Work Hard, Change Lives
A wise adage says: “Nothing worth having comes without hard work.” It’s a relatively common notion, and one which Ashley Erickson, CEO of Sanford Aberdeen, is intimately familiar.
At only 29-years-old, Ashley already has quite an extensive work history under her belt. Prior to her position at Sanford Aberdeen, she was a CEO at North Valley Health Center in Warren, Minnesota. Even before that, she was an administrative fellow at Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota and worked with a management company out of Grand Forks, North Dakota overseeing a variety of health clinics.
Although her work in the healthcare field is extensive, initially Ashley had other plans. “When I was an undergrad I was going for accounting,” she said.
However, her constant involvement with healthcare soon had her re-evaluating her options. Her mother is employed at the Good Samaritan Society in Arthur, N.D. where Ashley grew up, which meant she was constantly in a nursing home environment. “I also had multiple surgeries throughout my collegiate basketball career, so I started to see more and more of the healthcare field, and I knew I wanted to make a difference,” she explained.
Since Ashley became a part of the Aberdeen community nine months ago, she has been continually impressed by the friendliness and kindness of its people. “It’s big enough where you can still do your own thing, but small enough to where you have that concept of everyone being here for each other. If you need someone to reach out to, whether it’s a business partner or a family member, they’ll step up and help out.”
Ashley hopes that by bringing more services to Sanford Aberdeen, she can reach out to the community as well. Because healthcare is such a dynamic field, she seeks to continue Sanford’s momentum of growth and expansion of services. “The vision of Aberdeen is a regional hub concept, and so we want to look at how we can be a partner with the surrounding communities, not only locally but regionally.”
To do this, she wants to put an emphasis on making healthcare services available to everyone, whether by sending a physician directly to patients or utilizing telemedicine services so they don’t have to travel.
Currently, Sanford employs over 460 people in the Aberdeen area, with 45 full-time providers and 20 that outreach to the city on a weekly or biweekly basis. To Ashley, interacting with the staff as well as community members is the best part of her job. “You are constantly learning from them, and you can take that knowledge and make a difference.”
When she has spare time, Ashley enjoys meeting new people and trying new things. Most recently, she tried her hand at trap shooting.
To Ashley, hard work doesn’t only mean being successful. It also means taking time out of her day to make sure she meets the needs of others.
“At the end of the day I would do anything for you, even if I just met you,” she said. “Whether you are a housekeeper or non-clinical support, I say lead by example. So if I can do it, you can do it.” // – Becca Simon