We truly enjoyed hosting Joi Jackson-Morgan, the Deputy Director at the 3rd Street Youth Center and Clinic, and Dr. Maya Adam, a former professional ballerina who is now is a pediatrician at Stanford University School of Medicine and the founder of the non-profit Just Cook For Kids, for our latest Women at Work event, Bridging Medicine and Social Impact.
Here are some key takeaways from the event.
Unexpected events can open new doors
Our panelists described how events in their lives shaped and helped determine their careers today. Joi described the car accident that forced her to give up her dream of medical school at the time, which led to her to apply for a research position at a youth clinic, 3rd Street, in her own community. Today she is the executive director at 3rd Street. Dr. Adam described how one of her children got very sick a few years ago. She realized how her family had to change their lifestyle and the way they ate. This in turn was a source of inspiration for founding the non-profit Just Cook For Kids. Both Joi and Dr. Adam are still dreaming: Joi hopes to one day become a pediatrician; Dr. Adam is traveling for work and finding new experiences everywhere.
Finding the passion for a project is key
One of the points the panelists highlighted was the importance of finding social impact projects that truly motivated them. When looking at the community 3rd Street Youth Center and Clinic served, Joi saw a need for teens to engage each other in health topics. Motivated by this, Joi looked for ways to help, including creating a peer health educators program at her youth clinic to encourage youth engagement and awareness. Dr. Adam further elaborated upon this as she said, “find a community/cause you really care about and find out what you can do realistically to move a need from A to B.” Her passion for nutrition has spawned numerous projects, including online courses and a mobile app.
Focusing on the goal
Dr. Adam and Joi both emphasized the importance of determination and staying focused on the “big picture” that their jobs entailed. For example, Dr. Adam described how she often worried people would judge her for “oversimplifying” concepts while teaching, but ultimately justified it knowing that she valued good teaching above all else. Joi realized through her job that it was more effective and valuable to build programs that actually helped her community, rather than “chasing money.” As she said, “[There’s a] fearlessness knowing you’re the doing the right thing and doing it for the people you’re serving.”