Executive Assistant of the Week: Boston
Tara D. Traylor
BRIGHAM & WOMEN’S HOSPITAL
Tara Traylor has 24 years of experience in health care administration across a broad range of patient care settings, within several sub-specialties of surgery and medicine, including rural family medicine, private surgical services and urban, academic health care organizations. Tara has been with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) since 2006. For the past 4 years, Tara has provided executive support to the Division Chief of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Endoscopy while also serving as the Administrative Supervisor. In this hybrid role, Tara manages 5 Academic Administrative FTE’s, performs project management, general operational oversight, and acts as a liaison for their 50 faculty in 4 service locations. Additionally, she manages the faculty search and appointments processes with Harvard Medical School, for which BWH is a teaching affiliate. In 2012, Tara became a student mentor through the Student Success Job Program (SSJP). Since 2015, she has served as an Executive Committee Board Member for the Building Up Students (B.U.S.) program, which is affiliated with the Campaign for Catholic Schools and focuses on providing quality education resources to at risk children through fundraising and missions. Moreover in 2019, Tara became a Strategic Planning Consultant for GreenTown Kids, an education initiative aimed at teaching environmental awareness to children through hands-on activities.
Tara will be one of the distinguished contributors at the ELS Forum: Boston on May 8-9, 2019
Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.
I’m most proud of my current role as an Administrative Supervisor, which I have held for the last 4 years. It’s a unique, hybrid position within the Department of Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and my Division Chief, Richard Blumberg, afforded me the opportunity. Due to the economy, our Division was subject to restructuring. I saw an opportunity to save the Division significant money, promote myself and others, and clean up some of the operational processes. Because I had earned merit through consistent, exceptional work, I asked Dr. Blumberg to formally meet with me to discuss my proposal. He believed in me and afforded me the opportunity to make the change and I took advantage of it.
Are there any blogs, books, articles, or online forums you recommend reading?
I recommend The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh. It provides a good foundation for establishing work priorities.
Tell us about a mentor who changed your professional life. What was it about this individual that left such a lasting impression?
Again, I would say Dr. Blumberg. In my career history, I have never been treated with the more kindness and respect. I am mindful of his time and I don’t ask banal questions. At this point, I can literally ask him anything about our organization, pharma, research, and medicine related. He definitely serves as my mentor for understanding business strategies. He is an excellent and patient teacher, and I have been able to directly translate and successfully apply his methods and approaches to the management of a team of 5 Administrative Assistants.
What is your favorite part about being a strategic business partner to your executive?
I have incredible variety in my job, which is engaging and stimulates my motivation. I am trusted implicitly and even after 4 years of working for him, he routinely thanks me and says that I am the best assistant he has had during his 30 year career. When someone says and shows in their actions that you are worth investing in, this instills a sense of pride and self-worth that cannot be duplicated. In return, I am able to invest my efforts and loyalty in supporting and managing a leader that is worthy of my respect and that of others.
How do you unwind after a long day or week?
After a long week, I look forward to spending time with friends and family, enjoying the performing arts and singing karaoke, cooking, amateur horticulture and landscape design, and on the lucky occasion, spending the day in my PJs with books and a movie.
Is the executive assistant role a long-term profession for you?
For the foreseeable future. It is an undeniably beneficial experience in my career. The variety of task and the level of exposure across the institution are invaluable for future Administrative and other Operational Management roles.