Alumni Spotlight – Leilani Johnson, UF MHA Class of 2018

Class of 2018 graduate, Leilani Johnson, currently works as the Project Manager for ambulatory operations within UF Health Physicians where she is tasked with the research, creation, and execution of project work plans in support of the financial, clinical, and operational mission for the organization. This includes budgetary and logistical operations in addition to communicating successfully with key stakeholders and organizational personnel to ensure all properly adhere to UF Health, UF, and UF Health Physicians policies.

No stranger to the UF Health environment, Johnson has had the opportunity to work within UF Health Shands, UF College of Medicine, and UF Health Physicians since 2015 after completing her undergraduate degree. Now in her professional career, she is fortuitously positioned to work alongside several graduates of the UF MHA program as well as current MHA candidates completing their internship requirement, which affords the ability to witness how the program has prepared past graduates and current students to collaborate in working relationships.

Johnson credits her current success with the institutional knowledge she has gained from serving in these various roles over the last eight years. She readily appreciates the unparalleled “psychological safety” provided by her supervisor and co-workers in her current environment.

Speaking as an alum of the UF MHA program to hopeful healthcare leaders, she insists that “the legwork needs to be done” in the ability to learn and comprehend the US healthcare system, data analytics, insurance and finance, among other courses as part of the curriculum.

“The didactics component during the full-time internship proved to be the most invaluable part of my experience in the program. During the internship, I expected to take what I learned during my coursework and apply it in real time. With the guidance of my preceptor, I was able to do this in tandem with understanding the importance of building meaningful relationships and making human connections.”

Her advice to current UF MHA students in solidifying their future career plans? Don’t be consumed about securing a certain title or credential:

“Regularly check in with yourself about what is important to you throughout all areas of your life. I wish I would have spent more time thinking about what else would make me happy along the way because once I met my salary and title goals, I thought, ‘Now what?’ My ‘now what’ is a job working under the mentorship of someone I learn something new from with every interaction we have who I also get to swap puppy pictures with.”

For those who are struggling to find their professional niche, she encourages perseverance until finding the “right table”.

“When faced with rejection, it is a very human response to think we’re not smart enough or worthy, and sometimes our brains will trick us into thinking we’re not qualified or competent. I encourage you to remind yourself there is a seat for everyone at the table. More often than not, you’ll see it’s a matter of finding the right table.”

In her free time, Johnson enjoys going on walks with her puppies, leisure reading, and adding to her foodie list of new cuisines she is eager to try.