A career built on listening and caring reaches a peak

Guest Column:
Joan L. Kwiatkowski
I would like to begin by thanking Providence Business News for this amazing honor. More

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A career built on listening and caring reaches a peak

KEEPING PACE: Joan Kwiatkowski, CEO of the PACE program and Career Achievement Award recipient in the PBN Business Women Awards program.
Guest Column:
Joan L. Kwiatkowski
Posted 6/16/14

I would like to begin by thanking Providence Business News for this amazing honor.

I am humbled to stand among such talented women who are also receiving leadership awards today. The future of Rhode Island is bright because of these women’s impressive stories and remarkable talents.

I have long had two primary career goals – first, to improve the health care system in some measurable way and second, to contribute toward the professional development of our next generation.

I am blessed to have had a career that has afforded me the opportunity to work towards both goals. I want to recognize the people who truly share this award with me.

From the infants in the NICU at Children’s Hospital, to the incarcerated youth in Virginia, to the immigrant clients on dialysis in Beverly, Mass., and now the seniors of Rhode Island – I have learned compassion, a deep sense of trust and good humor.

The CareLink and PACE boards are comprised of wise and brave individuals who set forth ambitious goals and a powerful vision for my remarkable staff and me to accomplish. They dropped the leash and let me run, and for this I am eternally grateful.

My family and friends are a support network like no other – my husband, Michael, has always been a true and caring partner. My son, Ben, is wise beyond his years and off to Kenyon College this fall and sure to make his own contributions in society.

My mother’s premature death exposed me at an early age to the weaknesses in our health care system. I learned about resilience, the value of listening and the gift of connection – these were her lasting gifts to me. These gifts have shaped me personally and encouraged my professional goals.

My daughter, Rachel – a newly minted Colorado College graduate – reminds me of the value of being quiet and yet involved. She has taught me about the current challenges our society and her generation now face – these are gifts that encourage me to continue my work.

With appreciation for the past and with eager anticipation for the future I thank all those who contributed to my personal and professional development and share in this honor today. Thank you. •

Joan L. Kwiatkowski was the Career Achievement Award recipient in the 2014 PBN Business Women Awards program. This is her acceptance speech.

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