INTERVIEW SERIES: AUSTIN MONTGOMERY08/01/2016
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We took a little break from our interview series, but we’re back in action, chatting with Austin Montgomery, our Director of Services.
Thanks for sitting down with us, Austin! Tell us a little about yourself – Who are you, and what brought you to Prominence?
My journey that brought me to Prominence was very serendipitous, but suffice it to say that I joined because of the culture.  My co-workers are far and away the most talented, fun, and caring people I know, hard work is appreciated and rewarded, we regularly do things that have never been done before, and we have foundational company values that resonate with me.  It’s a fantastic climate that fosters personal growth and regularly encourages people to try new things and grow their boundaries.
Doing new and exciting things can be a challenge. How have your previous experiences best prepared you for the work you do today?
I believe that we all are regularly given opportunities to prove our mettle, and that every choice we make in those situations – good or bad, commendable or regrettable – is a building block for the next opportunity we will face.  Many of my experiences in life involve overcoming obstacles or enduring to a desired outcome, and I think each of them (whether I was successful in that experience or not) is applicable in the work that I do today, which is helping healthcare organizations change for the better.
Let’s talk more about the impacts you have on healthcare organizations. Why do you enjoy working in healthcare?
What drew me to healthcare initially and what continues to make this work so fulfilling is the knowledge that the work we do will improve the lives of others. At Prominence, we’re very fortunate to often have a seat at the executive table where we can provide assistance to organizations as they work on their most pressing initiatives, and we also work directly with end users to eliminate roadblocks to providing better care.  Having a relationship that spans from the executive team to end users enables to positively impact the experiences and care patients receive throughout the entire healthcare continuum, and that is truly rewarding. Knowing that the work we do will benefit millions of people across the country, both those who work for healthcare organizations and those who are cared for by those entities, motivates me every day.
Ok, switching things up a little bit – what do you usually eat for breakfast?
Coffee, two small peanut butter cups, and a bowl of granola cereal. Yes, that is breakfast.
Let’s talk a little about your working style. What non-technical skill has made you more productive?
Without a doubt, this would be meditation.  It has helped me improve my concentration, and most importantly it causes me to reflect and examine the perspectives and biases I am applying to my life.  The improved concentration is a straight productivity boost, but the mindfulness gained from meditation has helped me to keep a more level-head during stressful situations, and enabled me to better understand the perspectives of others.  Both of those latter items have indirect productivity gains in that I feel more in harmony with my coworkers and I don’t let the stress of a situation eat away at my ability to accomplish other things.
Slowing down to speed up… a paradox of adulthood! Which brings me to my final question – If you could tell your 14-year-old self something, what would it be?
Take more of what you perceive to be ‘risks’ and focus more on defining your ‘core self’ (not worrying so much about what others think).  I was a pretty risk-averse person most of my life, and I still am to an extent, but I’m better now at calculating my risks and understanding which ones are likely to have a greater, permanent net positive if successful as opposed to a small, temporary net negative if unsuccessful.  In terms of defining your ‘core self’, to me that really just means understanding what is important to you.  If it all falls apart tomorrow, are you going to be happy with who you are and what you’ve done?  If you can say yes to that, you’ve probably defined your ‘core self’ very well.
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