Charlene’s positive attitude, combined with her intellectual curiosity, propelled her from a clerk at the IRS to running the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the single largest payer for healthcare in the US providing healthcare benefits for nearly 90 million Americans. Charlene spent more than a year as Acting Administrator of the agency – which falls within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) –spanning 2 administrations.
Upon graduating high school, Charlene forwent college and headed straight into the workforce in an entry-level position for the IRS. In between her days as an IRS clerk and running CMS, Charlene was a field auditor, auditing tax returns of businesses, she answered taxpayer questions during tax season, and served as an accountant for HCFA, before ultimately making the move to policy at the recommendation of someone she knew. That’s the common thread for Charlene as she moved from job to job across wildly varying departments - when you work hard, people recognize you have value beyond your current job. Charlene also credits her upward mobility to being incredibly lucky to work in places where people had more faith in her than she had in herself.
Here she shares why listening is the most transferable skill across any job, why multi-tasking is not the holy grail, how healthcare startups can approach working with the government, and why we must shift our thinking away from “disrupting” healthcare.
01 Everything becomes part of your knowledge base, so always be listening 02 Multi-tasking is in direct opposition to mindfulness 03 Want to work with the government? Do your research and plan ahead
04 Absolutely no one is disrupting healthcare