Every opportunity is a learning experience (www.ucollege.edu)

“It’s been a fun and exciting journey,” Maggard said, “and I’m very grateful to Union for the educational and experiential foundation.”

After completing majors in business administration and communication with emphases in marketing and journalism, Maggard began her career at Adventist Health System in Florida. She then spent two years as an executive recruiter for The Powell Group before returning to work for Florida Hospital where she has been ever since. “I’ve worked in a variety of roles involved in marketing, strategic communication, foundation, corporate training, patient experience, and now hospital operations,” she explained.

Maggard still values her friendships with the faculty who mentored her in college and the classmates who eventually became her colleagues. She still exchanges Christmas cards with Union College business professors Barry and Lisa Forbes, and she related that her decision to pursue an MBA was influenced by another Union College alumnus, Brian Adams, who is now CEO for Florida Hospital Tampa.

Building a culture from the ground up

Years after graduation, Maggard has never stopped learning. In 2010 she completed an MBA from Webster University. That same year she also became director of operations and internal communications for Florida Hospital’s Altamonte campus. Even as a director, Maggard intended to come away with something new, and one of the things she gleaned from her time there was how to foster employee engagement. She explained that the Altamonte campus has extremely high employee engagement, and she plans to bring that same quality to Winter Garden.

In her current administrative role at the Winter Garden campus, Maggard is responsible for building the new facility from scratch. This campus will be a new model for the Orlando area, focusing mainly on outpatient services. Slated to open late next year, the facility will offer an ER, a 23-hour observation unit, imaging services, primary care, and some specialists.

These days, Maggard and her team are focused primarily on planning the new facility’s design, operational model, and physician model. “There really is no average day,” Maggard laughed. Among her many responsibilities, Maggard is most excited about building a campus culture. This involves not only selecting the right employees, Maggard said, but also setting certain standards of behavior on- and off-stage.

Internal processes like how often nurses round on their patients, or how and when follow-up calls are made, will influence how the campus culture is built. These processes may not seem obvious or important to some, but to Maggard, they deserve careful attention because they greatly impact each patient’s experience.

Maggard learned early on the importance of the company culture. One of her first jobs at Florida Hospital involved investigating patient experience by going undercover as a patient and reporting on her experience. This information was then used to inform and improve upon internal processes at the hospital. Now Maggard is able to build those processes from the ground up.

Making connections

Looking back over the experiences that prepared her for her job today, Maggard still appreciates her strong educational background provided by Union College professors like Andy Nash, Mike and Michelle Mennard, and Chris Blake. She says she started at Union as a communication major because she loved to write. “I still use skills I learned in my communication classes,” she admitted.

The summer before her junior year, Maggard interned at the Adventist Review. There she gained hands-on experience in writing and publishing. She also learned more about how the Adventist church operates, an experience she still values highly. About that same time, Maggard decided to add a business major and marketing emphasis to diversify her skills and give her more career flexibility after graduation.

The next summer—her last summer before graduation—Maggard interned at Florida Hospital to complete one of her final requirements for her business degree. “This internship helped me get my foot in the door,” Maggard said. The professional network she formed during her internship helped her land her first job at Florida Hospital after graduation, paving the way to a successful career.

Building a diverse network of friends and mentors is part of why Maggard has been so successful. “My [leadership] style is constantly forming from watching others,” Maggard said. She looks to her mentors and studies what they do. In this way, she continues to learn even as she steers the operation of a major new health facility.

Some of Maggard’s first leadership experiences happened at Union. As a student, she was involved in Campus Ministries, student government, and public relations team, as well as editor of the Clocktower, Union’s student newspaper. In these roles, Maggard was empowered to rally a team and develop a product, an experience she said greatly impacted her. “Union helps students learn to craft and execute a vision,” she explained. She took those skills to her job where they have been instrumental in shaping her as a leader and in developing her career path.

Converging business and beliefs

When she returned to Adventist Health System in 2008, Maggard realized how much she loved working for a Christian organization where her professional skills and personal convictions could work toward the same goal. Serving as an administrator today gives her many opportunities to touch lives. She is able to build processes and make decisions for a large team of people whose influence extends far beyond her. She often asks herself, “How can I creatively extend the healing ministry of Christ, not just to our patients, but to our employees as well?” Her philosophy is that every day on the job is an opportunity to make Christian ministry more overt. The key is to be intentional all along the way.

For Amanda Maggard, the foundation that Union College provided her has been very important to her life. Her classes, mentors, leadership roles and internships have all helped her reach where she is today. According to Maggard, like many other graduates, no learning experience is wasted.

(Originally published at https://www.ucollege.edu/news/2015/06/08/amanda-sauder-maggard-%E2%80%9904-every-opportunity-learning-experience-and-she-made-most)

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