My interest in public health developed at Wheaton. As a junior, I had the opportunity to work with elderly Vietnamese immigrants in Dorchester, Mass., who lost their health benefits due to newly enacted health care reform. Most of them were tax-paying, legal immigrants who no longer qualified for benefits because they were not citizens. This moved me so much that I spent a year volunteering as a teacher to help them pass their citizenship test, so that they could qualify for basic benefits.
My family came to the United States as refugees from Vietnam when I was 5 years old, so topics like assimilation, acculturation, race, ethnicity and social inequality really speak to me. So, majoring in anthropology and sociology was a logical choice. Plus, professors in both departments were engaging and personable. They encouraged me to challenge the material and ask intellectually honest questions.
After graduation, I spent the first eight years of my career leading recruiting departments for technology companies. My experience as a sociology and anthropology major offered me a unique perspective from which to evaluate social situations.
The types of research methods I used in my majors—writing, interviewing, critical thinking—are readily transferable to talent acquisition. For example, engaging a new prospect for a position is very similar to conducting an interview in the field.
In 2006, I joined InterSystems to develop their global talent acquisition practice. I saw it as an opportunity to re-engage in an industry where I knew I could make a difference. As a leading provider of connected health care software platforms and solutions, the company touches a lot of lives. Our technology is deployed in 23 countries and embedded within 85 percent of hospitals in the U.S.
Keith Nordstrom photo