What brought you to Dana-Farber?
I used to be an event planner for a nonprofit organization fighting cancer in Nigeria and I heard about Dana-Farber. After reading about the great work that goes on here and the legacy of Sidney Farber, I said to myself that one day when I came to the United States, it would be great to work for Dana-Farber.
What does your job involve?
I help make sure that the correct charges are placed on patient accounts, and I receive, review, and document incoming payments from insurance companies. I consider my role as a vital, integral part of supporting the bigger Dana-Farber mission of restoring hope to those whose lives and futures seem uncertain.
We heard you gave the commencement speech at your college graduation. What did your speech focus on?
I spoke about using the celebration of earning our master's degrees, mine in
health care administration, as an opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing
our world today and how we can shape the diplomas we obtained into tools for
obtaining peace and worldwide economic recovery. I also talked about how leadership means empowering others to willingly pursue a good course and that making a difference begins with seeing a world beyond us. I have addressed large audiences before, but I think that was the largest and most cheerful crowd I have ever faced.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced?
My background. I wasn't born into a wealthy family. I didn't have simple things like the equivalent of $1 to pay for high-school tuition. I needed to support myself to pursue my dreams. To persevere, I worked menial jobs to earn money for school.
My mum likes telling how I used pieces of an old torn pair of pants to make shorts, and a borrowed shirt from my sister, to make a school uniform, which was required to enroll in middle school. Challenges do make you stronger.
I am the fifth-born in a family of eight children and I became the first to earn a master's degree, an achievement I consider not only a great victory over those things that held me back, but a victory for my entire family and community in Africa.