Celebrating International Women's Day with Aspen RxHealth

Celebrating International Women's Day with Aspen RxHealth

Happy International Women’s Day! It’s special day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. To honor this day of recognition, we sat down with some of the inspiring women of Aspen RxHealth to learn how they became the women they are today, their thoughts on inclusion in the workplace, women they admire, and more.  

Leah Carden, Colleen Ly, Page Ikeda, and Nikkita Emberson

Thank you to our amazing women for sharing their thoughts, opinions, and advice with us:  

Leah Carden – Chief Financial Officer 

Nikkita Emberson – Client Experience Manager 

Page Ikeda – Vice President, Product 

Colleen Ly – Manager, Growth Marketing 

Describe a pivotal moment in your career that shaped who you are today and influenced your approach to work.  

Leah: I've been very fortunate to always work with CEOs who valued diversity and women in the workplace. I was surprised when I attended a CEO/CFO roundtable with 100 executives and I was the only woman in the room. It was eye opening and made me grateful for what I have and motivated to make sure to continue to celebrate and promote women and diversity in leadership positions.  

Another eye-opening experience for me was in my role as a Girl Scout leader. We had a girl-led troop from the time they were in kindergarten. By the end of elementary school, even our shyest girls had found their voice. They knew how to run a meeting, coordinate activities, work together and advocate for what they wanted. The meetings would never have gone the way they did if my co-leader and hadn’t let the members of the troop lead themselves. But because the girls did it, they were invested. And they respected what the other girls chose. Girls who didn't like the outdoors still went camping. Girls who didn't like crafts made cards for the veterans. They really respected each other's choices. It was such an amazing experience to watch these girls grow and learn throughout their elementary school years. This experience was more rewarding than anything in my professional life. 

Nikkita: In a previous stage of my career, I worked in a care center as a representative who would schedule appointments for pharmacists to complete comprehensive medication reviews (CMRs), with a focus on members who were experiencing transitions of care.  The members I spoke to were in difficult times in their life due to being hospitalized for a variety of issues.  With each member I spoke to, I realized how impactful these types of services are and how important it is to approach everyone with kindness and understanding. As I’ve moved on in my career, I’ve applied the kindness and understanding I learned to not only how I speak with team members and clients and clients but how I approach complex issues. Seeking to understand the root of the problem or the goal of a project helps me shape my approach and kindness always goes a long way in any situation. 

Page: Early in my career there were several instances where I was the only woman in the room, and I learned in those situations that if I did not speak up for myself and make my thoughts known, it was unlikely anyone would ask my opinion. As an intern, I was fortunate to have a manager who recognized that I was very uncomfortable speaking in groups. He sent me to a public speaking class which built the confidence I needed in those early career situations. This experience has always made me look for those in the room who do not feel confident, women and men, and to find a way to give them a voice. 

How do you believe diversity and inclusion affect the workplace, and what steps can be taken to further promote gender equality? 

Colleen: As we say at Aspen RxHealth, diversity is our superpower. Diversity and inclusion initiatives have a profound impact on the workplace, fostering an environment where diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences are valued and celebrated. In general, I believe continuing and expanding our current DEI initiatives and getting more people involved will help further promote gender equality within our organization. 

Nikkita: I believe diversity and inclusion of people from all walks of life is extremely important. With it comes diversity of thought and conversation. It gives you the opportunity to arrive at the best possible next steps for strategic growth and issue resolution. Without diversity, a company can become stagnant due to a lack of ideas. 

I am very grateful to work at Aspen RxHealth. I’ve never once questioned if I’m being treated equally. Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case in roles I’ve had earlier in my career. From the time I joined, my ideas have been heard and my questions have been answered without judgement or dismissal. I am constantly amazed by how respectful and open everyone is here. 

Page: Representation matters in ways that we can measure and in a million other ways that we can only guess. I believe organizations must be fully aware of where they stand from a diversity and inclusion perspective. We must constantly evaluate ourselves on factors such as representation in leadership, management, and within our teams. I believe we should talk openly about where we feel there are gaps and build that into our hiring process. I believe managers should always be asking themselves if everyone on their team has equal opportunities to be recognized and grow in their role. Finally, I believe that leadership is responsible for evaluating factors that create inequality that may not be obvious such as culture and company benefits. Flexible working hours and conditions, accommodating PTO policies, and paid leave benefits can create equality across teams and create conditions where team members can find balance and are loyal to the organization. 

Leah: Diversity in the workplace has been proven to lead to better results. Encouraging various backgrounds and experiences creates a better company. Culture in an organization is set by how you treat people. Treating people with respect and valuing their input are core values of Aspen RxHealth, which leads to inclusion. The work is never really done, but if the culture is set, we will set ourselves up for success. 

Who are some women that you admire, and why? 

Page: I have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing women throughout my career who were mentors, co-workers, or members of my team. At Aspen RxHealth, we have such an amazing team of women in leadership, and it is amazing that there aren’t just one or two of us. Even this far into my career, their representation, their support, and the high standards they set is so important to me. There are also so many other women at Aspen RxHealth that are inspiring because they are so amazing at their jobs, they are balancing family or personal pursuits, and they are always kind and generous with their time. 

Leah: Michelle Obama - she resonates with me for many reasons. I've read her books and I love how honest and human she is. She writes a lot about her own experiences with mental health through the pandemic, which is a subject we all need to focus on.  And despite being the President's wife, she led her own initiatives that mattered to her. 

Nikkita: In my career, I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with so many amazing women. The one woman I must mention with detail is Kay Aarrestad, our Director of Client Experience. Kay is the reason I’m in the career that I am and has taught me so much in the years I’ve known her. Kay is truly someone I look up to for many reasons inside and outside of the workplace. The main being her kindness and the way she presents herself in the most authentic way. She has a special way of making everyone feel at ease and always approaching things in a calm manner. 

How do you navigate challenges or barriers that you may face as a woman in the workplace, and what advice would you offer to other aspiring women? 

Leah: My challenge has really been about balance. Being a great mom, friend, spouse, employee, and leader all at the same time is almost impossible. I find that I ebb and flow into what I can be great at and have come to accept that I may not be great at all things at the same time. I love work. It fuels me and brings me joy. But I also love being a mom, a sister, a wife, a friend. My advice to others would be “It's ok to find balance. Take time for yourself so you can find the right equilibrium. Some days, some weeks, some years, you may not be a great leader, employee, partner, mom, etc. It's OK. Give yourself a break.” As I've gotten older, I'm also more reflective and I really try to take the time to reflect on the positives/growths and challenges/learning opportunities of the past year. 

Colleen: When faced with challenges or barriers, I try to keep in mind what is and is not in my control, what needs to be prioritized to overcome the challenge, and ask for help when needed. If I could give any advice, I would say to be confident in your abilities and don't be afraid to speak up, especially when asking for help! It's not a sign of weakness, but instead a display of confidence when you know where your boundaries lie. 

Nikkita: I lean on my mentors a lot when it comes to navigating challenges and barriers. Talking through issues helps me see them more clearly and come up with a plan of action. I can also pull on their experience to learn what may or may not have worked in the past. 

I have two pieces of advice for women aspiring to succeed in their careers. First, find your support system. Having people in your corner will help build your confidence and give you a sounding board for anything you might need. Second, don’t be afraid to use your voice. Your ideas and questions are valid, and you should never be afraid to voice them. 

Page: I would recommend that everyone, especially women, seek out mentors as well as be willing to mentor others throughout their career. Sometimes this happens naturally and sometimes you need to be intentional about it. Mentoring is so valuable, and it creates connections for life. I would also tell all women to not be afraid to communicate what you need and stand up for what you believe. We must advocate for ourselves and others and have confidence in our own abilities. 

How do you see the future of women in healthcare technology, and how do you see yourself contributing to that vision? 

Colleen: The future of women in health tech holds immense promise and potential for advancement, innovation, and impact. I envision increased representation in leadership positions as well as more opportunities for advancement for women in STEM that will result in more women in health tech.  

We can all contribute to a brighter future by continuing to support diversity and inclusion both inside and outside of the workplace. By embracing diversity, championing inclusion, and prioritizing ethical leadership, we can collectively shape a more equitable, accessible, and patient-centered healthcare system for all. 

Page: While I feel there are more opportunities than ever before for women in health tech, I believe we must stay cognizant and diligent about diversity and inclusion within our organizations. I also want to be someone who uses their experience, resources, and connections to develop and support women already in or entering the workforce. It takes so little to provide a high school or college student with a glimpse into what it means to do your job or work in your industry or to meet with someone who is seeking a new role or help get them connected to someone you know. These actions can be life changing. 

Leah: Women will continue to play a role in shaping all industries. I think it's inevitable. I hope my contributions are felt from the work I've done with the next generation in my personal life and with the culture set at our company in my professional life. 

We’d like to express a resounding “thank you!” to Colleen, Leah, Nikkita, and Page – for serving as inspiring leaders, kind co-workers, and caring friends day in and day out. We appreciate you all!