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Copy the Leader: Natasha Patel

Jayhawks in leadership positions are everywhere you look, including through the Jayhawk Career Network. KU Alumni, in partnership with SumnerOne, is highlighting Jayhawk leaders who are models for others in their industries with our “Copy the Leader” program.

Natasha Patel g’23, is the Head of People Operations at Yuvo Health. We sat down with Natasha to learn what leadership means to her.

What do you do in your work?

I am the Head of People Operations for Yuvo Health, a healthcare solution that helps community health centers succeed in valued-based care arrangements. I view the organization through a people-first lens, advocating for our team members, while ensuring we have a productive work environment. I focus on optimizing the employee experience holistically, which includes traditional HR duties but also thinking creatively and strategically about our people and culture. Although many organizations have shied away from diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives, celebrating our founding by a fully BIPOC team with a shared common goal to bring fair, quality care to underserved communities is the backbone of our mission-based values. I serve as the engine implementing and integrating DEIB principles throughout Yuvo Health. In fact, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are not just aspirations, but tangible realities embedded within every aspect of our organization.

What are the qualities of a good leader?

Good leaders manage the team to meet their goals and get the job done. However, great leaders demonstrate the ability to not only inspire others, but also empower them. A great leader invests in you holistically — both personally and professionally. They go beyond managing tasks; they mentor and develop you, creating an environment where you flourish and reach your full potential. They lead with authenticity, compassion, curiosity, and empathy. Great leaders create a lasting impact, leaving a legacy of innovation, inspiration, and transformative change within their organizations and communities.

How do you practice leadership at your job?

I’m a huge believer in leading by example. The leadership styles I embrace are authentic leadership and compassionate leadership. My leadership centers around bringing my most authentic self into professional spaces, while also encouraging others to do the same. Active listening plays a vital role in my leadership approach; it’s not just about hearing words, but truly understanding the perspectives of others, their concerns, and their ideas. Understanding the diverse needs and experiences of our people enables me to make informed decisions and cultivate an inclusive environment.

What makes a team or group successful?

There are so many attributes that make a team successful, but it comes down to two things: trust and respect. Trust and respect create an environment where collaboration flourishes and achievements soar. When teammates trust each other, they operate cohesively, knowing they can rely on each other’s expertise, support, and commitment. Respect creates an atmosphere where different perspectives are valued, encouraging open dialogue and the exploration of innovative ideas. Trust and respect act as catalysts to effective communication, boosting morale, and creating a sense of unity within the team.

How can leaders in your industry help their organizations adapt to change?

People Operations is always unpredictable. You never know what the day will bring because people tend to be unpredictable. That being said, I have found that the best way to help organizations adapt to change is by encouraging a growth mindset. Something I live by is “fail fast to succeed quicker.” This mentality gives me permission to make mistakes and learn from them without dwelling on the missteps. It helps me foster resilience and adaptability towards any challenges that come my way.

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The Copy the Leader program is brought to you by SumnerOne. SumnerOne is one of the largest independent office technology dealers in the Midwest, with offices in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. We’re a family of respected companies united by ONE goal: to exceed your expectations and help you get the most from your investments in printing, IT, and document technology.

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