Today, we speak with Dr. Lexie Mannix, Assistant Residency Director at University of Florida, who talks about how the empowerment and negotiation skills she acquired through AWAEM helped her in her faculty job search.
Tell me a little bit about where you are in your career right now, and how it was you came to be there?
LMannix: Absolutely. I am approximately a year and a half out of residency. I am currently the assistant residency director and assistant clerkship director at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville in the Department of Emergency Medicine.
LMannix: I recently completed a simulation fellowship in Chicago at Cook County and Rush University. Now I’m back in Florida, which is where I did my residency. I’ve had so many amazing mentors in so many areas of my life that have really helped shape my career and my career trajectory.
LMannix: That’s from an education standpoint, obviously from a clinical standpoint, from a women-in-medicine standpoint, from a simulation standpoint. I’ve seen the impact that mentors and sponsors really can have on you, and that’s a really big reason why I’m where I am today.
MLin: Tell me a little bit more about those mentors and sponsors. Did any of them arrive from your involvement in AWAEM?
LMannix: Yeah. They have, actually. I started going and being involved in AWAEM my last year of residency, and was able to go to the pre-conference that year, and then this past year. During those meetings I’ve met these amazing, fantastic, accomplished, brilliant women who are at higher levels in their career than I am.
LMannix: Through those interactions I’ve been given a lot of opportunities that have helped advance me both personally and professionally. For example, I am now one of the committee chairs through AWAEM, and I was given that opportunity because of my involvement and because of the people that I know through AWAEM.
MLin: That’s great. It sounds like some leadership opportunities that have arisen as a result of that.
LMannix: Absolutely. I have been granted so many leadership opportunities because of my involvement with AWAEM, and also with other organizations within SAEM. I’m also involved in the SIM Academy, and have been granted leadership opportunities through that, as well.
MLin: Can you describe a little bit more about how these leadership experiences have been beneficial to you?
LMannix: Sure. The leadership experiences that I’ve had have not only helped me grow professionally, in terms of developing my leadership skills, learning to … Well, let’s say, improving my ability to speak in public, but I think the most important thing really has been the connections that I’ve made.
LMannix: As someone that’s pretty junior in their career, and even when I was just looking for jobs about a year ago, the connections that I’ve made through academic societies, specifically AWAEM, really helped me.
LMannix: The networking and the women through AWAEM that I knew who were at different institutions really impacted my career trajectory,
MLin: Can you describe maybe perhaps specific AWAEM initiatives that were helpful in your job search?
LMannix: Some specific AWAEM initiatives and/or if you want to say lectures or conference events that really helped me was discussing negotiations. As a very junior faculty member, when I received job offers approximately a year ago when I was looking for faculty positions, I really reflected back on some negotiation workshops that I had been to, to really help me negotiate for the best career jobs for myself.
LMannix: That’s not just from a pay standpoint, but also from a protected time standpoint, and it really helped me evaluate the things that I value in my job, and in my work life, and ask for those things, and ask for those things from my future employers. That workshop specifically really empowered me in that moment, where I don’t feel like I would have felt as empowered to ask those questions and ask for those things.
MLin: Tell me how you anticipate the professional needs of women in academic emergency medicine will evolve in the next 10 years?
LMannix: For me a lot of my work is with undergraduate medical education, so specifically through … with medical students both through my job and through a side hustle that I have. I do a lot of medical student mentoring, and I think that female faculty members are going to continue to grow in their mentorship of medical students and residents.
LMannix: That’s an area for me that I’d like to focus on. Partially because we’re still at about 30% of our applicants are women, and I’m hoping that in the next 10 years our number of female residents and medical students that are interested in emergency medicine increases. I think that the faculty members are going to have more opportunities to mentor young women in emergency medicine.
MLin: That’s great. How do you think that AWAEM is going to continue to help meet those needs?
LMannix: My hope would be that AWAEM helps faculty members through workshops, or through presentations to kind of help faculty members navigate the world of mentoring millennials who are also women. Because I think that there are differences in our younger women that are coming up in medicine, and I think that specific mentoring workshops will be really beneficial. I’m saying this as a millennial, just to be clear.
MLin: Tell me a little bit more about your motivation for joining a committee.
LMannix: Sure. Part of the reason I joined an AWAEM committee is because I really believe in the mission of AWAEM, and I wanted to find a way to help advance that mission. The committee that I’m on is the regional meeting committee. What we do is we help regional meeting chairs connect with AWAEM member to have them speak at the regional meetings.
LMannix: Sometimes that is an AWAEM-oriented talk, and other times it’s just increasing the number of female physicians speaking at conferences. I really, one, love the … love what that committee is trying to do, so I’m really happy to be involved there. But, also, the way that that kind of fills into the whole AWAEM idea of promotion of women in academic medicine. That’s what really encouraged me to join a committee and become more involved.
MLin: Tell me about how gender has affected your career development?
LMannix: I love this question because I think that we’re really having this conversation, which is how your gender and how gender inequities have affected career growth and professional growth for women.
LMannix: Not to bring up one of my side hustles, but I’m gonna do it anyway. Myself and Dr. Melissa Parsons recently started a website that’s really just a virtual community of practice for women in medical training, having the discussion about gender inequities earlier in your medical career.
LMannix: It’s aimed at pre-medical students, med students, and residencies, and kind of how to navigate this world. The conversation that’s happening there, and the conversation that’s happening just on the internet in general, and affix at the feminine conference, I mean, has been really impactful, hope for a lot of other women.
LMannix: But for me specifically, I relatively recently wrote a blog post, and this is just kind of a small example of an email I received to myself and my two males co-chiefs. The email was started, and it was addressed to Dr. Barr, Dr. Javed, and Lexie.
LMannix: This person was asking us to do something as the emergency medicine chief. I think that several things like that really can affect the way that women interact with their surroundings and in medicine. That made it seemed like I was devalued to the person that was sending this email. They were not asking me as a physician, based on the title that they used. Which is a really small example, but, I mean, we see it every day.
LMannix: I work in a residency program where 75% of my residents are male, and very often my patients don’t believe that I’m the attending physician. You know, obviously, the resident or the male, whoever they are, that’s standing next to me, whether they be a nurse, or a researcher, or a tech, like, they’re obviously the physician.
LMannix: That kind of reminds me of one of the talks at FIX where a physician who had transitioned from female to male discussed how practicing medicine as a female was like playing a video game on expert. Then after his transition practicing as a male was like playing the video game on easy.
LMannix: I think there are a lot of subtle things that happen on a daily basis, but those subtle things can really build up and affect you personally and professionally.
MLin: How do you think that AWAEM has translated into greater gender equity in your own work environment?
LMannix: I think that for me, personally, like, I kind of mentioned, being a part of AWAEM and interacting with the other members in AWAEM has just been really empowering for me. I’m not sure if it has changed anything at the culture which I work, because I personally feel like the culture is very women-friendly, women-promoting where I work.
LMannix: I think we’ve got most of our administration positions, not most, but a reasonable number, probably half are women. I think for me, personally, it’s just really the empowerment and knowing that I have other women and all across the country who really have my back when it comes to my career.
LMannix: One of the things that I really love that AWAEM’s doing that I haven’t even come close to meeting yet is the letter writers, and I’m not exactly what they’re calling it, but the letter-writing committees, which is basically to help women who are going up for associate or full professor, connect with other AWAEM members who will be willing to help write a letter for their tenure and promotion, which is huge of someone who is already working towards that even four months into my new academic job. That’s something that I’m really excited to not only utilize in the future, but then be a part of after.
MLin: What career accomplishment would you say that you’re most proud of?
LMannix: The career, I’m gonna say award, that I’m most proud of was during my chief year, I was inducted into the Chapman Chapter of the Gold Humanism Society, but I was the only resident chosen out of almost 400 by the medical students to be selected for that.
LMannix: For me, having people that work under me, because our med students at that point were working under me as a resident, look up to me as not only a good clinician and a good educator, but as a person that provides humanistic patient-centered care. It was really thee most meaningful award that I’ve received in my medical career.
MLin: That is definitely something to be proud of. Congrats.
MLin: What advice would you give a younger version of yourself, or an AWAEM member at an earlier stage of her career?
LMannix: If I could look back at myself and give myself or another junior, more junior member to myself, any advice, it would be to become involved in and attend conferences and start networking earlier.
LMannix: I started doing those things come my third year of residency, but I feel like I could have gotten so much more out of the years preceding that. But I would also say become involved in things you’re really passionate about, and that you really care about, because if you’re not wholeheartedly invested in things you’re not going to do the absolutely best work.
LMannix: To rewind and kind of summarize, it would be to become involved, to attend conferences, to network, and to find things that you’re really passionate about.
MLin: Perfect. Now I’m gonna ask you to name three other AWAEM members we should interview.
LMannix: I’d like to start with Dr. Sara Hock, who is an assistant professor, and the emergency medicine simulation director at Rush University in Chicago. She was my assistant fellowship director during my fellowship, obviously. But not only did she help me grow professionally in that time, but she really helped me grow personally, as well. And frequently reminded me how to focus on my career trajectory, but also my wellness. She’s just an amazing, brilliant human who manages being a mom of two, and a core faculty member, and everything. She’s just … she’s Wonder Woman.
LMannix: The next person I would recommend is Dr. Melissa Parsons who is basically my partner in crime in all areas of my life. She is also an assistant residency director here at the University of Florida College of Medicine here in Jacksonville. She is my co-founder of sheMD, which is our virtual community of practice around gender and medical education, and she’s my best friend. She’s the person that I turn to, whether I’m having an issue personally or professionally. She is my human, and I think that things that she’s doing and will be doing over the future of her career will really help impact the future of women in medicine, and emergency medicine specifically.
LMannix: Then the last person I’d like to bring up is Dr. Liz DeVos, who is an associate professor here at UF College of Medicine in Jacksonville. She does a ton of global health work, and is involved globally, obviously. But she’s really been a mentor for me during my junior career, my residency, and has really helped empower me, and connect me, and bring me into conversations that I may not otherwise been brought into. Honestly, she’s done the same for Dr. Parsons. She’s really a sponsor of women in medicine, and we’re so lucky to have her at our institution.
MLin: Perfect. Sound like three awesome women. Thank you.
LMannix: They are. I’m so glad to have them in my life.
MLin: Anything else I haven’t asked you about AWAEM or about you in your career that you’d like to share?
LMannix: What I would say is I wish that I had been more involved in AWAEM earlier in my career, and I think when I was a medical student and as a junior resident I wasn’t aware of everything AWAEM had to offer me at that stage. I wish I could go back in time and start doing things then.
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