Jessica Sobiech Hayashi ’74 graduated from Union College with a B.S. in psychology/science before earning an M.S. in health care management from Clarkson Capital Region/Union Graduate College and a B.S. in nursing from Excelsior College. She is currently pursuing a doctorate of nursing practice at Quinnipiac University. Jessica’s education – and career – has focused on healthcare quality. A former medical center infection prevention program manager, she has worked for progressively larger healthcare systems, including Ellis, Trinity Health and now the Veterans Administration. The program chief at the Stratton VAMC, her responsibilities include ensuring staff compliance with regulatory and accreditation standards through program oversight, including auditing and process improvement. Her goal is to prevent the transmission of pathogens and communicable diseases, as well as device-associated and other infections caused during healthcare. Jessica is active in several professional organizations as a chapter president and national committee member. She has given presentations, published research and served as a contributing journal editor. Recently, she started her own consulting business. A longtime Union College volunteer, she has served as head class agent and is now on the board of the Alumni Council. Just for fun, she’s started using her pilot’s license again and is active on the board of the local chapter of the 99s (the international women’s flying organization). She and her husband, Steve ’74, are avid skiers. They enjoy spending time with their two sons (one a M.D./Air Force veteran and the other Navy flight officer) and grandchildren.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?
For career, the challenge is using leadership, communication, technical and clinical skills to manage a medical center-wide program that maintains high quality, reproducible results for customers that include patients, fellow employees and visitors. The reward is working together with colleagues and teams toward common goals for healthy patient outcomes and saving lives. In my current position with the VA, I am especially honored to help those who served. For volunteer activities, the challenges are using those same professional leadership skills to carry out high quality programs. The rewards are giving back to the community and enjoying activities with family and friends, and staying active and healthy.
Who inspired/inspires you, both professionally and personally?
I have had many great teachers who shared their wisdom and encouragement. This helped foster my optimistic and can-do outlook. I learned to navigate my career through observing many exceptional colleagues and managers. My parents, sister, husband and children have inspired me by what they have achieved.
What advice would you offer today’s women students, not just at Union, but across the country?
Dream big. Embrace as much experience as you can. Learn to be resilient. Be sure to take up a team sport. Of course, have fun along the way!
What was your most formative experience at Union?
I think it was the overall college journey and personal growth in the early days of coeducation. It was challenging to learn to use analysis and critical thinking skills. However, I saw progressive success through experience working on papers, exams and projects. My French term abroad was enlightening. Also, as I always had a side job, I learned I could juggle work and life – a very important skill!