Dr. Kasey Holder
St. Bernards Medical Center VP of Medical Affairs
Education: B.S., biology, Arkansas State University; M.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest; Family Medicine Residency, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northeast
Professional background: Dr. Holder, a hospitalist by trade, began working at St. Bernards Medical Center in 2012 to help start the adult and pediatric hospitalist program. She later became director of the hospitalist program, dividing her time seeing patients and performing administrative duties.
What was your dream job as kid and why?
I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was a kid. I’m a big animal lover, especially dogs.
What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far?
I’ve been blessed to have many. I was a faculty member at the UAMS-Northeast Family Medicine Residency for about four years. Teaching young physicians, watching them learn and develop, and then practicing with them as colleagues was incredibly fulfilling. Any time I am able to have a positive impact in the lives of our patients or our medical staff, I feel very gratified.
What advice would you give young women who are at the beginning of their careers?
Don’t limit yourself by decisions made early in your career. Meaning, don’t be afraid to change course if you find that what you thought you wanted to do really isn’t what you want to do. Right after I graduated residency, I practiced in an ambulatory setting and realized fairly quickly I did not enjoy it. I felt lost because that is what I had always planned to do. In the subsequent 10 years, I made three career changes before moving into my current position. I never would have imagined early on that I would find my purpose outside of direct patient care. I would say seize opportunities to pursue your purpose.
What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on?
I have wanted to obtain my MBA for a few years now. I just submitted applications to a couple of schools so will hopefully take that next step in 2021.
How do you spend your time away from work? What are your hobbies?
I like to hang out with my husband and kids. We travel whenever we can. Our favorite places are Universal Studios and New York City, which sadly aren’t great places to visit during a pandemic. Other than spending time with family, I like to cook and try new recipes. Fortunately, I also like to exercise, so I can work off all the calories I consume trying those new recipes.
What is something distinctive people would be surprised to know about you?
At 5’ 5”, I think most people are surprised to learn I played Division I college volleyball at Arkansas State University. It was a complete accident. The coach was familiar with me from coaching me on a Junior Olympics volleyball team and asked me to practice with them during the spring season after several seniors had graduated. I ended up with a starting position. It was a great experience.
Can you share what you have learned about your business from the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’ve learned how resilient we are. These past few months have been some of the most difficult of our careers, and we’ve really come together as a team to support and encourage one another. When I’m having a bad day, someone lifts me up, and then I return the favor when it’s their turn to have a bad day. We’ve had to make some really difficult decisions and have uncomfortable conversations but it has only strengthened our team. Our medical staff and employees have been phenomenal to show up everyday and continue to provide outstanding care. It’s been pretty inspiring.
What’s the last good book you read?
I try to alternate work books and leisure books. The last good work book I read was “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss. The best leisure book I’ve read recently was “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah.
What character traits do you feel have benefited you in your success?
I would attribute most of my successes to the really talented individuals on our team and just letting them work their magic. If I had to identify some individual character traits I would say being a problem-solver, enjoying learning and trying new things have been beneficial. I have become increasingly more comfortable with failure as a learning opportunity. Effective communication, fairness and honesty are crucial to success in so many aspects of life and I believe those to be some of my strengths as well.
What’s your favorite app at the moment?
Probably my Peloton app. I finally got a Peloton bike a few weeks ago, and I’m obsessed.