“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
The quote above, which actually is a partial quote by Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple Inc., is a favorite of Suzanne Simons, executive director of the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) and the American Academy of Home Care Medicine. Simons says that the message perfectly sums up how she feels about her own career in the nonprofit healthcare sector—an arena to which she gravitated early and that, she says, “really continues to resonate with me.”
No doubt, Simons loves what she does. She worked for the National Headache Foundation (NHF) in Chicago for 23 years, helping to transform it from a small physician-originated group to a leading health education and advocacy organization. Prior to joining AMC in 2013, she served for several years as a communications and public relations consultant for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, but missed interacting with others and the outcomes that face-to-face engagement can produce.
One of Simons’ strong suits has always been the ability to forge meaningful partnerships; throughout her career, this strength has helped her become an expert in cultivating strategic alliances, developing coalitions, and fostering a collaborative work environment. “I understand the benefits of working together and bringing in different perspectives. At the NHF, I worked with many different groups and saw opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships. Likewise, HOPA is looking to raise its awareness and increase its visibility,” she says. “Collaborations help to leverage the skill sets of different partners in ways that achieve a greater outcome.”
Simons also gives back to her local community in St. Charles, IL, where she contributes her time to several volunteer organizations, including one aimed at striking a balance between preserving the town’s historic downtown and encouraging economic growth. Simons and her husband love to travel, but they are equally content “going to art fairs and just taking advantage of the great things that Chicago offers.”