Meet Renee Rountree. This 1996 alumna from the Clemson University Department of Public Health Sciences works in health care, but not in the way most people imagine. She’s a strategic accounts sales executive with Stericycle Communications Solutions, a company that provides communication solutions to businesses and health care systems.
Q: What does your job entail?
I work with people in different time zones and in a typical day, I complete project work and client calls. I typically demo our products and talk to customers about enhancements and trends for a few hours each day. I also serve as a mentor for new salespeople, so I spend a lot of time with internal team members. A handful of times each month I travel to a partner site to lead trainings.
Q: What is the most rewarding/best part of your job?
I am able to spread best practices and communicate between health systems in different parts of the country. It’s neat to tell one partner what is working for another partner to solve a common issue.
Q: What has been your career path since graduating Clemson?
After graduating from Clemson, I passed my certified health education specialist exam. I went straight into the Master in Health Administration program in 1996. After completing the program, I entered into a health care administration residency program at Riverside Health System based in Newport News, Virginia. After a year, I then went to work as a health care consultant for Price, Waterhouse, Coopers, a multinational professional services network of firms in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After that, I took a director position with Riverside Health System. My career with Riverside lasted 15 years, and I served in a multitude of roles from an HR director to vice president of trauma and emergency.
I stopped working in a traditional hospital setting in 2015 and went to work as a sales executive. I now sell software and technology to health systems.
Q: What inspired you to take this path?
I determined at a young age that I was a leader, so after my undergraduate program, I knew I needed to pursue a master’s degree. Falling into hospital administration with Riverside was an awesome thing, because I was allowed to grow and mature and take different roles within the same company and climb the ladder easily.
Q: How did Clemson prepare you for your career?
Clemson was a fantastic place to grow into an adult. I learned many lessons about people and pride, civic duty and philanthropy. I was on the student senate and actually served as a student justice. I was also in a sorority, and there were endless opportunities to gather with friends and learn.
Q: What is your favorite Clemson memory?
My most favorite memory of Clemson is hearing the bells at Tillman ring when Clemson football stunned #10 ranked UVA my freshman year by coming from being behind four touchdowns to win 29-28. I wasn’t even at the game, but to relive that moment still gives me goosebumps. Sitting on the hill with my friends for home games freshman year was fun, too!
Q: Any advice you have for students interested in this type of career? You need to be sure that you are ready for long hours and lots of reading, hard work and dedication. You must be committed to communicating directly with people and being fair and equitable in your decision making. There are many rewarding aspects to hospital administration, and there are many sacrifices. You will need to be prepared to “live to work,” not “work to live.” Please understand this very important distinction. I gave up many family activities and worked many late nights, and I will never get that time back. I don’t regret my career choices, but I’ve definitely put in the time. I love working from home and remotely now, but to get here, I put in a lot of office hours.
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