XX in Health: A woman of grace and leader in healthcare

Alexandra Drane goes by Alex, and she is graceful, elegant and full of passion.

In spite of today’s healthcare challenges, Alex is always the first to attack the elephant in the room. Problems big, small, personal, professional, Alex takes them all in stride and doesn’t stop working. In fact, she hasn’t stopped working, and her career is representative of her infinite tenacity. She got her start attending business meetings with her father at an early age and later went on to found several healthcare ventures and nonprofits, and is the current founder, Chief Visionary Officer and Chair of the Board of Eliza Corporation. A mother, daughter, wife, boss, mentor, friend, coach, leader, Alex is an exception to the male majority of healthcare executives. In this interview, Alex shares her motivations and passion for improving healthcare and changing the world.

When did you make the decision to focus on healthcare? 

Sometimes the universe serves something up for you. It just gives it to you and ultimately becomes the greatest gift.

I believe that you should do something everyday that you love, and I want to spend all my time helping people improve their lives. I realize that healthcare is at the core of what makes people healthy and happy.

What goals did you set, and how did you go about achieving them? 

I think there are so many different types of people in the world. There are those who plan and those who don’t. I’ve never been a planner. Wherever I am, I want to have made a very informed, heartfelt and conscious decision. Sometimes the greatest adventures happen in little steps that you build over time.

What are your shortcomings/challenges?

My biggest challenge in life and what keeps me from being successful that I’m incredibly inpatient and care enormously about what I’m doing and the outcomes. That obviously has wonderful benefits but can also be damaging because I bring everything to every moment. That can be overwhelming and dangerous. I work all the time to get myself to relax. Sometimes I do that successfully and sometimes I don’t.

I love getting older, and I’m about to turn 41 in one week and I can’t wait. I love being 40. Forty means I’m legit in that I’m carrying a lot of scars. You naturally become more tempered. If you bring your best foot forward everyday, this enables you to survive. Age doesn’t matter.

How do you define yourself?

I’d like to think that I’m defined by my genuine love for people. I find them fascinating. I want to know what makes them tick, what makes them happy and keeps them happy. What makes them feel good about their place in the world.

What’s on your roadmap of things to do/achieve?

I want to eat at a restaurant by myself. I think it would be bold and brave. All the things that I want to do, I’m doing now. I want the healthcare space to broaden the definition for the things it’s responsible for.

I consider a walk down the street an opportunity to interact. I think as humans we’re obligated to bring joy to others.

It tortures me to think that people are facing real problems that we’re not addressing.

Why are there so few women today in the healthcare space?

I think the right answer is to look at the projector. I think there are increasing numbers of women in the healthcare space, and I think this number will only increase. I believe that the things that kept women from being active in the workplace have changed so fundamentally. We’re only going to see more women in this role. There’s a new generation of women coming through. Women who have the confidence, are role models and have the fundamental belief that they can be successful. These numbers are going to be drastically different five years from now.

What would be your tips to women starting out in healthcare?

My first and fundamental advice is to know the things that make you who are and keep going.

Women have the ability to see the challenges impacting people and really talk to what’s there with grace and make a difference. I think you have to own your scars and share your experiences.

You’re going to have bad days.

Things are imperfect. I think the thing for all women to remind themselves is to find joy in the things you love.

*Note: This post was written to support this week’s XX in Health, which recognizes today’s accomplished women in healthcare. Visit XX in Health to learn more.