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Special Edition 10 Year Anniversary Employee Spotlight – Connie Ducaine

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.

 It’s an amazing feat to be with any one company for 10 years, but in our field it can be especially difficult work, what’s your driving force for your sustainability?

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.

Is there anyone or anything that you feel was integral to your success?

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.

What’s been your proudest moment during your 10 years here?

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.

 What hopes do you have for the newer generation of Vital Decisions?

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.

It has been a pleasure working with Connie for the past 10 years. You can always count on Connie to tell it like it is, brighten up your day, follow through on her word and support those around her. Her aura is contagious and her passion, commitment and dedication unmatched. Our Mission is best achieved if those of us who work inside these walls pursue our mission not on a professional level but on a personal one. Connie has demonstrated time and time again how personal this work is for her. She is a leader amongst leaders and I am grateful for her service, her friendship and her dedication to our clients.
Leah Puccio, CEO
Leah Puccio, CEO
Ariana Noto, VP Clinical Operations
Ariana Noto, VP Clinical Operations
Since the moment I met Connie I was struck by her strong clinical mind, quick wit, and infectious personality! I’ve always admired her genuine commitment to our mission and her drive to take on new challenges in service of positive change. Connie’s a natural leader and the type of person who inspires others with her authenticity, passion and commitment. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work with and learn from Connie Ducaine.
Connie reads a room, a situation, or an opportunity better than almost anyone else as she has a tremendous combination of both emotional and mental intelligence in part from her deep training as a therapist and now from her deep experience as a business professional. I also so appreciate how committed she is to truth – she wants actionable unvarnished feedback for herself and has never given me anything less. And yet she is also a walking example of the power of cognitive behavior theory as her relentlessly “super fantastic” outlook is incredibly motivating and contagious. These conflicting traits and her boundless energy make Connie a fantastic colleague and collaborator.
Tracy Korman,<br />
SVP Products & Analytics
Tracy Korman,
SVP Products & Analytics
Ellen Steuerer,<br />
SVP Finance & Administration
Ellen Steuerer,
SVP Finance & Administration
It has been a pleasure working with Connie over the last eight plus years. Her passion for the work that we do is outstanding. She is always one that challenges us to do better not because we can but because we should. She is an advocate for the members we serve as well at the health plans, ensuring they are getting the very best service we can offer. I have learned so much from her about the work we do and am grateful to call her “Friend”.
I think of Connie as a unicorn — with equal depth of passion and expertise. Because she did the work for so many years, on the phones helping people find their voice and speak their truth, she understands the transformational power of having a plan. She wakes up every day driven by the voices of our clients and gets to work to spread our mission. She inspires us all.
Megan Boyaval, Content Marketing
Megan Boyaval, Content Marketing