that needed to deeply believe in what I was doing to do it well, and healthcare touched my heart. I love everything about it.
- What is a current challenge you are facing in your role or in the industry as a whole?
The entire healthcare industry is facing serious shortages of almost every type of healthcare professionals, including nurses, physicians, and allied health workers. None of the companies in our sector of healthcare staffing and workforce solutions are able to fill 100% of their clients’ staffing orders. So that means we have to be truly innovative in order to help them to find the best quality practitioners available and to optimize the staff that they have. Optimizing your clinical and nonclinical staff is becoming so important as the healthcare industry becomes more and more complex. That’s why we now provide our clients with the best managed services programs (MSP) in the healthcare industry.
- What does true leadership mean to you?
True leadership at AMN begins with the commitment to help each team member reach their personal and professional goals. If you put the needs of others first, you will benefit as well, and so will your entire team and your company. We also encourage others to take on challenges, because we know that’s when you grow the most. Our team is tremendously hard-working and innovative; we challenge ourselves and our team, and they rise to it.
- Share one recent accomplishment you’re proud of.
We are in the lowest unemployment climate that most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Attracting and retaining great teams can be challenging, especially in an environment where competitors are coming at you from all sides with promises that sometimes just can’t be met. I have a team that is split between highly tenured and fairly new, but they are united by a desire to work together for the greater good of our company and our clients. The highest of integrity, the best skill in the industry, and hearts of gold that share a “like” vision. I am immensely proud of my team in 2018 and how they have come together when any company in the industry would love to have them!
- How long have you been a member of WBL? How does WBL support your career and/or personal goals?
I have been a member for three years. Being at the first conference was inspiring. I sat and listened to women of every generation before me and after me talk about the same struggles, successes, and memories that I have had. Best of all, I knew that I was part of a circle that was powerful!
- Personally or professionally, what might the WBL network be surprised to know about you?
On a personal note, I am a mother of five really great successful people! Professionally, I learned the best way to know the client is to walk a day with the client. In the recruitment business, I have been on a production line for airline jets, in a testing room for a cosmetics company, on a stock exchange floor, at an orientation for the Dallas Mavericks, and on an all-night shift in an emergency room. There is nothing like learning from the view point of the work to be done!