In September 2017, Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 hurricane, devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. With an estimated death toll of over 3,000, it was the worst recorded natural disaster to ever affect those islands, destroying the entirety of its power grid and leaving millions in the dark. A year and a half later with the island still reeling from the devastation, non-profit organizations continue to assist with the rebuilding efforts. Combining her passion for volunteering, healthcare, and Latin America, Senior Consultant Alicia Baylor took advantage of her bench time and flexible schedule by helping with these efforts. In January 2019 she became the national programs coordinator for Puerto Rico Rises, a non-profit organization whose mission is to guarantee that the aid being sent to Puerto Rico is distributed directly into the hands of those who need it the most.
Born to work in healthcare
Born and raised in Missoula, Montana, Alicia became a candy striper at age 16. With a mom, brother, and grandmother who all worked in healthcare, it was never an option for Alicia to not be in healthcare. She always knew that her place in this world was to help those who were taking care of patients. Before starting at Nordic, she had spent 10 years working in different areas of a small regional hospital, from hospital registration to ER coordinator and project manager to EMT in an ambulance.
Never having any intention of working in Epic implementation, she originally joined the consulting world to get involved in the strategic business side of healthcare. It was happenstance that her desk ended up right next to the help desk at a hospital, where she kept overhearing all the help desk agents talking about “smart this,” “smart that,” and SmartTools. With her curiosity piqued, she started to write down all the different “smart” items and finally asked someone what they were talking about. They told her it was Epic and that if she was interested, they could send her out to Wisconsin to get certified. So she did, and that one little question ended up changing her career path.
From Montana to California
Having spent so many years working in different sectors of healthcare, Alicia’s knowledge of how hospitals functioned and how to communicate with the different types of healthcare employees proved to be a large part of her success in Epic implementation. She was comfortable getting large groups of people together to make decisions and facilitate change. It was these strengths in leadership that led Alicia to Nordic and her dream job two years ago, a behavioral health project manager position in the Bay Area. Though she loves her home of Missoula, Alicia has always considered herself a West Coaster at heart. It’s the sense of community, the proximity to adventurous activities, and getting to meet people from all over the world that excites her about the West Coast. The ability to get amazing Thai food at any time of the day was just icing on the cake.
Helping Puerto Rico rise up
It’s that same excitement that led Alicia to pursue a role with Puerto Rico Rises as the national program coordinator. Having previously spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America, Alicia was naturally drawn to their mission in Puerto Rico’s time of need. A self-proclaimed volunteer addict, she’s always been drawn to helping others wherever possible, volunteering for eight or nine organizations in Montana. During her bench time between contracts, Alicia was able to use her expertise in project management and communication to help Puerto Rico Rises get on its feet. She has continued her work with the organization during her current consulting contract.
An organization that is 98 percent women, Puerto Rico Rises has a variety of programs that provide funds and supplies to those assisting with the rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico. The largest program it has is a mobile electricity unit that travels around the island providing electricity to those that are still without it. The organization also helps connect mental health professionals with people located in rural areas. With the island still going through so many obstacles, many people are choosing to leave Puerto Rico altogether. This is the area that Alicia is assisting with the most, helping Puerto Ricans get introduced to the mainland, setting them up with housing and jobs, as well as connecting them with food resources and family that may have already left the island. Puerto Rico Rises is also working on setting up disaster protocols in case another disaster were to hit Puerto Rico.
Nordic’s award-winning culture encourages our teammates to contribute to their communities and make a difference in many different ways. For Alicia, the ability to work remotely with a flexible schedule has given her the opportunity to assist with Puerto Rico Rises, as well as other organizations in Missoula. If you’d like to join a supportive environment in healthcare that allows you to make a difference, be happy, and grow your career, apply to a job that interests you at Nordic.
If you’d like to learn more about Puerto Rico rises or make a donation, visit the website: www.puertoricorises.com