Photo credit: Erin Clayton
Human Resources, Executive Healthcare Leader
MHA Alum, Class of 2017
Not long after Melanie Stack entered nursing school, she questioned whether it was the correct path for her and applied to become a flight attendant. Her new vocation failed to take off.
“I was too short to reach the overhead bins,” Stack says.
She decided to return to nursing school.
“I stuck with it and it’s been the best decision of my life,” she says.
Stack says she loved being on the frontlines of health care and found she had a knack for quickly building a rapport with patients during their time of need.
Several years ago, she decided to transition from frontline care to management and enrolled in UBC’s Masters of Health Administration program.
She says the MHA provided valuable context to the field of health-care leadership, giving her experiences that she would not have had otherwise.
Frontline workers can sometimes feel like they’re putting out fires all day. Being a health-care leader, she says, means creating an environment to prevent those fires from happening.
“I’m still helping people. It’s just they’ll never know my name and that’s OK,” she says.
“I’m helping not just patients now. I’m helping staff. I’m helping other administrators.”
Stack credits UBC’s MHA for helping her adapt to a leadership role and leverage her experience on the front lines.
She worked as the director of pandemic planning for B.C.’s Island Health Authority. She now works as a lead on human resources initiatives with Island Health. She mentors and supports new leaders coming to the health authority, and is working to develop formal leadership strategies and onboarding components.
Given her background, she brings her perspective on what it’s like on the ground for leaders in a clinical setting.
“It’s bringing that awareness and that perspective to our leadership and organizational department doing process improvement work – what do the leaders actually need?”
She says the MHA has given her a better understanding of how to lead, and how to help others become better leaders, effecting change that will eventually “ripple down” to patients.
“You just never know the impact you have on different people,” she says.