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In honor of Women’s History Month, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles posed a question to some of our female team members across the organization. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 10-year-old self? Their responses are collected here.
Administrative Director, Cancer and Blood Disease Institute
4 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“Have confidence in yourself. Don’t look for anyone else’s validation for your own happiness or success. Learn to love and respect yourself without worrying if you’re ‘good enough’ or ‘cool enough.’ Realize that you are a person full of amazing potential and deserving of great things. You have always been and will always be … enough.”
Director, Human Resources
4 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“The first step at being GREAT is being GRATEFUL. Never forget your roots and the life lessons that groomed you to be the woman you are today. Continue to take those risks and do not be afraid of your mistakes. Some fashion and hair choices will be questionable but have fun with it. Your mother has always known your true potential. Remember what she said: ‘Baby girl, YOU are the ‘rich man’ in today’s society.’”
Director, Accreditation and Licensing, Infection Prevention, and Emergency Management
7 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“I was painfully shy as a child; I had trouble making eye contact with others and never spoke up about anything. I was so afraid of saying the wrong thing or embarrassing myself that I let myself fade into the background. I genuinely thought that no one would want to hear what I had to say. My advice to all of the shy girls out there is to speak up! What I see now is that all of those years that I stayed quiet were missed opportunities for me to grow. My current role at CHLA requires me to speak up all the time and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share what I know and learn from others. It takes a little courage, but looking someone in the eye and advocating for yourself and what you believe in is so rewarding in the long run.”
Director, Human Resources
20 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“I would tell my 10-year-old self to always chose kindness and compassion, even when facing anger or judgement. Everything changes and nothing stays the same. Some change includes loss and grief and some change brings joy and love. You will survive all of it and grow and learn from each experience. Love who you are because you come from generations of strong and powerful women that helped pave the way to give you the opportunity to be all you can be.”
Vice President, Corporate Partnerships, Foundation
7.5 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“I would tell my 10-year-old self that even though you were given up at birth and adopted by a very loving family, it’s okay to have the doubts and feelings you do. And you don’t need to spend so much time pleasing everyone around you just to make sure they don’t leave. Your worth isn’t tied up in how ‘good’ you are, what you look like, getting perfect grades or in how successful you are in sports or other activities. Your worth is who you are. You belong here. Don’t spend so much time making sure everyone else is happy with you. Stay focused and believe in yourself.”
Senior Organizational Effectiveness Consultant, Human Resources
1.5 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“Dear Kid Jen,
I know you’re eager to know more about the world and yourself. As you grow you will learn a lot of things – some that shatter your worldview, and others that expand it. It’s important to hear perspectives from outside of what you already know and integrate that knowledge so you can put more good into the world and be the best, most compassionate you that you can be.
One thing that’s important to learn early: your needs matter. Sometimes it can be tempting to stay quiet to avoid inconveniencing others. The thing is, you can end up denying part of yourself in the process, building up resentment and taking it out on the people you love over time.
We have several examples of some amazing women caretakers in our family who we respect and admire. Know that they are more than those caretaker roles. Before they were your Grandma or Mom or Aunt they were their own person first. As you grow and take on new roles – (Ex)Wife, Aunt, Godparent – remember that you are a human being first, and your needs and desires are valid and deserving of your attention. There is no need to abandon your joy to play a role.
Similarly, the world doesn’t get to limit what roles you can play. You are worthy of what you desire. Enter a room with your core values – curiosity, love, courage and integrity – and good will both come from you and to you. That’s not to say you won’t encounter resistance, or that you won’t make mistakes; it simply means that you’ll continue to learn, grow and be ready to effectively handle inevitable resistance and pave the way for others to be included.
Right now, you’re a kid, so don’t worry too much; lean into your joy and keep learning. Every state we’re in is temporary. Remembering that will get you through hard times. I hope that knowledge reminds you to be fully present in the joyful times: the celebrations, the late-night giggles with your sisters, dress-up with your little cousins (who you’ll meet soon), surf days with the ‘original 5’ cousins, the dance shows, the times spent doing not much at all with friends you hold close to your heart. Treasure these moments – savor them – and I promise you’ll have a life full of them.”
Director, Graduate Medical Education; Attending Physician, Division of Hematology-Oncology
21 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“As your life unfolds, the journey will not always be smooth, but the mountains and valleys along the way will make you wiser and stronger. Be patient, curious and brave. Listen to your heart, it knows the right path. Take time to breathe and enjoy the many moments of connection; connection with yourself, Nature, and others.”
Attending Physician, Children’s Orthopedic Center Sports Medicine and Concussion Program
8 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“Dear 10-year-old Bianca, I believe in you. You are here to do great things, build upon the fantastic accomplishments of your ancestors and contribute positively to this earth. Through life, there will be challenges, walls and pitfalls, and that is OK. Those experiences will make you stronger, more tenacious and those tribulations are not at all insurmountable. Accept those times of vulnerability to live courageously and resiliently. While there may be those who challenge your efforts or your capabilities, you are meant to be where you are; do not be afraid to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and strive to keep carrying the path forward of those brave innovators and disruptors that came before you. Change or standing up to challenge the status quo can be hard and scary, but honoring your conviction can help you. During tough moments, know that you do not have to stand alone. Reaching out for support is not a sign of weakness or a poor reflection of your abilities. You will have a vast and expansive support network that will be there during those peaks and more especially during those valleys, reminding you that you are strong, smart, adept and in a particular position for a reason. Keep striving to learn and build upon yourself while continually remembering to reach out to bring others along and build them up.”