Rising Health Leaders at Mason Cultivated Leadership Skills by Organizing Annual Symposium

Mason student group hosted a successful networking event for students in the DMV area.

Image of Akshaya Chinnathevar Ramesh speaking at a podium.

As president of Rising Health Care Leaders at Mason (RHLM), Akshaya Chinnathevar Ramesh’s main goal for the 2022 RHLM Spring Symposium was to help other students make connections that will benefit their future careers as health care leaders. Along the way, she also strengthened her own leadership skills. The Symposium gave students from Mason and neighboring universities opportunities to strengthen their professional relationships and learn from local professionals on critical topics affecting today’s health care industry.

Chinnathevar Ramesh, a student in the Master of Health Administration program, led the RHLM leadership team to create a successful spring event. In addition to Chinnathevar Ramesh, the RHLM leadership includes Diba Osmanzada, Karan Khushal, Veronica Desper, and Kirstyn Nero.

Chinnathevar Ramesh aspired to become the RHLM president so she could help fellow students accelerate their future careers through additional support and networking opportunities.

“I know what it is like to struggle beginning [a new program], being confused, and not knowing where to start,” Chinnathevar Ramesh said. “That is when the RHLM Symposium helped me and gave me the needed guidance, which inspired me [to join RHLM]. I felt the need to be a part of RHLM and help students looking for career opportunities like me. I also wanted to take the organization forward by adding my strengths and values.”

To ensure a successful day of networking and professional development, RHLM members spent over five months organizing and planning the event, which involved outreach, event promotion, and partnering with the National Center of Health Education to determine the panel topics. The event reached registration capacity within three days of the registration opening.

Image of panelists at the 2022 RHLM Spring Symposium

Over 120 people attended the Symposium, which included three-panel presentations from the area’s leading experts in health management on crisis management, implicit bias, and emotional intelligence and two resume review sessions for students preparing to enter the health care field. The event also featured the announcement of two services awards, including an alumni honorarium.

In the spirit of helping others, RHLM donated the extra food from the event to local housing shelters.

For Chinnathevar Ramesh, the opportunity to lead others throughout the planning process was a new experience that strengthened her skill set as a leader.

“Empathy is something I always value and believe is a must-have of any leadership,” said Chinnathevar Ramesh. “I got to know my team and the situation around them, and I learned to be more empathetic of the happenings and other individuals.”

The experience also helped her improve skills relating to active listening, accountability, and making strategic decisions.

“I felt like I had a crash course of my strategic management course,” said Chinnathevar Ramesh. “Strategic thinking and decision-making are two skills that have gone up a level from this experience.”

Chinnathevar Ramesh plans to apply the skills she obtained throughout her involvement in the health administration program and as the RHLM president to work in strategic management and operations, with the goal of becoming a chief operating officer of a company one day.

For students interested in joining RHLM, the group encourages students from any program to get involved. “We are the most active academic organization, and if any student thinks ‘I am not sure of what to do next about my career or where to begin,’ RHLM will be their guiding light,” Chinnathevar Ramesh said.

Learn more about RHLM here.

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