Leshawn Richardson is a born leader.
Nearly 10 years ago, Richardson began working as a front desk receptionist at Baylor Scott & White Health, Texas’ largest not-for-profit health-care system and one of the largest in the United States. She quickly began rising through the ranks, from central billing, to billing coordinator and, finally, manager of a team of 25+ focused on productivity and quality assurance. As a team lead, the 33-year-old would routinely train and manage much older coworkers.
“I was young for my position, and new hires would be amazed when I came in to train them,” Richardson said. “But I would just say, ‘I’ve been here for seven years and I’m your new team lead.’”
Richardson is one of thousands of highly skilled, diverse job candidates who have signed up for the T.D. Jakes Foundation’s 365-days-a-year Virtual Hiring Platform, available through the PATHWAY app, officially launching on August 17.
Though Richardson got her start in billing, she’s actively pursuing a job in information technology (IT), which is her true passion. A graduate of Dallas Baptist University, Richardson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in management information systems and recently completed a course in cybersecurity, one of only a handful of people in her class to pass the exam.
“I enjoy problem-solving and critical thinking,” she said. “I’ve always had a knack for programming and identifying things that normally go unnoticed.”
In college, Richardson was a standout programming student. While taking a C++ class, one of her professors was certain that she had previously taken the course. She hadn’t. But despite her innate talent and abilities, Richardson would always hear the same thing from her fellow classmates: “you don’t look like a programmer.”
“They would say I don’t look like a programmer, and I just so happened to be the only female African American in the class,” Richardson said. “You never know what hidden talents people have and, thankfully, these types of perceptions are beginning to change.”
Richardson is now actively searching for a job in IT, including cloud, security, as data analyst or any type of business analyst. She’s open to continuing to work in the health-care field or transition to a different industry. Ultimately, she wants to work as a software developer, creating programs that embody the end-user experience.
“Whenever I’m using an app or a program, I always wish that I could have been on the team to help improve it,” Richardson said. “Programming is a lot like being an author and every author has their own style”
As an employee and business leader, Richardson has proven her worth and then some. When the pandemic shut down her office, Richardson trained her team remotely and was able to maintain the same productivity levels. She credits her success as a business leader to following the Golden Rule—treating others as she wants to be treated.
“I’m able to work with the most difficult of personalities and make the magic happen,” Richardson said. “I’ve always treated people like people, and I’ve made the big gains that way. Even during covid, I ended up having the best numbers, and my team was the only one to clean out all its accounts.”
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