This summer, more than 50 students held internships at Cambia, gaining valuable professional experience across the company and learning how Cambia is transforming health care for consumers. As summer internships wrapped up and new internships began for the fall, two students had an opportunity to attend the Women’s Leadership Summit in late August. This new half-day event, which took place at the start of the Cambia Portland Classic LPGA tournament, showcased women leaders who have reached high and paved the way for others, transforming their careers and themselves in the process.
Uma Annamalai, a Computer Science Major at Oregon State University, and Jasmin Johnson, a junior at De La Salle High School, shared their impressions of the event and what inspired them as they look ahead to their future careers.
When I began interning at Cambia six months ago, I was immediately struck by the number of strong, brilliant women inspiring and leading others at this company. From day one, the sense of women empowerment was infectious.
The Women’s Leadership Summit Luncheon was part of the Cambia Portland Classic, a stop of the LPGA Tour at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. The Classic is an outstanding showcase of talented, driven women working towards a higher goal which made it the perfect venue for the summit to take place at.
The event began with an address from Vice Admiral Nora Tyson, the first female commander of a U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group. Nora was one of the most inspirational speakers I have had the opportunity to listen to due to the practicality in her message. What resonated with me was how she stressed the importance of choosing individuals for jobs, positions, etc. based on their inner qualities and strengths. They should be selected because they are the best candidate for a position and show the most potential to fulfill the duties of that role. As Admiral Tyson put it, “It’s not just about gender or racial diversity but diversity of thought. It’s how we look at your thoughts, ideas, and solutions that results in better problem solving.” That message is one I will take with me far into my professional career.
The Summit also included two different panels of which the first featured LPGA pros. I will admit, I didn’t know much about the world of golf prior to the event. However, after hearing Nancy Lopez, Karen Stupples, and Caroline Inglis speak about their experiences on the LPGA tour, I can say I am now officially a fan. In fact, I found myself Googling the Cambia Portland Classic standings throughout the tournament eager to see who would win after The Summit. I appreciated how open the panelists were with us about the struggles of balancing motherhood, golfing careers, their start in the sport, and the lessons they learned.
“I valued the opportunity to listen to these panelists because they came from disciplines that tend to have fewer women in them. I am studying Computer Science and found myself relating to their journeys.”
– Uma, a college intern at Cambia
Before we ended the evening, we had the chance to listen to an all women panel including women working in technology, the media, and professional soccer (go Thorns!). I valued the opportunity to listen to these panelists because they came from disciplines that tend to have fewer women in them. I am studying Computer Science and found myself relating to their journeys.
The Women’s Leadership Summit was one of the most memorable experiences I have had during my time at Cambia. It was truly empowering to be in a room of talented women representing a company that cares so much about the voices of all its employees. I left it with more confidence, courage, and knowledge to take forth with me through the rest of my schooling and into my career.
When I found out that my first day of being an intern at Cambia Health Solutions would be spent at a women’s golf tournament, I had no idea what to expect. I imagined sitting around, watching women play golf in the hot summer sun. As a student attending De La Salle North Catholic high school in Portland, Oregon, I always saw golf as a sport for middle-aged men, and not something a girl like me would ever be able to enjoy. However, the Women’s Leadership Summit completely changed my view on the sport- and the powerful people playing it.
“This experience made a strong impression on me. As a high school student, I’m grateful that Cambia has given me an opportunity to see powerful women pave the way.”
– Jasmin, a high school intern at Cambia
When Vice Admiral Nora Tyson stepped onto the stage during the Classic’s luncheon, her presence was felt by everyone in the room. “When I came into the Navy,” she said, “women were not allowed- by law -to do a lot of the things that ultimately I had the opportunity to do.”
As the first woman to lead a U.S. Navy ship fleet, she shared how difficult and rewarding that was, showing what it truly meant to take charge and be a leader. As a pioneer for women in the Navy, Tyson said, "Leadership is putting yourself in other shoes and looking at yourself through them." Despite the odds, she was able to push herself against the factors holding her back and become one of the most successful women in the U.S. military. Something she never even dreamed of happening became a reality. Tyson truly is an inspiration to me.
After the speech ended and attendees enjoyed refreshments while overlooking the 18th hole at the Cambia Portland Classic. I was able to reflect on how hard these women worked to get to their current positions and gained a greater respect for these strong female golfers and athletes. This experience made a strong impression on me.
As a high school student, I’m grateful that Cambia has given me an opportunity to see powerful women pave the way. I have hope that after I’m finished with my high school and college career, I’ll be able to follow their path and break ground for those who come after me.