Executive Business Assistant
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Starting out in medical anthropology, Amy has had an eclectic path that led her to Gryt Health. She is excited to work towards systemic change with the team here.
Amy joins the team from Greece, New York where she lives with her husband and pets. Her favorite place is Ireland. They really enjoyed learning about the history of the country and they had an opportunity to see a 4,000-year-old wedge tomb. Amy found everything really fascinating.
With Greece, Mexico, and Central America topping off her travel wish list, Amy’s travel desires are extensive. She loves mythology and has read a lot about Greek and Mayan mythology. She would love to visit Athens, Greece, the Mayan ruins, and Machu Picchu – which is where she’d probably travel first.
She and her husband moved to the Rochester, NY area to be close to her husband’s family last January (2021). They purposefully located because they realized that even though they remained close to family, where they previously lived was just becoming more challenging to not have a support system nearby. Both Amy and her husband have two siblings each plus their parents. Amy’s family is about 5 hours away, which is not close, but closer than they were before and close enough to be able to come fairly quickly if they are needed and vice versa.
The couple has two dogs and a cat. Amy experiences anxiety and depression and their Aussie, especially, is great at helping her with those stressors. Amy claims he has a 100% success rate in predicting if someone needs support. He can even detect it in someone’s voice over the computer. They got their other pup in March 2021. Their cat is around 8 years old and is more like a roommate than anything. He just kind of does his own thing.
For the last several generations, Amy’s mother’s side of the family has passed away from cancer or complications of a cancer diagnosis. They have lost both young and old family members to the disease. Cancer has been a big part of Amy’s life since she was a child. Amy has been tested for various cancers at various points in her life. Recently she had bloodwork to look for pro-markers for brain tumors. Thankfully, the tests were all clean, but she will get tested again later this year.
She feels fortunate to have met a group of people that completely understand what she’s going through and she finds that really nice. Cancer has just been a very common topic of conversation in her life. It’s never been an issue to talk about it within her family, they just know there are risks and stay vigilant and aware of their healthcare in order to try and stay ahead of it.
Amy is our Executive Business Manager and CEO Dave Craig’s right-hand human. She assists Dave with email and calendar management, she takes notes at a variety of meetings and helps him accomplish a variety of tasks in a timely manner. Among many, many other things. She does all of this to allow Dave more time to network with partners and lead the rest of the Gryt Health team.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in art with a minor in medical anthropology. Amy went on to earn a Master’s in medical anthropology with a focus on HIV/AIDS. She always knew that she wanted to do work that helps people. When she was deciding what her medical anthropology master’s would focus on, she waffled between HIV/AIDS and cancer due to having close family members’ experiences with cancer. She ended up choosing HIV because of the heavy public stigmatization still associated with the diagnosis, so it was more meaningful to her. Amy also knew that she was emotionally not ready to deal with the topic of cancer at that time. She went abroad to Kenya to do fieldwork in HIV/AIDS prior to doing her master’s. Amy loved it there. Once she completed her master’s, she also did some fieldwork in Cape Cod.
Professionally, Amy has quite an eclectic background. She’s done work with editors at Wiley Blackwell Publishing and had the opportunity to work with thousands of authors. She was a case manager for a period of time and worked with adults with developmental challenges. While doing her Master’s work, she ran a cigar lounge and bar with her now-husband for five years.
Eventually, she found her way to Gryt Health where she started out as our Business Support Manager. As the company quickly recognized her hard work and organizational skills, she was promoted to her current position and the Business Support Manager position was reposted.
When Amy found Gryt Health, it was in a job posting. She had been perusing job posts casually and came across the Gryt Health job posting for an Office Manager. She went to the website to check us out. She recalls reading a line about being a bridge between people and medical professionals and all these other different sectors. The medical anthropologist was very drawn to it and there were a lot of parallels. She realized that Gryt Health was exactly the type of company she had been looking for. Amy sent in her application.
From her very first conversation with Kevin Beckford, although way through the interview process, Amy knew that Gryt Health was what she had been searching for in terms of the work environment. She loves that Gryt Health is so human-focused and feels that is the way to retain people. Showing employees that they are valuable and that the company is willing to invest just as much into the team as the clients, or, in our case, the patients, survivors, and caregivers. Everyone through the interview process said the same things and Amy felt like she had found her people. She loved that everyone was so blunt and that they were comfortable with discussing uncomfortable things. Amy has found the Gryt Health atmosphere and work culture very relieving. Small things that are remembered about others’ lives are thought of as nice instead of weird. For Amy, that’s the nicest part.
Amy is excited about Gryt Health being so passionate about making people’s lives better. With Gryt Health encompassing research, support, and public policy, Amy feels like Gryt Health is the epitome of a holistic approach. The holistic approach is such a human-centered approach that Amy does not feel like she is banging her head against a wall or that she needs to explain that health issues are not just about going to the doctor.
The driving forces behind Amy using her voice are empathy and care. Amy does not want anyone to be hurt as she has. She wants things to be better. She does not want people to have to wait 5 years for a diagnosis. There is no reason that anyone should have to wait for a diagnosis. Amy does not want someone to have a lower quality of life or have something be missed just because it is not common. She uses her voice to help others and destigmatize diagnoses. Amy is very open about her experiences and uses them to help other women. She realizes that she may not inspire many, but even if it inspires a few to seek therapy or better health care, she feels like she has accomplished something.
Having always been connected to cancer her entire life through her family, Amy came to the decision that she was finally at a point in her life where she wanted to take what she had learned in working with HIV and AIDS and apply it to another area of healthcare. That is what drew her to oncology. She was also finally emotionally ready to tackle cancer professionally.
Amy shared that the first thing she immediately gained from working with Gryt Health is a community of people who care and really understand. She is really grateful for this new community.
The inspiration for this type of work comes from other people, Amy shared. She remembers interviewing a woman in Kenya. They needed basic information about her but you could tell that she just didn’t have the energy to respond. The woman did not want to answer questions and was having a really hard time. Some of Amy’s colleagues were just going to get up and leave, but Amy just looked at her and said, “How are you feeling?”
The woman was shocked and asked Amy, “Why?”
Amy said, “You seem kind of tired and weak, so how are you feeling?”
Realizing that Amy was being authentic, the woman began to open up and started answering questions. She had been struggling and wanted to work so badly, but just had continuously been sick and had no energy. It was hard for her to get her medication. She was frustrated because her son was reacting badly to her diagnosis and was engaging in high-risk behaviors. She was frustrated with the entire situation.
The group Amy was with was able to get the answers while also helping the woman get some of the things she needed. Sometimes just focusing on the human instead of the typical script of what you’re interacting with a person about is what is called for. Helping someone feel comfortable, seen, heard, and cared for goes so much further than just the clinical approach.
Overall, Amy is really thankful to have started a new career path with Gryt Health. She sees a long future with us and is excited to be a part of the actions that are coming.
Amy’s hobbies and interests are as eclectic as her life experiences. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting, refinishing furniture, and doing artwork. She has also been doing agility with her dogs. She and her husband enjoy hiking and camping together in nice weather and they try to stay fairly active. They are also board game aficionados.