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At the crossroads of career growth and community building: Nathalia’s story

Nathalia and a colleague

When she first moved to North Carolina from New York, Nathalia found a place at Duke Health as a medical transcriptionist for our Clinical Labs. She continued in this role for ten years, growing her skills. Handling administrative work for the labs meant Nathalia excelled in all things communication. After a decade in Clin Labs, her growing passion for process improvement and helping others inspired a change in her career direction.

“Duke is a great place to start your journey,” said Nathalia. “Even if the direction is not linear, you can accomplish what you need to accomplish and move to where you want to move here.”

Knowing she wanted to stay within the health system, Nathalia joined the Human Resources team in 2019, excited to help redefine how team members interact with HR at Duke Health. Once she started, she felt empowered to really help people navigate hiring, onboarding, and other HR processes, making a positive impact on their career journey here.

Now, she’s taken her career down a new path by becoming the executive assistant for Rhonda Brandon, senior vice president and chief human resources officer of Duke University Health System. Working alongside senior leadership at Duke Health has shown Nathalia how decisions are made and how much they care for team members here.

“I enjoy being part of leadership meetings when possible because I’m able to see our leaders in a different light,” said Nathalia. “I appreciate the heart and thought they put into the decisions they make. They really are concerned about people.”

Growing professionally has also led Nathalia to expand her involvement in Duke Health’s affinity groups. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, she saw a need for connection and camaraderie in her circles. So, after collaborating with fellow team members to spearhead its development, the Administrative Professionals Affinity Group (APAG) was officially launched in 2021.

As a member of the group’s leadership, Nathalia has been instrumental in their efforts to create a welcoming community. APAG attends “Day One” mixers to encourage new team members to meet colleagues who share a similar day-to-day experience. This helps Nathalia nurture networks of support so that others can follow their passions and explore other career paths as she did here.

Another program APAG is currently piloting, called “APAG Peer Coaches,” makes sure new team members have someone who can answer their questions and help them navigate the Duke system. Nathalia is a big advocate for these initiatives, because they create community early on, offer opportunities to further develop career journeys, and give a new perspective to life at Duke Health.

“What I enjoy the most is the people,” said Nathalia. “The people that I have come across; I love all their different stories.”

Throughout her experience with us, Nathalia has found the support to thrive not only in her career, but in her support of deeper connections for team members here. By helping to start APAG, she’s given fellow team members the chance to find the same support that’s helped her grow her career and create lasting connections.

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