Name: Mary Kate de Leon
Position: Operations Manager for ACOEP (American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians)
Month you started: Started with Affinity in May 2022; full time with ACOEP Nov 2022
What brought you to Affinity?
My sister, who also works at Affinity. I had recently left my previous job and was in the market for something new, preferably remote work. I started out as part-time working with ACMQ and ABMQ and then once ACOEP came on board I went full-time.
How did you get your start in medical association management?
By working at Affinity! I had not previously worked in medical association management, but I was a Design Project Manager for a sustainable home builder and a Travel Coordinator for student and group travel, so I had done a lot of jobs heavy in coordination and communication. In addition to interior design, I had experience in graphic design at each job I’ve had, and this one is no different. Along with the coordination and communication needs of ACOEP, I also work on the marketing and digital needs doing any of the design work that comes through. I’m learning so much about the medical field and emergency care from the Osteopathic point of view and through the help of our Executive Director, DeAnna McNett, I’m learning the ins and outs of association management as well.
What are you most excited about in the year ahead with Affinity Strategies?
I’m excited to get ACOEP running like a well-oiled machine again! Transitioning from previous management can be difficult, but over the next year we have so much to look forward to with ACOEP. It’s a great group with an active board and membership, and they are very open to entertaining fun and exciting ideas for the organization.
What inspires you to deliver your best?
The first thing that comes to mind is, “how would I want to be treated?”. I try to put myself in the shoes of the members, board or even my Affinity team members, and respond in a way that is respectful and informative, but honest. In most cases, if you manage expectations, people can handle your response even if it’s not what they were hoping to hear.
What three words would friends use to describe you?
Explorer – I love traveling, hiking and having all the experiences. I will try *almost* anything once (within reason) so I’m usually up for being active and exposing myself to new things.
Creative – Not only does my job involve being creative, but I am always looking for new projects to explore my creativity outside of work whether its sewing, photography, interior design or anything else I come across.
Planner – It’s probably not surprising given my other two word choices that I am a planner. Whether it’s planning trips, outings with family or friends or new art projects, I’m always trying to get things in the books. If you plan something with me a year from now, I’ll be there, I am all about committing to scheduling plans, and then if something changes, I can be flexible. There’s something about an event being on the calendar that means I will follow through even if it involves rescheduling.
What are you listening to right now?
A playlist titled “Entrance Songs” created in combination with my family on Spotify through the Music League App. Someone creates the subject of the playlist, and then everyone picks songs to include. Once the playlist is complete everyone votes and comments on the submissions. It’s a fun way to learn new music and create unique playlists. The description for the “Entrance Songs” playlist is: The song you’d want to walk out to if you were a professional athlete.
What is something everyone should know about you?
I love to travel and lived in Rome, Italy, for a year in my 30s. I was able to travel all over and still attempt to visit new locations nationally or internationally each year. I’m also a big proponent of living sustainably and will try any gadget or idea that helps decrease your carbon footprint. I have my LEED GA accreditation and always try to stay involved in the sustainability community.
What quote do you live by?
“The secret to happiness is managing expectations.” A bit of an edit to the Warren Buffet quote that mentions having “low expectations” because I don’t think they need to be low; you just need to manage them. I think this applies to almost everything in life. I also like, “you can’t multi-task presence,” which was a quote from Cindy Crawford on Oprah’s Masterclass show that always stuck with me and I find to be very true.