By Hannah Gray, Belmont Student/Intern at Perception Health

After a wild year of social distancing, business closings, and all things virtual, the HIT Like a Girl Podcast decided to take things outdoors. Rather than cancelling hundreds of opportunities to connect and explore the world of data in healthcare with other women, the team hit the road and embarked on a national hiking tour. While traveling across the US, Shereese and Joy from HIT Like a Girl (often accompanied by John, who travels with them to many of their stops) invited women from a wide range of job titles in healthcare to create a sense of community and empowerment through one another.

At their Nashville stop, they decided to hike at J. Percy Priest Reservoir, which was a beautiful spot to stay active while making connections with one another. At this location, HIT Like a Girl offered three different time slots to make sure that one of the hikes would fit into everyone’s work schedule. This meant that Joy, Shereese, and John had to hike through the trail three separate times! Luckily, the 1.5 mile hike by the lake made for a peaceful and scenic adventure each time, even with a little rain.

This experience was a great way to remain safe during the time of COVID-19 while also ensuring that HIT Like a Girl was continuing to do what it was created for—empowering women through other women. While on the hike, Joy discussed her experience both within healthcare and outside of it, sharing her drive for making women feel both heard and powerful. In addition to sharing her story, she asked the women on the hike to share what they do and what has drawn them to working with data. This was a unique opportunity to learn about other women and what keeps each of them going in their day-to-day lives at work. In a male-dominated field, Joy stated that she hoped every woman would leave the hike with a sense of identity and confidence that each of them is just as capable and skilled. Instead of seeing each person, whether male or female, in our fields as someone to compete with, we should join in their victories and take each moment as an opportunity to learn and grow. To be confident in our own skills instead of comparing them to someone else’s is the first step to growth…and when we collaborate and put all of our talents together, we are capable of incredible things.