Better Quality of Life
Connie describes her coming to Vital Decisions as a sign from the universe. Two unrelated friends told her on separate occasions that she should apply for a position at this place called ‘Vital Decisions.’ So 10 years ago, that’s just what she did. Connie started as a Specialist, and was one of the first 25 employees. Over the past decade she’s served as Clinical Account Manager and Clinical Account Director, before landing in her current role, Senior Vice President Strategic Solutions.
The driving force for my sustainability comes from a personal place. It was my second week as a Specialist at Vital Decisions when my boyfriend at the time, now husband, had a serious cardiac event. Initially we thought it was something minor but it quickly became complex and quite serious, to the point of involving conversation about the potential need for a heart transplant. The experience was quite traumatic for me and strengthened my empathy for caregivers. After his discharge from the hospital, I returned to work and I had an emotional and candid conversation with my supervisor. I remember my supervisor telling me, “You need to attend to yourself before you can work with clients. In this work you are going to interact with clients and caregivers who are in the same place you were just in and it could be triggering. We want you to be able to do your best work, so take your time and come back when you’re ready.” So I took the time that I needed and received a tremendous amount of support from everyone within the company. That feeling of connection and support has resulted in an unshakeable loyalty and commitment. Having the opportunity to interact with clients and provide a similar type of compassionate support to others during a difficult time has meant the world to me.
There are few people who come to mind as I think about what contributed to my success over the years. Ariana Noto was a wonderful mentor and a great support for me as I developed a deeper understanding of end of life decision making and advanced care planning. Mitchell Daitz was a tremendous support as well, I can still remember my interview with him after 10 years! Because of the positive culture, I feel comfortable taking risks and sharing my ideas. Our CEO Leah Puccio encourages authenticity and has worked hard to create an environment of mutual respect where we can feel safe to disagree, share ideas and work collaboratively.
My proudest moment at Vital Decisions is a collection of meaningful encounters with clients as a Specialist early in my career at the company. One significant memory involves my work with a client who I had multiple sessions with over a period of a few months. I was attempting to reach the client for a follow-up session and his wife answered, the client had passed. She said – “My husband talked with you about a lot of things that he couldn’t talk about with anyone else and he always felt better after your conversations. Thank you.” This was an impactful experience and one of the memories I reflect on often. It was encounters like this that motivated me to continue to do the work and inspired me to find ways to bring these experiences to even more people.
This work is challenging and my hope for the newer generation of Specialists and employees is to practice really good self-care. Have self-care practices, invest in yourself, show up, and be true to yourself.