“The continuous journey of learning is so important, especially in the health care industry,” explains Brooke Seymour. “It’s always evolving, and you have to be adaptable and always willing to learn.”
Those words hit harder when you know who they’re coming from. Brooke is living proof that lifelong learning and a versatile education can give you a competitive advantage – because the world doesn’t slow down, even if you choose to.
Brooke had already earned her bachelor’s degree in service management when she enrolled in the Master of Arts in Organizational Management program at the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC). At the time, she had a decade of experience in the health care industry, following in the footsteps of her parents: her mother was a nurse and her father oversaw the engineering department at the Mayo Clinic.
Her career didn’t start in health care, however. Brooke’s professional journey originated in retail and later took her to hospitality. While working in the golf sector, she even had the opportunity to travel the world. Eventually, she transitioned to health care; an industry she says helped her fulfill a “deeper purpose.” Today, she is an executive consultant and chief of staff for two Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Sacramento, where she is responsible for strategy, goal management, and supporting executive initiatives and projects.
There’s a level of respect in my industry when you have a master’s degree.
Having gained perspective from both the business and patient care sides, she recognizes that to succeed in health care and make an impact, you have to have career options other than nurse or doctor. It’s a sector that offers opportunities to graduates with multiple skill sets, allowing anyone to “lean into” health care if they have the passion and education, she adds.
“We are healing people, we are serving people, we are keeping people healthy, and that’s important to me personally,” Brooke says. “I believe health is your greatest asset as a person, and I’ve been able to use my degree to contribute to this industry.”
A Level of Respect
Like many UAGC students, Brooke began her master’s degree journey with the goal of extending and enhancing her career once she had a new academic credential in hand. What she didn’t anticipate soon after she enrolled is that senior leadership started to take notice.
“I was considered a high potential employee, and in health care, a master’s degree is a good achievement to move on and move up,” she says. “I was approached, and they asked me what my goals were.
“There’s a level of respect in my industry when you have a master’s degree.”
Not only was Brooke adding new knowledge and skills to her repertoire, but she was also gaining the confidence to put herself in a position for career enhancement. Halfway through her master’s degree program, she earned a promotion. In the summer of 2022, she finished her degree.
“It’s already paid off two-fold,” she says of her degree.
Rolling with the Changes
Brooke’s commitment to staying at the forefront of the health care industry reflects the dynamic nature of the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care sector is anticipated to experience substantial employment growth, surpassing the average for all occupations through 2032. The agency projects an annual average of 1.8 million job openings in health care occupations during this time because of both expansion and the need to replace workers leaving the industry.
With regulations, technology, an aging generation of Baby Boomers, and other factors driving the evolution of health care, Brooke is quick to emphasize the importance of adaptability and a continuous willingness to learn. For her, this means engaging in a multifaceted approach, from constant reading and research to pursuing additional certifications that enhance her skill set. She also underscores the significance of attending conferences as a means of staying abreast of new developments in her sector. These events serve as platforms to exchange ideas, share insights, and gain valuable perspectives on the evolving health care landscape.
“You have to manage change to be successful,” she explains. “Knowing how you communicate with employees, knowing change management and organizational management – these standards of work that I was taught – they’re very applicable to the work I do every day.”
Making Change for the Future
“I always try to be better today than yesterday,” Brooke says about the future, adding that while she’s not actively focused on her next promotion, she wants to be a force for continual improvement within Kaiser Permanente.
Her inspiration, she adds, comes from two places.
First, she is inspired by her family. Brooke’s husband, Rusty, is a financial advisor, and the couple has two children: 11-year-old Addison and 8-year-old Carson. Watching her mother pursue her master’s degree has already inspired Addison to go into the health care field and become a nurse, Brooke says.
“They both know their job is to go to college after high school,” she says. “That’s what they’re aspiring to do because that’s what my husband and I have done and it’s created an inspiration for them.
“They also love that I’m able to help people in health care, and that’s what’s important and part of the values that we’ve instilled in them.”
Brooke is also inspired to pursue opportunities and causes in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). During a trip to Abu Dhabi while she was working in the golf industry, her eyes were opened to what life is like in another country and culture. That, she says, allowed her to grow in ways she never considered.
“Living somewhere completely different from the way you’ve grown up, it expands your potential and just helps you learn about other people and how you can work more collaboratively and be more inclusive together,” she says.
Dream Chaser, Goal Achiever
With her master’s degree, Brooke feels confident she’ll be able to stay ahead of the curve. For now, she’s happy knowing she’s fulfilled her own belief in herself as a “dream chaser and goal achiever.”
“There is always something to learn and grow from, and when I don’t know how to do it, it motivates me quickly to learn how and to accomplish that task,” she says. “If you put your mind to it, anything can be done!”
Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.
Student success stories should not be interpreted as a promise or guarantee of career advancement or future earnings. The stories shared here represent the outcomes of individual students for illustrative purposes only.